The 2020-2021 Burnout
Have you felt yourself burning out over the past year? I’m sure you know the feeling- the restlessness, the fatigue, the disinterest in your day-to-day activities - it’s all a part of burnout.
With the pandemic, social distancing, the introduction of work from home, social justice issues, ecological disasters, economic uncertainty, etc., we’ve all experienced significant emotional and physical fatigue for over a year. It’s a lot for a person to take on all at once.
Even though burnout can feel isolating - you are not alone. Over the past year, terms like “burnout,” “pandemic burnout,” and “what does burnout feel like,” have been consistently trending as top search terms on Google. According to a report from the American Psychological Association in October of 2020, “Nearly 1 in 5 adults (19%) say their mental health is worse than it was at this time last year.” And 7 in 10 Gen Z adults are reporting increased symptoms of depression.
Our Burnout Life-Hack? Self-Care.
Although things are starting to look up, the past year has changed us all, and that’s okay. Sure, there’s going to be something of a learning curve as we all rediscover ourselves and find a new equilibrium, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. So, as we all go through this new phase in our lives, we propose that we dedicate this summer (and the rest of our lives) to self-care. Consider it a self-care summer, if you will.
Thanks to Instagram and influencers, self-care has become something of a buzzword over the past couple of years. A short scroll through an influencer’s page will quickly show their self-care routines, complete with bubble baths and glasses of champagne. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having the occasional spa day, but we’re here to tell you that self-care isn’t all about indulgence. So, let’s break down some self-care summer ideas, and talk about why it’s important to your personal growth right now.
So, What Is Self-Care Actually About?
Self-care is for everyone. It doesn’t matter your age, gender identity, ethnicity, etc. If you are a living, breathing human being, self-care is for you.
Your self-care routine doesn’t have to be tied to wealth or material possessions, nor does it need to be some intensive practice that takes all of your time. Because here’s the thing- self-care is what you make it. It’s deeply personal and is all about making space in your head for things that matter, accepting yourself, doing things that make you happy, and recharging your emotional and physical batteries, so you can grow and feel at peace.
Why Do YOU Need Self-Care?
Although we’ve been particularly burned out over the past year, this stress isn’t isolated to the COVID-19 pandemic- it’s an exacerbation of a long-term issue- being overworked. The US ranks in the top ten most overworked countries in the world. Now, we aren’t saying that it’s a bad thing to work hard, we’re just saying that if you want to be able to maintain that speed, you have to take breaks. Even if you love the hustle, you have to make time for yourself, and that’s where self-care comes in.
Self-Care ≠ Selfishness
Let’s quickly address this one- and we’ll say it louder for the people in the back: SELF-CARE DOES NOT EQUATE TO SELFISHNESS. Taking time for yourself, or taking time for your interests and hobbies is not selfish. Saying no to things that don’t benefit your physical or mental health is not selfish. Watching your favorite TV show on Netflix, playing a video game, or reading a book after a busy day is not lazy or selfish. Do you need to attend to your responsibilities? Absolutely! Do your responsibilities need to take 100% of your time? No way! It’s called self-care, my friends!
How Do I Get Started with Self-Care?
There isn’t a perfect universally accepted self-care routine. Why? Because we all are unique people with different experiences, responsibilities, needs, and challenges. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some foundational things you can do to kickstart your self-care journey!
There are a few foundational basics to self-care that we all need to incorporate into our routines, like:
Psychological & emotional growth
Hobbies and interests
All of these foundational self-care behaviors are related and help you to grow and care for yourself on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Let’s break it down.
Although there are plenty of life coaches out there who will tell you to do 2-3 hours of intense exercise at 5:00
a.m., it doesn’t have to be that way. We all have our own unique needs and talents, and we all are on different
exercise journeys. Rather than thinking of it as exercising in the most rigid sense, think of it as a time to move
your body. It doesn’t matter if you stretch, run, walk, do yoga, or lift weights, just do whatever feels
comfortable and natural to you.
