Be aware of burnout: This is not your mother speaking. However, it has come to my attention that you take an awful lot of pride in being really fucking busy while dangerously flirting on the edge of burnout—in spite of all those productivity and mind-hack supplements you might be taking.
Burnout is a serious problem, and the less you take care of yourself, the more likely it is to occur. And seen as you have no intention in slowing down I thought I would weigh in with a few self-care tips to help ensure you don’t end up completely screwed and wanting to blow your brains out as you become more agitated with the universe for not keeping its part in your plea bargain, or, I don’t know, losing your patience while waiting for any of the following to manifest:
A) The world to stop and acknowledge just how awesome and hard-working you are
B) Your mother sending out that tweet saying how proud she is of you—which then gets retweeted a few thousand times
C) Landing a guest spot on the Ask Gary Vee Show
D) Actually making the world a better place
And seen as the world is fucked and hacking Mums twitter is cheating, self-care is pretty much your only hope, so perk up a minute and pay attention if your boy, Gary Vee isn’t responding to your tweets.
In this day and age, I could write a list the length of the Nile of things you could do to cleanse that precious little soul of yours, but that would piss us both off, so I’ll keep it brief and focus on that which can create the most impact in the shortest time.
I’m also running on the assumption that you know if you eat like crap and overdose on coffee, sugar and other stimulants, you’re going to feel like crap.
Take this stuff a lot more serious than my intro and hopefully, you’ll never know just how lucky you are to have a healthy body and mind.
This is just a guide and some tips to help change your state and keep stress to a minimum. There are no rules here but your own. You do what’s right and what works for you.
1. Change your environment
When I’m stressed, the best thing I can do is change my environment. I’m not talking about quitting your job, packing your bags and moving to a new city or country. I’m talking about getting away from whatever is causing your stress and doing something that nourishes your mind, body or soul. It can be as simple as going for a short walk or anything listed below. But the impact can be massive and should never be under-estimated.
I’m assuming most of you spend too much time at your computer while losing your mind. Studies carried out by Princeton University found that the brains of those who are sedentary behave differently under stress and aren’t able to function as well. So stand up my friend, and take yourself for a little walk.
The more you do this, the better it works. If things have got out of hand and you’re experiencing anxiety or depression, you’ll need to do some deeper work, but even still, breaking your environment will always give your mind a much-needed break, so the best practice is to do it often.
2. Practice Yoga
Realistically, everything listed here is worthy of an article in itself. And yoga might be the longest one. The mind-body connection is real Y’all, and nothing quite taps into it like yoga. I would say Yoga probably saves a million panic attacks a day. You stand to gain so much from a regular practice. I can’t begin to tell you how much it helped my anxiety. Just make sure to balance your Yin and your Yang. You’re already living your life in Yang, so do yourself a favor and get some Yin.
3. Stay hydrated
No shit, Nicky. But seriously, according to a study by CBS, roughly 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Considering mild dehydration affects your ability to think clearly, that’s a little nuts.
Ease off on the caffeine and beer, and make sure you’re getting plenty of h2o. At a minimum, you should be drinking at least 2 liters a day—so drink plenty more and know what you need to accommodate your mind and body based on your lifestyle.
4. Have some fun
If you’re not laughing your way through all the drama life fires at us, then what’s the point? You have a duty to enjoy your life and have some fun. The more you honor that and the more fun you have, the more likely all the other stuff you’re stressing over will fall into place.
5. Stop Drinking
It pains me to write this because I’m actually drinking a whiskey as I type. Alcohol is a depressant. If you’re going through shit, take a break from it and clear your mind. There’s probably nothing worse for you than alcohol. The clarity you stand to gain from cutting alcohol out of your life—if only for a period is ridiculous.
Now, I’m going to pour myself another whiskey because clearly, I take care of myself and have my shit together!
6. Listen to music that soothes your soul
Music is extremely powerful when it comes to stress-management and relaxation. It can aid in meditation, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and helps decrease stress hormone levels.
Obviously, the type of music matters and can have a major impact but I even find Eminem to be great so this is all on the individual. If I’m working on the other hand, I’ll have some classical or relaxing music playing softly in the background which studies confirm help reduce stress levels.
