Burn out is described as a state of physical and emotional exhaustion often resulting from prolonged and intense stress, stemming from a role or collection of roles for which we feel responsible. Reportedly, burn out is at an all-time high with half of a recently surveyed group of employees reporting burn out associated with their job. One approach to burn out mitigation is to employ an array of sustainable self-care practices predicated on the understanding that our sense of well-being--oxygen mask on you first--is essential and malleable, but certainly not a given.
Adopting sustainable practices that inform, bolster and endeavor to maintain well-being might be considered a life skill impacting our day-to-day quality of life. Surprisingly, the research suggests that acts of loving, giving, and serving improve the well-being of the actor as much as the receiver. Faith, mindfulness meditation, exposure to nature, and movement are all research-supported well-being enhancers. Becoming aware, or mindful, of healthful behaviors that bring a sense of refreshment is critical. It is important to pause and notice when we are suffering, in pain, or feeling burn out; however, it is equally as important to notice positive behaviors and practices that move us towards relief and reset.
The bucket full of self-care items that you respond to can be as unique as you are—my personal arsenal includes gardening, leisure-reading, dog-walking, cooking, praying, meditating, smiling, laughing, loving and let’s not forget bubble baths. On a really challenging day, I might press into many of the self-care practices to assuage the suffering. As life changes, and change is one thing we can absolutely count on, our self-care practices will transform and evolve. In some sense, we pursue this honorary degree in self-care with continuing education credits for the rest of our lives. Start where you are, as you are most certainly worth it, and lean into self-care practices to meet the emotional and physical challenges of work and daily life.