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Five Ways to Combat Burnout

I am burned out. Crispy. Weary. On the struggle bus. How about you? I sat down with Cadi Jean and talked about ways to recognize burnout. Hopefully, you have taken some time to tune into your body and are making changes to move toward wellness. Today I am sharing her suggestions to help you on that journey. Here are five ways to combat burnout.

Five Ways to Combat Burnout

  1. Rest. Not active rest that might look like scrolling on your phone, talking to a friend, or watching TV. Rest that looks like sitting on your porch, closing your eyes and breathing, or laying on your couch with your eyes closed.
  2. Change your diet. Your health is the #1 thing you should try to support during busy seasons. Aim to eat the rainbow through fruits and vegetables. Minimize caffeine and stay hydrated.
  3. Read a self-help book. Recently I read a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. It has been a really powerful read that is impacting every area of my life.
  4. Call a friend. Maybe a close friend, or perhaps a friend that you have been distant from. We all need community in our lives.
  5. Take time off if you can. I know we are not all lucky enough for paid time off, but if possible, try to carve out a day or two. Sometimes a break from work is just what the doctor ordered.

Introducing Zoe

Taking her advice to heart,  I have started using an app called Zoe. Have you heard of it? I am not a big diet fan, who is? I have been so impressed by this process and have seen a huge difference in my energy level since starting the program. The program does not just tell you to cut calories or eat certain foods. It actually assesses three aspects of your metabolism: blood sugar, blood fat, and gut microbes.

The process is fascinating. When you begin you wear a glucose monitor and can see how certain foods impact your blood sugar in real-time.  Zoe walks you through short educational snippets and asks you questions in an effort to garner reflection. You send in stool and blood samples and they provide reports- mine were no bueno. But knowledge is power, right? So I am working a little bit every day to change my habits and am coming to understand that some of the foods I thought were “healthy” are not, in fact, healthy for me. If you are interested in $35 off your journey to health use this link.

These are only five ways to combat burnout. The key is to commit to at least one.  What are some things that you have tried to combat burnout? Share with us in the comments.

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Preparing Our Hearts for the Holiday Season

Let’s look at the idea of preparing our hearts for the holiday season. This is the time of year when excitement is running high. The holiday season. So, why do we need to think about preparing our hearts for the holiday season? It is because you would be hard-pressed to find a family who isn’t broken a little. And while we heal and move forward, the holidays have a tendency to rip open those old wounds.

Preparing our Hearts for the Holiday Season

  1. Lower your expectations. We all want the perfect Hallmark holidays. My goodness, there are channels dedicated to making movies about this very thing. The reality is, that there is no perfect holiday. Inevitably, something will go wrong. So, plan your heart for it. It will make you feel better in the long run.
  2. Set boundaries. If you do not want to open your home to family, don’t. If attending the office party is triggering for some reason, skip it. Only you know what you can handle. So, set boundaries and keep them.
  3. Don’t over-plan and overspend. There is nothing more terrifying than a holiday paid for on a credit card that you can’t pay off. Live within your means, always. But, especially during the holidays. The extra financial stress is just not worth it.
  4. Don’t use this time to try to make amends with seriously broken relationships. Families are so hard. And family hurt can run deep. If you are faced with a family dynamic that is severed or strained, don’t choose Thanksgiving dinner as the time to mend those fences. Serious conflict resolution takes time and relationships are not usually mended over turkey.
  5. Lastly, remember that you are enough just as you are. You don’t have to be a super parent, colleague, or friend. Those store-bought cookies are just as good as homemade ones. That dollar store card to the mail carrier is thoughtful enough. You don’t have to give them a handpainted ornament like your neighbor. Watching a movie with your kids is just as special as a trip into the city to see a big show.  You. Are. Enough.

Preparing our hearts for the holiday season is just as important as celebrating it. We are in this together.

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Healthy Coping Strategies as We Return to School

I want to talk for a moment about the concept of change. Transition. Time. It happens to all of us. We age, kids grow up, people divorce, die, stop being friends. Change can be a lot. 

Since our children are going back to school, some for the first time since March 2020, we are in a time of great change. Today I spent the whole day, every minute, working on our family schedule and preparing for the impending change. It feels massive. Overwhelming.

What do we do when there are SO MANY changes that come at us at once. Most importantly, how do we cope? For me, I tend to go straight to anxiety. Anyone else out there? In the end, I start to fear the future, mourn the past, and sometimes dig my heels and resist. 

The funny thing is that even good change can be hard. Promotions, moves, kids going to college, people sharing their truths with us. Despite the fact that change can be good, it is still a change and it can be really hard to process. Accordingly, I did a little research and found some healthy coping strategies that we can use when we are faced with change. Try a few and let me know what you think.

Coping Strategies

  1. Consider the 5-4-3-2-1 Coping Technique for Anxiety. According to Sara Smith, BSW and the Behavioral Health Partners at the University of Rochester it goes something like this:
    1. 5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. It could be a pen, a spot on the ceiling, anything in your surroundings.
    2. 4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. It could be your hair, a pillow, or the ground under your feet. 
    3. 3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This could be any external sound. If you can hear your belly rumbling that counts! Focus on things you can hear outside of your body.
    4. 2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. Maybe you are in your office and smell pencil, or maybe you are in your bedroom and smell a pillow. If you need to take a brief walk to find a scent you could smell soap in your bathroom, or nature outside.
    5. 1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like—gum, coffee, or the sandwich from lunch?
  2. Try Hand on Heart Anxiety Reduction. To explore this grounding technique please visit Melissa Nunes-Harwitt, LMSW here. It is like giving yourself a hug. I highly recommend this technique.
  3. One of my very favorite resources is Therapistaid.com. You can filter by age group: children, adolescent or adult. The site offers an extensive list of worksheets, therapy tools, interactive aids and more. 
  4. Talk it out. Sometimes just verbalizing your feelings can make you feel better. It helps your brain rationalize what is going on. Moreover, If you’re like me, writing it out can also be helpful. 
  5. Interestingly, in a parent group meeting today someone suggested holding a piece of ice or an ice pack. While I know this is a popular notion from TicTok and Dr. Oz, I haven’t found any scholarly articles on it’s effectiveness. Buy hey, if it works for you then go for it!!
  6. Finally, in my post Peaceful Drops of Rain, I discussed the prolonged effects of the slow, subtle drip of water. Stress and anxiety left unchecked can eventually etch a hole in a canyon. Be sure you are acknowledging your mental health to keep the river at bay.

Therefore, as we turn an eye towards real life, albeit, with Covid, let’s be sure to model healthy coping strategies for our kids.