5 signs of burnout

tokyo-2805508_1920In my last post, I talked about ways you can prepare for social events. I wanted to continue with this theme. Sometimes it can be hard to tell when you’re starting to get burned out (other times it’s pretty obvious). I wanted to share a few things to look for.

1. Easily irritated.
Normally minor annoyances don’t bother me. I usually ignore them. But when I’m getting burned out, my tolerance level is pretty low and I feel like snapping at people.

2. Brain fog.
It feels like there’s a haze over my thoughts. I can’t think clearly and it takes me a long time to process anything. I usually speak slower than normal and can’t always find the words I’m looking for. My sentences will often trail off before I finish them because I’ve forgotten what I want to say. Even small decisions like “what do you want to eat” become difficult. I usually end up zoning out of conversations.

3. Feeling ill.
When I get burned out, I get headaches, sore muscles, fatigue, and nausea. The more burned out I am, the worse it is. But even minor burnout makes me feel unwell.

4. Exhaustion.
As burnout sets in, I start feeling more tired than normal, but it quickly progresses to total body sluggishness and fatigue. Just staying on my feet becomes a difficult task. All I can focus on is moving forward. Conversation becomes impossible.

5. Need to be alone.
When I’m burned out I just want to be alone. I’ll sometimes get panicky or feel trapped if I’m surrounded by people and there’s no immediate escape.

If you’re feeling burned out, and you can’t leave, there are still a few things you can do to help. Take breaks as needed. Take a short walk outside, move to a less crowded area, spend some time in a washroom stall, or plug your headphones in and drown out the surrounding noise. Also, make sure you’re taking care of yourself physically too. Get plenty of sleep beforehand, stay hydrated, and eat when you’re hungry. It may not solve the problem, but it can keep it from getting worse.

Do you have any other tips?

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5 tips – prep for social events

kyoto-210092_1920.jpgI recently wrote about my busy weekend and my struggles before and during. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. One of my biggest problems was that I didn’t prepare for the weekend like an introvert. I was so focused on finishing all the tasks that I neglected to take care of myself. I assumed I’d have enough energy. Even though I hadn’t taken steps to recharge along the way. I wanted to share a few tips I’ll be using to avoid this problem in the future.

1. Schedule quiet time.
Plan for quiet time both before and after the event. Choose activities that are relaxing and rejuvenating. Write it in the calendar. Then follow through. If you can’t take a large chunk of time, take advantage of small moments of quiet. Some time is always better than none.

2. Embrace the unexpected.
As an introvert, I’m a planner. There’s nothing more satisfying than when a plan works out perfectly. But life is unpredictable and messy. I need to be okay with this. Having a flexible mindset doesn’t make the problems go away. But accepting that things can go wrong helps me to react more positively to changes and difficulties.

3. Mentally prepare.
I know that by going to a social event, I’ll be interacting with people. It will be draining. I try to remind myself that this is a perfectly normal feeling. I’m not weird or strange. I may not experience social events like an extrovert but I can certainly enjoy it my own way.

4. Dress for success.
When I wear something that makes me feel confident, that feeling extends to my interactions with others. I also try to wear something that’s fairly comfortable. When I start getting burned out, my physical sensations are heightened and wearing chafing or tight clothing makes me feel worse.

5. Plan your exit (in advance).
Before you even arrive at the event, set up a rough timeline. Decide what time you’re going to leave and give yourself permission to do so. If the time arrives and you want to stay longer, that’s great. But keep checking in with yourself. Try to leave before burnout sets in. It’s a lot easier to recharge a partially-filled battery than an empty one. Don’t feel guilty for leaving early. Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do.

Do you have any other tips?

15 things about me

coffee-2179009_1920It’s been a slightly slower day and I’ve had a little bit of time to write. I wanted to share a fun post where you can get to know me a little better. Here are a few things about me. Most of these relate to me being introverted and highly sensitive. I’d love to find out more about you too, so feel free to share in the comments 🙂

1. I love people. But social time has to be in small increments or with people I value highly. I find group activities exhausting.

2. I need a lot of alone time to recharge after I’ve been socially active.

3. I crave emotional depth in my relationships.

4. I’m far better at writing things out than speaking. Writing lets me sort out my thoughts and feelings and I can take my time choosing the best words to convey my meaning.

