Whether you are approaching this year with a fresh excitement of what's to come, leery of the impending unknown, or somewhere in the middle, those in a helping role tend to carry more than their share of life stresses. Because of this, it is paramount for Helpers to be intentional about the inner work we do so that we don’t burn out.
Here are 3 practical tips to avoid burnout as you continue your work supporting others.
1. Self Care
Self Care. What comes to mind when I say that?
Self care is a lot more than bubble baths and bonbons (thought it surely can include that). Self Care is the foundational groundwork to give you what you need to carry out your responsibilities. It's everything from getting enough sleep, water, and nourishing food to healthy boundaries in relationships and asking for help.
I like to use Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a quick-check reference to see how I'm doing in my self care.
Starting at the base, as each layer is satisfied, we have what we need to attend to needs on the next level up. So how is your sleep, water and nourishing food intake, safety, sense of connection, etc.?
Intentionality about taking care of your body, mind, heart, and soul needs is like putting your oxygen mask on first in an airplane emergency before turning to others to help them. If you turn to others first, you're going to run out of air quickly. If you intentionally care for your needs, you are able to then turn toward others and offer them help from a stable place.
Take inventory regularly of how you're doing
Be intentional about caring for yourself - schedule it as any other important task
Address any negative messages that may arise (from within or others around you) with compassion and confidence
Those in helping roles oftentimes have a variety of reasons to be in the roles we are in... and those reasons can be hard to remember at times!
This 7 Levels Deep exercise helps to reveal what is at the heart of WHY you are doing the work you are doing. Those deepest Whys are what will keep you focused on what is important when things get challenging (not if, when).
Take some time to do the online exercise or journal about Why you are doing the work you are doing
Put your WHYs somewhere where you will see them often
Share those WHYs with important people so they can remind you when you need it
Occasionally reassess your WHY to see what might have changed
"If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.
- African Proverb
We are not created to navigate this life alone. Connecting with others shares the burdens of helping work - and multiplies the celebrations!
The mental/emotional toll helping work has is real and those who are able to engage for the long haul are those who surround themselves with supportive, encouraging, challenging others.
Engage in opportunities to network/socialize with others in your field or other helping professions
Be vulnerable to share the challenges and wins you are experiencing
Listen to others and connect around shared experiences
Take time to play and have fun with people in your life to counterbalance some of the stress of the work you do
You are worth investing in.
You are worth scheduling time for.
Communicate that truth to yourself by how you treat yourself.
We are here to support you!
I would love to hear any “aha moments” that came to mind while you read this or what you are going to do to implement some of these ideas in YOUR life.
Peace and Love,