This post is for all of my stressed out introvert friends who’re having a hard time getting through the day – and life in general.
You probably already know of self-care practices or other habits that would make you feel better, but actually doing them feels impossible most days.
And things just keep getting added on to your To Do list…
This was me not so long ago.
I was burned out to the core. Not only did I not have energy to get through the day but it hurt! My body physically hurt with exhaustion. Yet, I had a hard time sleeping. Staying awake until 4 am was a frequent thing.
My resilience to stress was so reduced that everyday activities like answering emails and talking on the phone filled me with dread and anxiety. Anytime anyone made a request of me, it was a mini crisis (that only I could see).
I had a lot of other symptoms (excess weight, self-doubt, anxiety, digestive issues and other things that I kept hidden) that sum up to say that I was exhausted.
Now, when I think back to how and who I was in those days, I feel shocked at how far I’ve come.
I sleep SO much better. I rarely feel anxiety. I feel confident and excited about showing up for my work and the people in my life. Getting up in the morning is a joy, most days.
I’m far from perfect, but I’m also far from where I was.
And 95% of that journey was made with small, subtle changes that didn’t feel like much at the time but have added up to really big shifts.
It actually doesn’t take much to change your trajectory from burned out to energized.
I know your brain is probably telling you that I’m wrong. That it seems so hard to get out of exhaustion. That you’d have to quit your job and go on unemployment. And all of the self care activities you know would help just seem like too much energy to even think about.
What if all of that mind drama is actually just a symptom of burnout and not THE truth?
What if it’s actually way easier?
Like a plane heading across the country, when you alter your course by just a few degrees you can completely change your destination.
You can change your trajectory from reinforcing burnout to getting out of burnout by making small, positive changes to each day.
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, aims for a 1% improvement each day. When you do this consistently over time, you harness the power of compounding, i.e. the gradual buildup of almost imperceptible changes to create really big shifts.
This has worked for me and my clients. It’s the basis for Ayurvedic and Yogic daily practices and for various systems for improving work performance.
So, how do you start?
This could look like:
- Taking one deep breath every time you check your email
- Going to bed 5 minutes earlier each night for a week
- Saying no to one small thing each day
It sounds simplistic but when you do something very small consistently, it creates momentum and opens the door for you to do more.
Put it into practice
- Ask yourself, what’s one super small thing that I want to do consistently over the next week?
- What might happen if I do this?
- How can I support myself to remember and implement this change?