Whether we are trying to avoid burnout, or deal with a very challenging situation on the one hand; or wanting to improve and be the best we can be in whatever areas of our life are important to us on the other; it is helpful to be keenly aware of what we individually need in place to function at our best. Without that knowledge, we handicap ourselves.
To gain this awareness, we need to ask ourselves some basic questions. And answer them honestly. They will be different for each of us.
What do you need in terms of diet, sleep, rest, exercise, fun, relationships, recreation, home environment, belonging, learning, novelty? How well are you meeting those needs? What small steps could you take to make a big improvement? What could you do now?
What makes you happy? Makes you laugh? Helps you relax and switch off? Helps you get out of a bad mood? Brings you joy? How often do you do it? How could it happen more? Include daft things and little things as well as big things. Plan them in! It will help build your resilience, capacity and pleasure in life.
Think of the times when you were your best self. What was happening then to support that? What were you doing? Not doing? Where were you spending time? Not spending time? Who were you with? Not with? What else helped you to be at your best?
Sometimes we think we need to take radical steps to make a difference. Quit our jobs and move to another country maybe. But what small things could you do right now? Experiment and see what impact it has. Rather than dreaming of being able to take a month off work/parenting/caring, for example, try building breaks into your day. Even ‘micro-breaks’ can be really beneficial – a few minutes to get up, take a walk, have a chat, check in with how you are feeling, what’s going on for other people.
Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to look after ourselves. Time off work (paid or unpaid) is okay. Not only is it okay, it is beneficial to our work – we will think more clearly, relate to people better and be more effective. And we will enjoy it more too, and likely be a better person to be around.
Do get in touch if you would like some support and encouragement. I would love to hear from you. Feel free to call me on 07708 034395 or to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I offer an initial no-obligation, no-cost discovery session.