If I’m working and stressed, it’s usually because I’m not listening to music.
7. Indulge in Cold water therapy
13-degree water is hardly an indulgent but whatever. Stress causes inflammation. Inflammation is bad. Cold water therapy helps kick the shit out of inflammation, so get yourself down to your local plunge pool or at the very least, blast that shower on full freezing for a minute every morning.
On top of that, cold water therapy helps boost cognitive function, immunity and your mood by giving you a hit of grade A dopamine, unlike that crap you get from Instagram which barely lasts a minute.
8. Get in the sauna
Saunas are magical. I’m only recently starting to learn just how good they are for overall health and longevity. You’ll feel great, relieve stress, flush toxins, cleanse your skin, help induce a deeper sleep, relax your muscles and soothe any aches and pains.
You gain all of that from sitting your ass down in a hot room. Is that not ridiculous?
9. Meditate to prevent burnout
Some dude nails this quote, “the goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts, it’s to stop letting them control you.” Surely that’s worthy of a collective amen?
The breath doesn’t just play a role, it plays a major role in controlling emotions and keeping anxiety at bay. Meditation has been shown, through brain scanning imagery, to turn down the amygdala. And for anyone that doesn’t know, your amygdala is the little prick responsible for getting overly aroused and instructing the adrenal glands to flood your system with a whole load of unwanted adrenaline that can have you reaching for the phone to dial 911 immediately before your heart explodes out of your chest.
Basically, your amygdala is a fucker. Studies confirm you can tame the bastard through meditation. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need any more convincing.
10. Practice Gratitude
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” – Zig Ziglar
I’m all in with what Ziggy said! Challenge yourself to practice it for 30 days and I guarantee your life will start looking a lot rosier. It really is a glorious bastard.
11. Sleep sleep sleep
A lack of sleep is scientifically proven to be extremely bad for your health. Unfortunately, many struggle a lot with this one. I don’t care what anyone says—unless you’re a robot, you need sleep in order to function. The good news is that all the above should help.
In addition, you can burn some incense, drink camomile tea, light some candles, infuse the shit out of your bedroom with all the essential oils. Develop a nighttime routine that works for you and write in a diary all you achieved today and all you plan to achieve tomorrow so it’s not running around in circles in your mind driving you batshit crazy while you try to nod off.
Your phone is not good for your mind. It causes havoc on the mind. Get that shit away from you before you go to bed and don’t even think about reaching for it first thing in the morning unless it’s to turn off your alarm or throw it out the window.
Get in the habit of turning airplane mode on sporadically throughout the day and get out of the habit of playing with it when you are in the company of others. It will make you a better human.
13. Talk to someone
Sometimes the best thing you can do is sit opposite someone who’s capable of listening and offload your shit on them. Easier said than done because most people are incapable of listening and offer shit advice because the context they use will be their own. If you have someone in your life that’s really awesome and supportive in this area, great. If not and you need to vent, there’s no shame in paying for it. Change is hard when you do it on your own but it can be fun working through some shit with someone else. What is it they say? A problem shared is a problem halved? The solutions are there, and sometimes the right ones will pop up quicker when you confide in someone with a completely neutral stance.
It’s also very annoying if you want to talk about your problems all day and nothing else. People get sick of it, so do yourself a favor and invest in yourself if you’ve got some shit that needs sorting out.
14. I didn’t want you freaking out not reading this because I only had 13 tips, but I only have 13 tips.
Remember, all these are good for your body, mind and your soul. The more you pull yourself from a stressful environment and indulge in self-care, the better you will feel.
Most of the above listed will instantly improve your mood and stress levels, but like everything else, the real results come with repetition and compound over time, so take this stuff seriously and incorporate what works best for you into your lifestyle.
It shouldn’t be a treat. It should be a priority. There are far too many in this world suffering from anxiety and depression due to the insurmountable stress of everyday life. Start with you. First and foremost, you’ve got to keep yourself healthy and sane. And if you are suffering from depression, anxiety or just overwhelm, then talk to someone. You’ve got massive blinkers on. There are solutions, and when you sit down with someone that can help you see the reality, you’ll soon realize those solutions are well in your grasp.