As someone who specializes in workplace burnout, 2020 has been a year that defies description. I’m grateful for the spotlight that has shone on burnout, to be honest. But deeply sad about the reasons why it has received the attention it has. A year of incomprehensible losses and suffering is not the way I’d hoped the public would become more interested in burnout and how to manage it.
In my private practice I see many therapists, social workers, teachers, and health care providers. Over the past year my clients have humbled me with their bravery and perseverance. In the depths of grief and pain they keep on going. For many of them our work in 2020 tended to be about surviving, not thriving. When things are completely overwhelming and there is not much time for taking care of yourself, it’s important to return to the basics. If you have time for nothing else, consider putting some energy in the areas I’ve outlined below. We aren’t talking about adopting a 30-minute-a-day meditation practice or a complex new workout regimen these days. Focusing on even just one of the following is fine too:
- Rest: If you can’t sleep, can you lie down? If you can’t lie down can you sit for a few minutes?
- Hydration: How much water are you drinking a day? Can you increase it by one glass a day if you need more?
- Breathe: Can you take one deep breath a day? If you can do more, even better.
- Eat: Consider how much you’re eating. Is it too much? Not enough? Are there small changes you can make to move toward more balance, if needed?
- Movement: Getting workouts in can be tough right now. Can you walk around your home for a couple of minutes? Outdoors is better, but indoors is fine too.
Here’s to a better year in 2021. As always and especially now, take good care.