In the second blog of this two-part series, Dr. Sara Thompson, Program Director of the B.S. in Human Services and M S. in Military and Emergency Responder Psychology programs at CSU Global, discusses the importance of daily self-care practices to avoid burnout at school, work, or in extracurricular activities.
We all experience stressors, and if you do not, please connect with me to share your secret. Stress is a natural response that helps us address threats and challenges within our lives, and it is how we address our stress that can lead to a positive result or potentially lead to burnout (which we want to avoid). I wrote about burnout in another blog, and here is a brief overview of burnout. Burnout is emotional, physical, or mental exhaustion that results in:
- Energy depletion or exhaustion
- Distance from a job, school/classmates, or activity that once brought pleasure
- Negative feelings towards a job, school, or activity that once was enjoyable
- A reduction in an individual’s performance and efficacy
One action we can take to help with stress and avoid the dreaded burnout is practicing daily self-care.
Self-care is developing and practicing behaviors for your well-being. Without question, your self-care activities must be activities you enjoy doing. I enjoy walking on the beach, swimming, and doing pilates as part of my self-care plan. You might enjoy sewing, crafting, or paddleboarding. The key is to develop a self-care plan that you look forward to!
Additionally—and this is a challenge for many people (me included)—is setting boundaries and saying “no” or declining an additional optional project/task. I am a helper—both by profession and nature—and it took a hard lesson of experiencing burnout to recognize that taking care of everyone else, but not myself, did not help me at all. If you are already stretched thin, and a friend asks you to help them move, it is okay to say, “I cannot right now, but I can help Sunday for about an hour.” Set limits; only you know what you can take on.
Lastly, remember that you cannot control everything as part of self-care. Spend your time and energy on things you can control; this is a fantastic self-care practice.
I would love to hear from you about your self-care journey. Please connect with me via email at sara.thompson1 [at] csuglobal.edu.