SALT LAKE CITY — In this edition of LIFEadvice, Coach Kim shares some ways to handle burnout and discouragement when life becomes difficult.
What advice would you have for someone who is tired, discouraged and burned out? Life has been rough the last few years. I’m just tired of struggling and watching other people have easy lives, while mine is all uphill and hard. Do you have advice for me?
First, be very careful who you compare your life journey with. There are just as many people out there whose lives may be more difficult than yours as there may be people whose lives are easier. If you catch yourself feeling jealous of someone else’s life, try thinking about the large percentage of the world that might give anything to have yours.
Of course, it’s better if you don’t compare at all and choose to see each person as getting the life journey that will serve them best. I believe each situation in your life is meant to teach you something, and you can choose to have this perspective, too.
The issue of feeling burned out and running on empty could mean it’s time for some better self-care. It's your job to make sure your emotional tank stays full — especially if you're going through a lot of draining experiences right now. This may mean time alone or time with friends, more rest, hobbies, exercise or whatever will help you put stress aside and simply relax.
Some people in your life might see taking time for yourself as selfish, but it’s not. Self-care is not self-indulgent — it is a sign of self-respect.
Here are some self-care suggestions to help fill your emotional tank and avoid burnout:
- Avoid counterfeit bucket-fillers like alcohol, drugs or other things that might make you feel good in the moment, but make you feel worse later on. Choose real, positive long-term bucket-fillers like the suggestions below.
- Start each day with some quality "me time." Even 20 minutes to exercise, read, meditate, pray or plan your day in peace could make a big difference.
- Get plenty of sleep. (See a doctor if you have trouble sleeping)
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, eating fruits and vegetables, and avoiding packaged, chemical-laden foods.
- Exercise several times a week. Even 5-15 minutes of exercise (which can include but isn't limited to walking, hiking, lifting weights, yoga or dancing) is beneficial.
- Get outside and spend time in nature more often. Breathe the clean air and unplug from all the electronics for a while every day.
- Simplify and drop some stuff. What are you doing that isn’t necessary? Is there something you're doing that you could delegate? You may need to start saying "no" and set some boundaries. If this is hard for you, try talking to someone about it. You may need to learn how to say "no" in a kind way so you don't feel guilty.
- Keep learning, growing and stretching your mind. Self-esteem soars when you are constantly working to become better and learning new things.
- Have a creative outlet or take up a hobby that allows you to create, write, build, dance or sing.
- Serve others by performing random acts of kindness.
- Work on staying present in the now. Don’t waste today worrying about the future or the past that you can’t change. Plan for tomorrow from a place of wisdom and not a place of fear or worry.
- Choose joy now. Happiness in this moment is a choice; practice choosing it.
- Laugh more. Laughter really can be the best medicine. On a day when you feel down, watch funny or uplifting YouTube videos or movies and see if that helps.
- Cuddle with or hug your loved ones. Physical touch has the power to fill your emotional tank.
Sometimes, when things feel really discouraging, all I can handle is a few minutes at a time. If you try to carry the burden of all your troubles for the coming year right now, it might begin to crush you. So just focus on a little at a time.
When life gets extremely difficult, try living just 15 minutes at a time. Choose that for the next 15 minutes, you’re going to think about something positive, listen to fun music or watch something funny and not let the negative thoughts win. Then, do it again for another 15 minutes.
You can do this.
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