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I'm reading books faster than I can review them, and although I'm excited about the next book review post, I feel like I need to address something: burnout and poor health. It plagues every profession, so let's dive in.
Sometime in October, an old problem reared its ugly head. I crashed and burned and threw everything off-kilter. I didn't write a darn thing. My Tsalagi language learning stalled and I couldn't bring myself to talk with my learning buddies. My social media posting schedule stopped. Clients resorted to texting me when I didn't see their emails because looking at the screen me sick. Add on some extreme anxiety and GI problems, and I was ready to disappear. Luckily my husband won't let me do that, lol!
While I work with my doctor and neurologist to figure out what is causing these "silent migraines" and put them to bed, I am planning for the next battle. Humans are not always great at taking care of themselves and it can happen again.
The Bus Factor
I was doing too much and when I stopped, chaos ensued. How many people can get hit by a bus before everything goes to chaos? In Bernhard Schroeder's book Simply Brilliant, he explains that you must set up securities so that basic stuff gets done when you're not around. So what does that look like for me?
Plan some business social media posts in advance
If I don't use them in the next couple of weeks, I can store them up for when I just don't feel like doing anything.
Set away messages
Email, Etsy, social media, and even my phone have these capabilities. If the messages are already typed up I can just turn them on.
Decide on what is essential
Advertising for side projects can stop. Learning a new language might be interesting, but it is also not essential to running my life. To keep things fresh in my mind, I will use a flashcard app with a reminder or put words on sticky notes around the house.
Have a great team
I love my team! My family (and dog, kinda) checks in on me and friends are always there. My Facebook groups have teams that do well on their own. Here's the thing, though. One must maintain relationships in order to have a team. So take care of them and talk with them when things are going right! I'm not always the best at this.
Seek professional advice
This is not my first round, and I've come to terms with what it is, so I found it important to seek professional advice right away. The first time a few years ago, I avoided the doctor until the last second and had never been to a therapist. Now I just want my life back and recognize I can't do everything myself. I also discovered some health programs through work that are free or low cost.
Progress is progress
Not much gets fixed overnight. Sometimes getting in the car is progress. Sometimes it's scary. But never give up.
It's OK to be kind to ourselves
I found this app called Inner Hour. It has exercises that help me set things in perspective or even separate sickness from anxiety. It doesn't fix anything; it just helps. One of these exercises is envisioning a friend in a similar situation as me. What would I say to that friend? How would I comfort or help them?
Make self-care a habit
Yes, that's right. Habits are hard to break but they are also hard to form unless they are rewarding. Make eating vegetables rewarding. Make exercise rewarding. Make mediation rewarding. Indulge in something for you and not your stomach's desires (that's me and my relationship with chocolate). I find that reading from a physical book before bed or before work helps keep me out of the glued-to-phone mindset longer and I get more satisfaction from my day. Also, it's a nice reward after say...folding five shirts or washing two dishes ;).
So that's my most recent super long blog post. If you made this far, I hope you liked it or came away with some ideas! It all comes down to: make a plan, and take care of yourself.