5. What I say is a tiny percentage of what’s going on in my mind.

6. I tend to internalize stress. I’m working on improving, dance and workouts help a lot with stress relief.

7. It’s easy for me to view things from another person’s perspective. It’s frustrating to deal with those who can only see the world one way.

8. I’m very perceptive and have a good idea of how someone is feeling even if they don’t say anything.

9. I hold myself and others to incredibly high standards. But I’m working on this too, as it tends to create disappointment and frustration most of the time.

10. You know I’m comfortable with you if I act silly or sing in front of you.

11. I analyze everything. Literally everything.

12. Just because I’m quiet doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying myself. I just show it differently.

13. If you interrupt me and don’t apologize, I’ll assume you’re not interested in my thoughts. And I’ll be less likely to offer my opinions in the future (especially if its a recurring thing).

14. I care deeply about others, especially my family and close friends. I would do anything for them.

15. If I want to say something, I will. Don’t try to pressure me into speaking, it won’t work.

Hope you have a great weekend!

A busy wedding weekend

bride-and-groom-768594_1920Last weekend, I flew out to the US for my best friend’s wedding. It was a wonderful weekend and I’m so glad I was able to make it. However, it was also incredibly busy.

I flew out Thursday afternoon and arrived around 11 PM after a flight delay. My friend picked me up from the airport and we drove to her place. We talked for a bit but headed to bed around midnight since she had work the next morning. I puttered around for the morning and then met up with her for lunch. After eating, we drove a few boxes over to their new house and I got to see the place. Then we spent the evening with her family.

Saturday was a flurry of activity. Family brunch, social events, family dinner, and wedding set up filled the day. Once tables were set and decorated, sound systems tested, and lights hung, it was time to head home.

Sunday dawned bright and early. I made a quick breakfast for the two of us. Then we dashed out the door around 8 AM, quickly grabbing dresses and accessories on the way out. We started working on wedding hair until 9 AM, then headed down for rehearsal. We ran through things a few times so everyone knew what they were doing. At 10 AM we headed back to finish up hair, steam dresses, and get the bride into hers. We took group photos for about an hour. The ceremony began at noon, with a reception to follow while the bride, groom, and family took photos. The rest of the wedding party grabbed food and something for the toasts.

The bride and groom made their entrance and enjoyed their first dance. The father-daughter and mother-son dances followed. Then they sat down for the toasts. More dancing ensued while people offered their congratulations to the happy couple. Then they left for their honeymoon and those who remained helped with the cleanup. After a couple of hours, things were back to normal. I headed out to catch up with friends. But was back early to pack up my suitcase and prepare for an early flight the next morning.

It was an incredible weekend. I was so honoured to be there for my friend’s wedding. It was wonderful getting to watch her marry her best friend. But by the end of it, my introvert self was extremely burned out. These past few days have included going to bed early, getting lots of quiet time, and taking care of myself. Fortunately, my roommate has been working evenings, so I’ve had the place to myself for the most part.

How was your weekend?

8 Things I’ve Learned from Dance

dance-1138553_1920It’s been about a year since I first stepped into the dance studio. I was an awkward beginner with little dance experience. Since then I’ve developed into a slightly less awkward dancer with slightly more experience. It’s been a journey full of sweat, hard work, and sore muscles. But there have been so many positive things too. I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned from taking ballroom and latin dance classes.

1. Embrace the process
Learning anything new is hard. You’re put through situations that aren’t mentally or physically comfortable. But don’t fight it. When you accept the discomfort it doesn’t necessarily make it easier. But you can see how each step contributes to making you better. It’s all leading to self-improvement.

2. Making mistakes is okay (and normal)
With dance, you’re learning to move your body in completely foreign ways. You will eventually mess up your footwork or step on some toes. Mistakes are a normal part of any learning process. So try not to get too frustrated. The only difference between you now, and what you can become, is time and experience.

3. The value of discipline
It’s not easy to show up each week and put in the work. It takes sacrifice and dedication. You might not feel like going. I usually don’t, even though I love to dance. This creates positive habits and contributes to building the discipline needed to achieve your goals.

