I’m BACK! If you haven’t noticed I’ve been quiet on my site because… I got married last weekend! It has been a whirlwind few months and wedding planning became far more chaotic than I expected it to. In order to protect my energy, I had to step back a little bit from the blog.
But it’s perfect, because now I get to write a post about how important it is to protect your energy to avoid burnout! Because believe me, if I hadn’t let some things go, I’d probably be lying in bed for the rest of the week trying to recover.
Instead, I’m feeling amazing and ready to jump back into posting! Best case scenario, I’d say 😉
Are you feeling burnt out?
Before we dive into this post, let me ask you a few questions:
- How often do you feel completely drained?
- Do you say yes to everything?
- Are you a busy-body, constantly going from one thing to the next?
- Do you fear missing out, so you overcommit?
- Are you ever worried that you’re not doing enough?
These are some of the classic characteristics and thoughts that can lead to burnout. If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that I’m passionate about supporting women through life’s stresses and helping burnt out ladies regain their lives.
Burnout is the last thing any of us want. Who actually enjoys being stuck on the couch because they don’t have the energy to move? What about coming home after work and not having the energy to cook a healthy and nutritious meal? Or even trying to wake up in the morning and not having the energy to get out bed?
Burnout is very real. I’ve been there twice (you can read up on my personal story here), and I have vowed to myself to never ever burn out again.
One of the biggest ways that I’ve avoided burnout out for a third time over the past year and a half, is being conscious of my energy. In this post I’ll share some of the ways I actively protect my energy levels.
Your energy levels matter – it’s time to pay attention
We only have a finite amount of energy that can be affected by literally everything in our lives.
How we eat affects our energy levels. Our emotions affect our energy levels. Our thoughts can have a big affect on our energy. Interactions with people, places and things can largely impact our energy.
For example, if you’re an introvert, you might find that spending time in large public places you feel overwhelmed and drained. As an extrovert, you might find that this energizes you.
We are all completely different in the ways we release and gain energy, and it’s important to tune into how your body responds in different scenarios. It’s also important to know where you might be putting your energy, in order to assess if it’s helping or hindering you.
5 Ways to protect your energy to avoid burnout
1. Eat nutrient-dense foods that provide long-term, high-quality energy.
Our body makes energy from the raw materials (aka food) that we put into it. Nourishing ourselves with high quality and nutrient dense foods will help to give us more energy than eating highly refined and processed foods. Proteins, carbohydrates and fats can all break down to give us energy, but the other nutrients that come with these foods can ensure that our energy levels are maintained throughout the day.
For example, we want to eat whole grains with the fibre, as opposed to refined grains like white bread. This is because the fibre balances our blood sugar, keeps us fuller for longer, and allows the energy to burn slowly over time.
Other foods that can drain our energy (even though they sometimes feel like they give us more energy) include caffeine, sugar and alcohol. Avoiding or significantly reducing these foods can help our bodies burn cleaner energy and feel amazing all around.
Learn more about the key foods that can support your body during burnout.
2. Create healthy boundaries surrounding your time and energy
Many of us have a tendency to do things for others without considering the impact on us.
Consider this: if a friend wanted to meet you for coffee and catch up, but you struggled to find a time to meet, would you rearrange your schedule so you could meet with them? Even if this meant feeling tired and exhausted because you knew you were stretching yourself thin?
I’d bet most people say yes.
I’d also bet that most people wouldn’t know they’ve stretched themselves thin until the following day when they’re exhausted and can’t figure out why.
If you’ve ever over-committed your time and energy, you know that doing too much in a short period of time can be taxing.
If you’ve burnt out before, this is the number one thing to avoid: overcommitting.
Create boundaries based on what your body can handle. Respect these boundaries, because you know what can happen when you don’t.
3. Give yourself permission to pause
It’s important that your body and mind get the opportunity to rest during the day. This often comes with respecting your boundaries, but giving yourself permission to pause, at least a few times each day, can help to reset your stress response, calm your nervous system, and give your body the break it needs. Ultimately this practice can help you protect your energy if you’re in a situation that is draining it.
Learn more about giving your body permission to pause, including five ways to practice it.
4. Prioritize sleeping at least 7-9 hours per night
One of the best things you can do to protect your energy levels is to prioritize your sleep. Be sure to go to bed at a regular time each night (ideally before 10pm) and avoid electronics for at least 1 hour before bed. This includes your cell phone, tablet and TV! Create a great evening routine (here’s mine!) that will help you wind down and start producing that melatonin for optimal sleep.
Other sleep tips?
- Keep the room at a cool temperature.
- Sleep with your cell phone on airplane mode and across the room (or in a different room).
- Remove all light from your room and use blackout curtains if necessary.
- Try a warm tea before bed to induce coziness.
- Reading before bed can sometimes help to calm the body and tire the eyes.
- Restorative yoga before bed can greatly calm the nervous system making falling asleep easier.
5. Practice mindfulness and tune into your body
Being aware of how your body feels is a learned skill, but a very very powerful one. One of the best ways to do this is by practicing mindfulness. Throughout the day, check in with yourself. Ask how am I feeling? Why might I be feeling this way? If you’re often stressed, you’ll likely find an answer quickly. Once you start to associate a reason with the feeling, you better understand your body.
When it comes to low energy, we can have very clear and obvious reasons. For example, if you exercised a lot, or if you didn’t sleep well, or perhaps you had a big deadline. But sometimes we feel tired and fatigued with no obvious reason. These are the moments when we need to listen a little better – perhaps we weren’t eating nourishing foods, or possibly we overcommitted ourselves and last week was hectic. Maybe we didn’t take any time out for self-care.
Practicing mindfulness and understanding your body’s cues is one of the best ways to protect your energy to avoid burnout. When you can really tune into what your body is saying, you can better support it with exactly what it needs to feel amazing.
Avoiding burnout is completely doable
It’s 100% in your hands.
You have the ability to control your energy levels. You can choose what to focus your energy on, and what to let go of. You can choose how to nourish your body, mind and soul. You can practice mindfulness and learn how to better understand and listen to your body.
It can be challenging, but it’s doable. And I’ll be right there with you every step of the way.
In case you’re looking to dive deeper into supporting your body through burnout or stressful periods, let’s talk!