Exercising releases endorphins in your body, which help in boosting your mood (reducing feelings of anxiety
and depression), improving your sleep, and boosting your immune system, among other benefits. And with
most of us still working from home, it’s especially important to start making physical movement a part of our
Psychological & Emotional Growth
Even if you grew up in the most healthy and positive environment, none of us are immune from the effects of
trauma and/or mental illness over the course of our lives. We all go through different phases in which we are
at highs or lows, and that’s okay. Even if you’re at an all-time high, taking time for your psychological growth is
This self-care task is all about making space in your head for things that matter, learning to see the good,
loving ourselves, and expressing gratitude for what we have and what we can be. Psychological growth is a
deeply personal experience because no one else has gone through exactly what you’ve gone through.
Some different ways to practice psychological growth include, but are not limited to:
Reading a book
Listening to a podcast
Going to therapy
Learning to be body-positive with yourself
Learning to love yourself
Being vulnerable and expressing yourself
Saying “no” when you need to
Taking a mental health day
Breaking out of unhealthy relationships (romantic, friendly, or familiar)
Unfollowing accounts online that bring you down
Forgiving yourself and forgiving others
You don’t have to do all of these things in one day. Some of these psychological and emotional growth tasks are ones you will do once in your life, and some will be ongoing. But taking control of your mental health is an important step in your self-care journey.
Working from home has blurred the line between our personal and professional lives, but just remember that you are allowed to take breaks to recharge. You shouldn’t have to be “on” all the time. Taking a healthy break after completing work will help you have a better relationship with yourself and your job. Also, taking time to relax is not “lazy”. It’s healthy.
Hobbies and Interests
Some would argue that “hobbies and interests” could be lumped into the “you-time” section that is coming up, but we would disagree. Your hobbies and interests can be separate from the personal relaxation you get during “you-time.”
For the most part, if you asked a child what they like to do for fun, they would have a very quick answer; and that’s because when we were kids, our parents all signed us up for different activities and clubs or encouraged different at-home play activities.
If you ask an adult what they like to do for fun, they may or may not have a concrete answer (or maybe it will be a self-deprecating one). Why? Because as adults, we so rarely take time for our hobbies. And if we do have hobbies, the hustle culture has made it so we all think we must monetize our interests, and if we don’t that it must be a waste of time. (Spoiler alert: it’s not!).
So, here’s our proposition, no matter what your hobby is, take time to do something that interests you at least once a week. Your activities don’t have to be daily (although, they can if you want). It just has to be an amount of time dedicated to you and the things you enjoy. And if you aren’t sure what you like anymore, do some research, join a club, make a new tradition with friends or family. Just make yourself happy. You deserve that.
Now, to talk about the precious you-time. All of the aforementioned topics are things you can incorporate a few times a week or a few times a month. You-time, on the other hand, is something we all need every single day. It doesn’t have to be a long activity. It doesn’t have to be extravagant.
You-time is just about making yourself happy. It could be a hobby or part of your physical activity, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, you-time is sitting down, drinking some water or a cup of tea, and breathing. It’s a time to acknowledge your feelings and how your body feels. It’s a time to remind yourself how important and unique you are.
This is the self-care time where you can make it what you want. If you want to take the previously mentioned bubble bath, do it. If you want to sit on the couch, watch some Netflix, and paint your toenails, do it. Maybe it’s the time you like to do your skincare routine- awesome, we love it. Maybe your self-care time includes eating a bar of chocolate one night (we’re not judging! Also, could you share with us?).
Or maybe, you-time is when you put on your nightly Babe Lash (we’re a big fan of this one!). Seriously, just take off your makeup, put on your Babe Lash Brightening Under-Eye Gel Patches, apply your nightly Essential Serum, and get off your feet for a few minutes. It’s amazing what a difference it can make to take that time to pamper yourself, especially if you’re busy and constantly on the go.
Be Your Best Self
Don’t forget- whether you had an extremely productive day, or maybe a slower day, you deserve to take that time to rest and care for yourself. You are worth it and you are enough. Self-care is a journey, and your routine is going to shift and evolve with time. It may not be possible to fit all of the self-care aspects into your routine every single day (I mean, life happens!). Just start with what you can. Grow and build yourself. Listen to your body and your mind to see what you need most each day.
Now, go out there and treat yo’ self! You’ve earned it!
Know someone in your life who could use an invitation to self-care summer? Send this post to them. Maybe you can help each other come up with some fun self-care routines!
If you have any feedback or questions please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org