4. Increased social skills
Partner dance provides an excellent opportunity for social interaction. Firstly, dancing is a great icebreaker. Secondly, both of you are interested in dance, so you can skip the small talk and jump straight into an animated conversation about your favourite dance style. This is especially great for an introvert who loathes small talk.

5. More confidence
I used to walk with a slouch, trying to take up as little space as possible. But over the past year, I’ve noticed that I’ve straightened up, and not just when I dance. I feel surer of myself and am more likely to contribute to group conversations. And I’m excited for the continued growth.

6. How to push out of the comfort zone
Taking my first step into the dance studio was nerve-wracking. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know if I’d have a partner. I was afraid that I’d mess up and look dumb. But we’re capable of so much more than we think. Taking that first step, regardless of how hard it was, was totally worth it. I’ve made new friends and learned a lot. The positive feedback has encouraged me to push myself even more.

7. The importance of self-care
Dancing uses a lot of muscles you don’t normally use. As a result, you end up with tight and sore muscles after most sessions. To avoid injury, you need to take care of yourself through foam rolling, gentle stretching, hot baths, massage, etc. It’s equally important to make sure you’re well-rested and have quiet time before and after dance class to prep and unwind.

8. How to be vulnerable
Dance encourages you to express yourself through movements and styling. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable to “let go”. As a reserved person, it took a long time before I felt comfortable enough to try latin dance. And even longer before I felt comfortable using arm styling and hip action. Embracing discomfort and expressing yourself honestly helps build connections and confidence.

What are some things you’ve learned through a hobby or sport?

6 Tips to Stay Organized

coffee-1276778_1920Things have been fairly busy lately. With sickness running rampant at the office, tasks have been piling up. I’ve been getting ready for my best friend’s wedding later this month. Add workouts and dance classes and catching up with old friends and you have a very busy mix.

I wanted to share a few things I do to stay organized. If you have any suggestions on being more efficient I’d love to hear them too!

1. Make all the lists
Every time you think of something that needs to be done, write it down. This can be done on an actual piece of paper or on your phone/computer. I like to make a giant to-do list, then create separate lists for grocery trips, trip planning, packing lists, etc.

2. Prioritize your tasks
Break down your to-do lists into two parts. Time-sensitive, must-do tasks. And everything else. That way you can focus on the urgent tasks and do the rest when you have the time. It also ensures you don’t forget about something that needs to be done ASAP.

3. Break it down
When approaching a huge task (like planning a vacation), it can easily get overwhelming, especially for an introvert. Write down all the small steps (figuring out accommodations, find flights, car rental, money exchange, etc) that lead to finishing the big task. Then start working on them one at a time. It’s way less stressful.

4. Use a day planner or organizer
Set aside time during the week to fill out a weekly planner. Start by writing down all your daily tasks first (work, food prep, laundry, workouts, etc). Then add all your urgent tasks (like work or personal projects). Extra spaces can be filled with hobbies, social time, or recharge time. My personal favourite is the Passion Planner, but there are tons out there.

5. Stick to it
Follow the schedule you’ve made up. The first few weeks will be full of trial and error. You may need to make adjustments here and there. But stick with it, it’s worth the effort.

6. Reward yourself 
Treat yourself when you’ve been successful in staying on track. Then keep up the good work!

Do you have any other tips or tricks?

The simple life

architecture-1087820_1920I love a simple life. A quiet existence where I have everything I need and nothing more. Having too much stuff distracts me from what’s really important. It’s the people who matter to me, not the things. I want my mind to be free to focus on what I value: my relationships and self-improvement.

Unfortunately, I have a pack-rat for a roommate. She displays knickknacks throughout the living room and likes to stack her entire tea collection on the kitchen counter. But it’s her space too, so I try to keep things in perspective.

While I may not have complete control over the shared spaces, my room is different. My room is my sanctuary. It’s clean and quiet. There’s no clutter. A few frames adorn the walls, a string of lights, some travel shots. It’s a cute room with matching colours and simple pleasures. It’s very much me. It’s my escape and where I go to unwind.

Since our shift into winter, I’ve had more time to clean and tidy up indoors. I can remove the clutter that slowly piles up and reclaim the quiet corners of my room. This past week I’ve gone through my room, closet, and storage bins, purging them of unnecessary items. It’s a work in progress but clearing out space in my closet is so addicting!

How’s your week been?