Anyone who has ever had a burnout knows what it feels like: you are tired, beaten off, with your strength at the end. This makes it all the more important to pay attention to one’s own body and to take renewed warning signals seriously.
Nothing is as difficult as breaking with old habits. This also applies to stress, exhaustion and burnout. Good intentions alone are not enough to recognize and avoid the old traps, which in the worst case lead to depression. It is worthwhile to develop strategies that arm against relapses into old patterns. There are no recipes. But suggestions.
1. Practice caution
Pause for a moment, close your eyes, just watch your breath. Inhale. Breathe out. For a minute. Do not evaluate your thoughts, which will come completely automatically. Let them go and return again and again to the feeling of breath. Note: The moment of pause is the present. It may occupy you with the past, perhaps you are worried about the future. But there’s also the moment you’re living right now. And this moment is precious.
2. One by one
Whoever told you that you could do several things at once: that’s not how people work. If you think you can multitask, you can actually do several things in a flash. It tires me. Practice doing one thing first, then the other. If you eat, you eat. When you’re on the phone, you’re on the phone. When you listen, you listen.
3. Take frequent breaks
And when you take a break, you take a break. Do you even take regular breaks?
4. Collect beautiful moments
Get yourself ten small pebbles. Put it in your left pocket. For even the smallest beautiful moment, a stone wanders into the right trouser pocket. An autumn leaf full of morning dew? Stone from left to right. A compliment from your colleague? Stone from left to right. Your favourite song on the radio? You know what I mean. This is neither kitschy nor esoteric. It helps to train attention. The brain tends to forget the beautiful and store the anger. In the evening you remember the day. Where are the stones? Why here? Why there?
5. Practice the ”No”
Why don’t you say no more often? Because you think you’re only worth anything if you say yes? Because you’re afraid you won’t be loved if you distance yourself? Distinction is important. You can’t solve all the problems in the world. Set priorities.
6. create distance
The boss wants to keep an eye on you for a new project? Switch off the autopilot. Check your reserves of strength. Ask for time to think about it and ask where your boss will relieve you in return. You can create distance in many ways: through sport, a walk or the famous “one-night sleep over it”.
7. Holy Dates
Somehow everything else is more important than you? Set up “holy dates”: with yourself and with people who are important to you. Before breakfast, meditate. You go to the sauna on Wednesday evenings. Or to the restaurant with your partner. These dates will not be postponed. Period.
8. Meditation in everyday life
Sometimes works that require full attention without exertion seem like an antidepressant: cook a Bolognese. Cut carrots and celery calmly and carefully. Small cubes. One cut, another, another. Or clean up the basement – this one can go, this one stays here. Being immersed in something can be very relieving.
9. Say stop
Try to figure yourself out: When your mind carousels, give yourself a stop command. Ask yourself the questions: Do I want to think about it now? Is there really only one view of my problem? What exactly is important to me right now?
10. Way with habits
You turn on your radio or TV as soon as you get home? Making calls, checking e-mails? How about a break for now? A cup of tea? You drink two or three glasses of wine every night and go to bed after the late news? Why don’t you go to bed at 9:00? Will one glass be enough? Does that feel different?
Sounds exhausting, yeah. And requires discipline. Start small. By the way: You don’t do this for your partner, not for your children, not for your boss. It’s just for yourself. You brush your teeth. Why don’t you do “thought hygiene” more often? maybe everyone will benefit in the end.