I once heard one of my favorite speakers and authors, Brene Brown, answer a question about the jean jacket she wears all the time. She said that the only reason why she wears the jean jacket is because of all the pockets it has. Her pockets are filled with “permission slips,” small notes of paper she writes before important interviews or conversations reminding herself what she gives herself permission to do (or maybe – who she gives herself permission to be…)
For years, I have been reminding myself over and over again to give myself the gift of permission. When we give ourselves permission to take care of ourselves, we free ourselves from overdoing, overstressing, and approaching life as a series of responsibilities and obligations. It took me years of hard work to realize that when I’m burned out, I can’t be of service for others. There are different ways to shift from stress and overdoing to coming into life and enjoying it.
First, I’ll share my philosophy to get you to think about your own burnout situation, and then I’ll share my 5-minute routine that I start my day with that helps me avoid burnout.
- Give yourself permission to rest
- Give yourself permission to receive
- Give yourself permission to say no
- Give yourself permission to be less than perfect
- Give yourself permission to breathe
- Give yourself permission to slow down
- Give yourself permission to have fun
When there is a lot going on in life, resting seems like a waste of time because there is always something to do, right? Even when we think we’re resting, we might be taking a break from work but we do other things, like read FB or search the net, and the “break” we took did not energize us at all. I’m sure that you know the difference between feeling really rested and just taking a break. When you rest – rest. Use it as a time to rejuvenate.
For many of us it is more comfortable to give than to receive. That was me for most of my life! I learned the hard way that I can only be in true service of others when I balance giving with receiving. It is time for us women to let go of guilt and to allow ourselves to receive. Allow ourselves to receive help, receive love, receive care. Allow ourselves to be taken care of from time to time. A day at the spa or an hour of massage or Reiki are a great start. Giving yourself permission to receive is a state of mind more than anything else. Receiving is a “must” in your self-care routine to avoid burnout.
The real reason why many of us are afraid to say no is that we want to please others and we want them to like us. The benefit of saying yes might be that people are less disappointed with us and they like us more, but the cost might be higher. As a “saying yes junky” for years, I can tell you that taking on too much and saying yes to everything cost me my health. When you say no to others, you say yes to your sanity and your health.
Perfectionism causes stress. We believe that we’re only worthy and lovable when we’re perfect. The stress takes a toll on our behavior and attitude, and eventually our health. Recognizing that letting go of investing 150% of our energy trying to make things “super good” and allowing ourselves to give maybe 80% is necessary when we teach ourselves how to be less than perfect. The Stop Doing / Start Doing List will help you allow yourself to be less than perfect.
How often do you feel that life ends up being one long to-to list? With long to-do lists, deadlines, and feeling the pressure of time, we often go, go, go, trying to get it all done and our pace doesn’t leave much room for the simple act of…breathing. And I’m talking about consciously breathing. Try PBS: Allow yourself to Pause, Breathe, and Smile.
Conscious breathing is basic and essential in order to shift from stress to balance. The next step is to get some awareness about your pace. How well are you pacing yourself? For many of us, life keeps beaming and pulling us from many directions. We slow down only when going away on vacation or when our body forces us to slow down. The interesting thing is that allowing ourselves to slow down brings many physical and emotional benefits and helps us to clear our mind and yet, we rarely do it. Spend some time reflecting on how to slow down when life speeds up.
I grew up believing that much like rest, fun is also a waste of time. After years of thinking that I’ll have fun when I’m done working and realizing the work is never done, I finally shifted my perspective on having fun. What I realized is that everything in my life shifts when I focus on having fun: my attitude, my relationships, my career, and my creativity. I now know that fun is one of the most important expressions of self-care.
Here’s a simple ritual to remind yourself to be human: Write down the following phrases on a piece of paper. Add a few that are not on this list but are relevant for you. Keep it on your nightstand and read it every morning when you wake up:
Here’s a simple ritual to remind yourself to be human:
Write down the following phrases on a piece of paper. Add a few that are not on this list but are relevant for you. Keep it on your nightstand and read it every morning when you wake up:
- I give myself permission to rest
- I give myself permission to receive
- I give myself permission to say no
- I give myself permission to be less than perfect
- I give myself permission to breathe
- I give myself permission to slow down
- I give myself permission to have fun
What is one phrase you want to add to this list to help you focus on self-care and avoid burnout?
Share it in the comments area.
I give myself permission to…