We’ve all experienced burnout. While it would be supportive to be able to take off for a month to a retreat center and recover from life’s stresses, many of us can’t run away from our obligations. So, what are we to do?
The 80/20 rule
If you haven’t picked it up yet, check out Kate Northrup’s new book, Do Less. I’m a part of her membership group Origin.
While some of her messaging is targeted towards mom-trepreneurs, I have found the concepts of her teaching to be quite helpful, so I figured I would share some ideas with my YPY community.
One specific concept, inspired by the Paredo Principle, is that 20% of your efforts create 80% of your success.
This was a tricky concept to connect with for me. I can’t see only 20% of my scheduled patients. You can’t complete just 20% of your work.
I realized I could work with this concept by looking at how I spend my time more broadly and prioritizing better.
Sometimes I fall into the social media abyss. I love social media so I can see what my friends and family are up to, support the work of my colleagues, be inspired by art and food, and spread the word about the happenings at Your Pace Yoga.
That being said, sometimes I spend way too much time getting into the scroll zombie mode. That does not help me meet my goals as a small-business owner or my goals about how I want to feel in my life.
(By the way, I highly recommend goal setting around how you want to feel, as taught to me by Danielle LaPorte.)
I decided I would try and limit my social media scrolling to when I am on the subway and when I’m on a cardio machine at the gym. How you control the social media spiral? (Comment below!)
For years people have been batching. Pods are a similar concept: pods are the physical product of batching. You can create pods when cooking, packing for a trip, or to encourage a workout habit.
A commonly used pod is to cook a large batch for multiple meals. For instance, some folks make enough baby food to last for three days. Some folks cook on Sunday for the week.
I find that batching food can be quite helpful in ensuring that I eat as nutritiously—and economically—as possible at work. I’m lucky to live in a city that has access to healthy to-go options, but ordering food daily adds up fast in a week.
I’ll make a large batch of food and then put them into single-portion mason jars so that I can grab them on my way out the door instead of taking time each morning to divvy up from a larger container. (Plus, they’ll cool faster after cooking!)
I love pods for gym clothes and dance clothes. I love how I feel after I exercise, but I will often find multiple excuses as to why I should skip a trip to the gym. Having my workout clothes together reduces one barrier to get to the gym. I can grab a prepackaged sports bra, tank, shorts, and socks. Once they are clean they go back into the pod.
What pods do you use in your life? Share below in the comment section!
Letting go of perfection
Each year I’m getting more and more comfortable with the fact that I can’t do it all.
When I see an email in my inbox that has been sitting there for a week, I apologize and I am bummed I missed it, but I don’t dwell on the oversight.
I’ve stopped apologizing when my apartment is a mess or there are dishes in the sink when things get busy. I’m a big fan of asking for support for simple things that someone else can lend a hand with.
Letting go of perfection offers me many gifts. It helps me increase presence and be in the moment. Having a greater perspective beyond my immediate little circle is very freeing. I remember what is really important to me in the greater scheme of life.
Reading your energy
Do you know the adage “If you want something to get done, give it to a busy person?”
This resonates with me for sure. Very often I find myself saying yes to more things than is sometimes reasonable for the energy I have.
Sadly, energy in my 40s is very different than my 30s. This is why sleep, diet, and exercise matter more each decade!
Before I say yes to something, even dinner with a friend, I have to think about whether it will push my energy too much. I grossly underestimate how long things take to get done and overestimate how much energy I will have.
So if I have a luxurious dinner with a friend at 7 pm on a Wednesday night, how will I feel when my alarm goes off at 5 am on Thursday morning?
I’m trying to make sure I think ahead—even if I make the decision to do it—so I’m practicing informed self-care for my future self.
I’ve also gotten better at allowing myself to lay on the couch and indulge in watching Netflix.
For years I was really focused on being “productive” until my menstrual period started rendering me bedridden for one day out of the month. I started practicing self-care and letting go of expectations around my cycle.
High-energy cardio workouts were for the beginning of my cycle and restorative yoga was my physical practice during the premenstrual phase. I got out of the “machine” thinking because…well…I was forced to. I had to listen to what my body needed at different times.
Now I can allow myself to lay down and watch episodes of Schitt’s Creek or Grace and Frankie, knowing that comedy is nourishing to my spirit.
Blank space moments
I’ve always been supported by the practice of creating blank space moments.
Do you find your best ideas come to you in the shower? Driving? Walking in the woods?
Sometimes when we are on autopilot our brain gets to wander into places that it might not wander if we are offering it media input.
I find walking in the woods without my phone to be very therapeutic. When I lived in northern California, I would walk this beautiful park in Petaluma and talk to myself.
I do the same thing here in Massachusetts at Walden Pond (though I end up silencing my inner musings more often due to heavier foot traffic).
I’m also a big fan of the technology detox, whether it’s putting your cell phone away when you get home or going for the weekend without checking email.
While you’re at it, treat your nervous system to a mindfulness moment. Close your eyes, take a long breath, and imagine the tension releasing from your body. Notice how you feel.
Find a health accountability partner
We have all seen the benefits of having a work out buddy. You inspire each other and you don’t want to let the other person down. This is what inspired me to keep training for the marathon I ran with my sister…I didn’t want to slow her down! Left to my own devices, I would have run fewer times and less intensely.
Can you share recipes with a friend to inspire healthier eating? Instagram has made this so fabulous for our culture. It’s very easy to find a yummy green smoothie or healthy veggie dish to remind you how delicious unprocessed food can be.
My favorite personal accountability experiment is with daily meditation. I am texted daily with a friend when I meditate and how I feel afterwards. She returns the favor. It’s delightful to be connecting like this daily!
I hope sharing my personal experience is helpful, especially for those stuck on the perfectionism wheel. Be kind to yourself, ask for help, and let us know how you are creating more space in your life in the comments below!