How to Get In-Tune with Your Body and Prevent Burnout
Do you ever find yourself searching on Google or Pinterest how to stop feeling so stressed or overwhelmed all the time? You’re tired, you’re exhausted, every task seems to feel harder than it should and you just want it all to stop. What you really want is to feel good again, full of energy with a little dose of excitement.
You click on article after article and you read a bullet point list offering similar tips just paraphrased differently and you keep clicking onto the next article hoping that the next list will have that one piece of new advice that will be exactly what you need to feel better.
Yeah, we’ve been there too.
Those articles we keep reading all about self-care, how to prevent and cope with stress, prevent overwhelm and burnout all share tips along the lines of:
‘learn to say no’
‘create more “me” time’
‘learn to treat yourself more’
These tips are beneficial and some may work better for certain people than they do for others, however; we all already know we need to incorporate more of these tips into our lives and quite often we do…so why don’t we feel better?
Sometimes it may be because we start doing them, stick to it for a few weeks, and then eventually fall off the bandwagon with our new healthy habits, other times we give them a try, but honestly they just don’t work for us, we don’t walk away with the changes and benefits we were hoping to get out of them.
So what is the problem here? Is it just us? Is there something wrong with us?
While all of these bits of advice will help you, there’s something they are leaving out. A key component, you might say, something you need first.
See, the thing is, all of these pieces revolve around external forces, your environment, right? You have to change the way you spend your time or work for others, you need to treat yourself to a better self-care routine, you need to clean your house so the outside chaos is no longer creating inner chaos and so on. What you need right now is to take time to realize what the real priority is here.
Yes, the answer is you, but more importantly your body.
If you want to start managing your stress and prevent yourself from hitting rock bottom, you need to start by getting in-tune with your body before you go out trying to change your environment and we are sharing our five steps to help you get started.
Before we get into sharing our five steps, we wanted to quickly cover why this particular key component is going to make a difference. The point of getting in-tune with your body is that having a strong sense of connection with your body is what will help you in every environment, the good and the bad. It’s the tool that you need to then make those other self-care changes more impactful for you.
So if you are having a bad day after bad day and struggling to overcome constant burnout, your solution is to check-in and listen to your body and follow these five steps to get you started.
1. Learn to Check In with Yourself.
Checking in with yourself can be easily dismissed. Learning to check-in with yourself means to simply take the time out of your day to see how you are feeling, ask what your body needs, and asking what will make you happy at this moment. Being able to check-in with yourself allows you to build a deeper connection within you. First, it brings clarity. With clarity, you can understand what is missing and be able to fill it. Clarity can provide direction for you to take. Clarity can also help you to build compassion, respect, and most importantly trust with yourself. Checking in with yourself is a tool you can use to take the first step in improving the relationship you have with yourself and your body. Taking that time to ask yourself, as you would for a dear friend or family member, “how are you, do you need anything, or what can I do for you and your well-being” can open the way for you to start recognizing that you deserve to be taken care of.
Finally, we just wanted to add that a huge value in learning to check-in with yourself not only allows you to feel deserving, but it can also help you uncover your self-worth. Worthiness comes from being able to treat yourself the same way you want others to treat you.
2. Learn to look for and recognize your body signals.
Once you begin to take time to check-in with yourself, you might notice some feelings beginning to arise. These feelings are your body’s way of communicating with you.
Your body is always trying to communicate with you, however; we are so easily distracted by the responsibilities of everyday life that we have lost touch with our bodies and their ways of communicating to us. Half the times we may be in pain or discomfort and our first thoughts are “why am I always falling apart?” We never stop to think that the reason is that our body is trying to show us what isn’t working well and help guide us to what is better.
Your body is intelligent, it can send you signals through emotions, physical feelings (no, they are not always painful or discomforting), and even the way your body connects the physical to the emotion- your intuition, “that gut feeling” inside.
Everyone’s body is different from each other. Everyone can receive different kinds of signals and similar signals can mean different things to different people. So here, the best you can do is spend the time to get to know you, your body, and your body’s signals.
3. Decoding the answers.
You didn’t think we would just leave you hanging to figure out your body signals on your own now, did you?
The point of body signals isn’t just to help you uncover what movements are good for your physical body, or what foods help your body thrive more…your body’s signals are about helping you be your best self physically.
Your body’s signals are here to help you uncover which pieces of your life, which tasks, even which people, are helping to serve you and which are working against you and your well-being.
Start by thinking about your body signals in that way, in which they help you to decide what is helping you to thrive and which are causing you stress and leading you to exhaustion and burnout. This mindset should help you to literally feel what parts of your life need to be re-evaluated.
