9 Ways to recover from burnout

beach-woman-1149088_1920This is my third and final post on the topic of social events. In a perfect world, I’d have plenty of time to prepare for an event, I’d pace myself, and I’d leave with energy to spare. Unfortunately, real life rarely goes according to plan. I wanted to share a few things I do after a social event to recharge.

1. Put things away.
As soon as I get home, I put away everything I’ve brought with me. I hang up my coat, put my shoes in the closet, and tuck away my bag. This is sometimes hard when all I feel like doing is falling into my bed. But keeping my room clean makes me feel better.

2. Don’t overanalyze.
Don’t beat yourself up over what you may have said or done. There will be time for self-reflection later. Don’t dwell on the negatives. Focus on giving yourself time to recharge.

3. Recharge.
Take the quiet time you need. Make sure you’re alone. Do things that make you feel happy and refreshed. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish. You’re worth taking care of.

4. Laugh.
Laughter is great for stress relief and I always feel so much better after watching a funny movie or comedy videos on Youtube.

5. Mentally prepare for future interaction.
You’ll have to eventually go to work, interact with family, grocery shop, etc. Mentally prepare yourself to interact with people. Or take measures to minimize your energy drain. A pair of headphones helps shut out most of the chatter at the grocery store. And self-checkouts are a lifesaver.

6. Connect with loved ones.
As both introverts and human beings, we crave meaningful connections. Take the alone time you need. But take time afterward to connect with those you care about.

7. Create an oasis in your home.
Make a space in your home that can be used for quiet. Put things in it that you love. My favourite place is a comfy armchair in my room. It’s draped with cozy throws and pillows. I love curling up in it while reading a good book. If that’s not possible, a quiet spot outside can work beautifully too.

8. Take lots of small breaks.
It’s usually not feasible to disappear for days or weeks on end. Try to work quiet time into your daily schedule. It will help keep you refreshed throughout the week. Some things I enjoy doing include light reading before bed, going for a walk, working out, dancing, cooking while listening to my favourite podcast, planning out my week, and taking care of my herb garden.

9. Don’t feel guilty.
Being introverted is a gift and is just as wonderful as being extroverted. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Also, there’s nothing wrong with you. You aren’t defective or somehow less of a person because of the way you function. You are an incredible individual with so much potential.

Do you have any other tips or tricks?

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?

One small step

crossfit-534615_1920It’s amazing how one small decision can lead to so many changes. Five years ago, I made an appointment at the gym near my work. As an introvert and overall quiet person, I was pretty nervous (I share a few introvert tips here that helped me get used to the gym environment). So I listened to their spiel, signed up for a membership, and agreed to pay for three discounted personal training sessions. Unfortunately, unless you buy their expensive training packages, you’re pretty much on your own after that.

It took me six months to figure out what I wanted to do. I tried the circuit training machines. I ran on treadmills and rode exercise bikes. I attended a few group classes and attempted yoga. It was okay but I didn’t love it. Then I started picking up heavy weight. I loved it and finally knew I wanted to get stronger. Within a couple of months of switching my routine over, I started noticing positive changes.

My brother obtained his personal training certification around this time. So he created a workout program based on my strength goals. He coached my form and gave me feedback. He was also able to work around my old injuries and strengthen my weaknesses. With his help, I grew capable of moving a lot more weight.

As I increased in strength, my confidence grew. I wasn’t as timid. I started standing a bit straighter (it’s still a work in progress). I felt more confident in speaking my mind and asserting myself. I became more comfortable with myself and around others.

I was motivated to improve other areas of my life too. I’ve worked on maintaining a schedule so I can get to bed earlier. I’m working on drinking more water. I cook all my meals from scratch and try to choose healthier food options. Most recently I started taking ballroom and latin dance classes. Dance class has helped to boost my confidence even more. And it all began with a single appointment at the gym. Below is one of my favourite quotes on fitness.

Going to the gym isn’t a punishment for what you ate or how much you sit, fitness is a celebration of the fact that you are alive and can still move. Fitness isn’t something you only do at a gym; fitness for life means you either approach your body and mind with respect, or you disrespect the gift of your own life and health and then everything that defines a healthy human being, such as the ability to pick up a grandchild or to walk on the beach, is taken away from you.

Getting in shape isn’t something you only do for a wedding or for the newly divorced, fitness is a personal choice where you decide to live your life at the highest level you can possibly achieve, because if you are fit and healthy, then anything in life seems possible. The mindset for fitness isn’t about being perfect or trying to recapture who you were, “back in the day,” but rather becoming the best you can be today.

