Madie’s Top 5 Takes On … Taking Care of Yourself

Words by Madieson (she/her), 24 WA

Something that we often neglect is the most important person in our lives! Ourselves!! With the busyness of life, we often prioritize work, study, friendships and families over ourselves.

We push our needs to the side and focus on others, without focusing on how we can support ourselves.

Here are my 5 Hot Takes on how we can take care of ourselves, before and after burnout!

Recognise your signs of burnout.

Having the ability to recognise your signs of burn out takes a lot of practice and time. It also takes a lot of self-reflection, which can be difficult when you are in a period of burn out. My main tip for this is to have other people step in and help you reflect once you are no longer burnt out. Although this may take months, this can help prevent burnout in the future.

Some of the signs that I notice within myself when I am close to burnout is I am overly sensitive to noise and sound. I cannot handle a lot of verbal information and my processing of this information becomes significantly delayed. I find that small and insignificant things frustrate me more. I begin to catastrophize and spiral a whole lot more and am tired most of the time.

Although these signs have taken a long time to figure out, as soon as I recognise them, I am able to make changes to my social calendar, to reduce the feelings of overwhelm and prioritise my self-care.

Remember the importance of taking care of yourself (mentally, physically, and socially) before burnout.

When we think of taking care of ourselves, we think about it from the point of being unwell or being at the point of burnout. But I think it is so important to be taking care of ourselves every day, no matter how we are feeling.

Whether this is making sure that we are filling our body with food that makes us feel good, or setting boundaries in friendships and relationships so you are not overdoing it socially. Taking care of yourself involves making yourself a priority in your own life.

Even though this can often be seen as selfish, it so important to look out for and prioritize yourself, otherwise who else is going to do it?!

Everyone’s self-care looks different, make sure you do what is right for you.

Just like the hot take says, everyone has different forms of self-care. Someone’s self-care might be sitting, journalling and then meditating. Another person’s self-care might be going for a jog and listening to heavy metal music.

It is important to recognise what self-care activities fill your cup and to practice these regularly, not just when you are feeling burnt out, but on a regular basis.

Some of my self-care activities that help me to refuel and recharge are reading, colouring, walking, Pilates and baking. I find that if I do not give myself time to do my self-care activities, I become more tired, irritable, and overwhelmed. I try to ensure I do one of these things every two days at a minimum to focus on my wellbeing.

Little things can make a big difference.

I think we discount the importance that making little changes to our life can have.

One of the little things in my life that I do to take care of myself is to read for 20-30 minutes every night. Although this is a small change that I made to my routine, it has great benefits for me – it allows me to switch off from social media before bed, takes me to a different reality, and helps me come out of my mind.

It is so important to find little things in life, that make us feel good, and to incorporate these into our routines. The change that these may bring into our lives can surprise us and act as preventatives to burnout.

Let yourself rest when you need to

This is something that I constantly must remind myself of when I am unwell. If I am burnt out, I need to let my body rest – mentally and physically.

This doesn’t mean that I sit and do work at my computer in my jammies at home. This means letting my body and mind have a break. Watching cheesy movies, sleeping when my body needs it and completely switching off from work and social requirements.

The most important thing is to let yourself rest without feeling guilty. There is a post I have saved on my phone, that rephrases the saying of “I did nothing today”, to “I listened to my body”, “I prioritised my needs”, “I gave myself what I needed”.

Resting and having a day where you feel as if you did nothing, is a day where you did the right thing for your body.

 

Illustration by Aileen. You can find more of her work on Instagram @aileenngstudio

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