Furthermore, decoding your body’s signals starts with the basics. Some of us have been so far out of touch with our bodies we can’t even discern simple things such as hunger cues, fight or flight cue’s, anxiety and panic attacks. We honestly feel as if all of this stuff just happens TO US. One, they are happening for us to uncover the deeper meaning behind these sensations, but two they are our stepping stones to becoming more familiar with the process of self-awareness (recognizing body signals), dissecting them (what to do they mean, what are they trying to tell us), and how can we use this information to make better choices.
4. Honor your needs.
At times you may feel conflicted, but your body signals are always there whether you can discern them or not. While that may feel frustrating at first, once you’ve started to build up your relationship with your body, over time you will learn that your body is the best and most reliable source and you will, then, learn to lean on your signals to help you either get back on track or remain in a good place when other tips just won’t do you justice.
Once you have taken the time to consistently check-in with yourself, practice understanding your body’s signals, the next step you need to take is to honor your body.
You need to follow through. Trust can only be built with completion and consistency.
Let’s be honest here, if consistency was easy, we wouldn’t be in the position we are in today. Heck, we wouldn’t have half the problems we face daily.
When getting started, move your focus from the daunting sounds of “have to” and “need to” and even the consistency part and just focus on having a more curious mindset. Place yourself in a sense of wonderment. Creating this relationship with your body, allowing it to be your guide to happiness, is really like an adventure. Let it be a place of “what can I do next and next and next” that will lead me to a better place…a place of self-worth, self-love, happiness, energy, those positive feelings you are striving for. This will help turn honoring your needs from a ‘need to accomplish’ task mindset into ‘everything I continue to do will bring me more and more happiness and energy and that true sense of thriving we are all looking for.’
5. The real difference between self-care and being selfish.
When you don’t feel worthy or deserving, it can be hard to follow through on things you need for yourself. It can feel selfish and you feel that other people you love are a higher priority. This is another misconception people have.
Because there is a difference between serving your ego and serving your body.
That’s right. We get it, it’s easy to confuse indulgences with fuel for the body and soul. This, this right here is why sometimes those self-care tips don’t work, because they aren’t serving the part of you that is truly depleted. Sometimes you need those indulgences because your ego may be feeling drained too, but your ego and your body have different needs. What may help refuel your ego may not be what can help rejuvenate a tired body.
Your body is sending you signals to help you make the right decisions to stay healthy and happy, to avoid stress and furthermore burnout AND your body can also tell you what actions you take that can help your body feel its best and what isn’t doing the job to help you feel more energetic and alive.
When you take the time to honor your needs, you will literally begin to feel the difference within your body, from there it will become easier to strive towards feeling your best self.
6. A final tip we’d like to add here is, Prevention.
It can seem exhausting, to take time out of your day to check-in with yourself and honor your needs, but what can take only a few minutes daily can then prevent taking weeks even months off from avoiding your signals and waiting to look to honor those needs. We’ve all been there, where we’ve reached the point of burnout and the road to recovery can be a long one.
If you find yourself wrestling with is this worth it or I can’t do this I don’t have time then ask yourself this question, Are you happy more hours of the day then you are unhappy? Can you even answer that question?
Asking yourself those tough questions and finding those real and honest answers will help you to find the will and mindset to make these small and empowering changes.
Another struggle we often face is how silly this all sounds, we even feel silly asking ourselves how we are, talking to ourselves in our head trying to process all the information. If you feel silly or it feels completely weird, that is normal.
New things can feel uncomfortable at first, but as long as you show yourself that you are trying, your body will only show you compassion and support in return.
The best way to prevent yourself from straying too far and falling into burnout is learning the stages of your body signals. Learn everything from the early stages to the “you’re close to standing at the edge of the cliff” stage. Furthermore, learn your body’s needs at the early stages and learn which needs work better and which stages. Your body has an amazing way of being a gentle guide for you and honoring your needs even in small ways can really push burnout from striking.
Every time you move closer to being in-tune with your body, you move further away from depletion.
Do your best to avoid going too long without checking in and honoring your body signals. The day you stop is the day you start neglecting yourself and it will turn into a cycle.
We’d like to finish off these tips by ending on this note…Getting in-tune with your body, building that relationship, is a journey. A journey towards connection, understanding, acceptance, and trust. Sometimes there is a bigger picture and it can be a lot to take in. That’s okay. Building a better relationship with yourself is possible and learning to check-in with yourself, building self-awareness, and taking those first few steps, can help guide you to a better you.