There is no perfect you, but there is a you within that can overflow with happiness, vibrant health and crazy energy, because you now understand you don’t do fitness, you are fitness. Mindset is everything in the pursuit of personal health, but you have to enter the arena with the understanding that fitness isn’t another hobby you only do when you have time or to relax; fitness is the very essence of how you live 24 hours a day, how you think and who you are.

-Thomas Plummer

What activities do you enjoy?

7 introvert survival tips

happiness-1866081_1920Being an introvert in an extrovert-friendly world is a challenge. You have people who try to change you or condemn you for the way you function. Even though knowledge of introversion is spreading, it’s far from being widely accepted. Here are a few things I’ve found helpful in staying true to my introverted self.

1. Take care of your body & mind.
Introverts are often very sensitive to and aware of their environments. Loud conversations and constant stimulus drain our energy. If we look after ourselves, our ability to handle these things increases. It’s important to get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated, eat healthy nutritious meals, get active, and take care of your mental health. Although this is definitely easier said than done and I’m still working on it 🙂

2. Nurture positive connections.
We all need a connection with others. The best way to show people you care is to spend your time and energy on them. It’s also important to remove toxic people from your life. If this isn’t possible, try to restrict the amount of access they have to you. Surrounding yourself with positive people will lift you up and encourage you.

3. Create and enforce boundaries.
As a recovering people-pleaser, I used to do things to please others, often to my own detriment. Fortunately I’ve been able to make a lot of positive changes since then. By setting and enforcing boundaries, you show others how they’re allowed to treat you. It takes time and practice to get used to, but it makes life a lot easier.

4. Work on good posture.
This is actually something my dance instructor taught us. Upholding a straight posture makes you look more confident, even if you don’t feel it inside. But if you carry yourself with confidence, others will often treat you with more respect.

5. Master the graceful exit.
This comes in handy when you’re in a conversation going nowhere. I’ll usually thank them for their time and mention how it was nice talking with them. Then I’ll give a reason for my departure and head off. Also ensure you have a way to get home if you’re at a party or event. It’s best to travel solo, bring money for a cab, or travel with an introvert with similar energy levels.

6. Create calming rituals for before & after busy events.
I’ve started using a day planner to block out time before and after busy events. This allows me to mentally prepare for an event and recharge after. Plus if it’s in my planner, I’m more likely to actually do it. I’ll usually spend that time with a book and a cup of tea. Or I’ll light a candle and snuggle up with a blanket. Hot baths are always a relaxing option too.

7. Don’t let fear control you.
I’ve had a lot of regrets. Most of the time it was things I regretted not doing. I was afraid of what others would say. Or that someone would make fun of me. Or that I’d fail. I’ve been slowly learning to do things to push me outside my comfort zone. Having a supportive friend really helps. Or sometimes I’ll do research in advance so I’m more mentally prepared. Baby steps are totally acceptable.

What are your survival tips?

The final campout

campfire-1031141_1920This past long weekend was awesome. After a quiet day of work on Friday, I drove home and met up with my brother. We packed our camping supplies into the van, loaded the food into a cooler, and drove for an hour or so to a little community hall in the middle of nowhere. There we joined a number of friends who were busily setting up their tents, sitting by the camp fire, or strolling around the grassy clearing.

The next few days were full of activity, great conversation, and catching up. I had been looking forward to this weekend since last year and it didn’t disappoint. I find that the more I go camping, the easier it is to develop strategies to maintain my energy. These tips from a prior post came in handy too.

In the mornings, I made a point of getting up early. I’d go for a walk to a nearby creek and would sit for a while, soaking in the quiet stillness of the morning. Once I felt refreshed, I would head back to the main hall where I’d make myself a cup of coffee. I’d sit at the back of the hall, sipping my coffee and reading. As people started to drift inside, and the noise level increased, I’d put away my book and start breakfast. I also made a point of going to bed earlier than most. I may have missed out on a few late night card games, but I was willing to make that sacrifice. I need to be well rested if I’m going to enjoy myself.

There were a few planned activities: games for the kids, a softball game, and a dance. I helped out with the kids games but decided to watch the softball game instead of playing. Being an observer is a completely acceptable option and I wanted to save up my energy for the dance later that evening. The dance was fantastic. My friend and I got to display our newly-learned dance moves. Although we messed up a few times throughout the night, it was a really fun and relaxing evening. They also had a few line dances and group dances to get everyone involved, regardless of skill level.

I love spending time with people. As an introvert, close friends and family make life so enjoyable. I really do treasure and value the connections that come from spending quality time with those I love. Although I definitely needed a lot of quiet time afterwards to restore myself after such a busy event!

How was your long weekend?