Access the video here:
Or the audio here:
Hello lovely and thank you for joining me for Searching for Serenity's 7-day video tutorial series Eliminating Exhaustion.
We are already on day four which means that we are more than half way through the week. I hope that you find the skills, tips and tricks I am bringing to you are already paying dividends.
Now, I know that some of them are long-term solutions. However, if you keep practicing them, making them a priority in your self-care schedule then you will see huge benefits, not just now and not just this week but for the rest of your life.
Before we get into the training today I wanted to recap the week so far.
One day one we looked at your daily schedule to find some time for self-care. I asked you to find 15-20 minutes a day to do something that brings you joy and relaxation and I am sure that, by day four, you have slightly let that fall by the wayside. So, we are going to revisit that now. the reason for doing this is because you have been putting yourself last for far too long.
You might continue to accept that and think that that is simply the way of things but I am here to tell you that that is crap.
You can't help other people, put other people first, you can't care for them, unless you are caring for yourself first. There is a saying; you can't pour from an empty cup. This is absolutely right and if no one else will tell you (and they probably already are) then I am here to tell you that you have to put yourself first.
You have already taken a huge first step, so, put that 20 minutes back in the diary.
It doesn't have to be 20 minute at the end of the day. obviously it links back in to your sleep hygiene if you are doing something to relax yourself at the end of the day but your 15-20 minutes of self care could be getting up, having a stretch and a few minutes to yourself over a cup of coffee before anyone else gets up in the morning. It could be taking 20 minutes of your lunch break and eating lunch in the park. It could be walking around the shops, buying something nice for yourself, getting your hair done. Whatever it is you need to make sure that it is a priority and that it is non-negotiable.
Wherever it fits in your day, so long as you are prioritising your 20 minutes then you will be reminded of every other step that we are taking.
On day 2 we looked at putting stress back in a box. This is very much around the idea of leaving work at work and home at home and delineating between the two. Studies show that separating out work and home improves our confidence and wellbeing and allows us to switch off the part of our brains that are constantly running through our to-do lists. We have already gone through some techniques to help you with that and to put some structures in place.
Yesterday we dealt we sleep hygiene. Let's be honest; this s a huge concept and we could spend three months of training on this and have more to go, but you have the first steps that you need to put that in place. Prioritising your sleep, as much as you can and with everything else that is going on, and making that sleep as good quality as it can be whilst you are doing that, is going to pay off. Again, this s not just today or this week but for the rest of your life.
Big claim, I know!
So today we are going to cover two important things in one day; your diet and taking breaks.
The reason I put the two together is because I am not a nutritional consultant, I am not your doctor; I am not going to give you recipes or a shopping list and tell you to go to the supermarket and spend £100 on groceries that frankly, are probably going to go mouldy at the bottom of your fridge. What I am going to do is use this opportunity to remind you of these two very important concepts to consider throughout your working day.
You already know (you have been researching this for quite a while, I imagine) that things like sugar, caffeine and alcohol are going to cause problems. They put you on a rollercoaster of sugar highs and lows, emotions, interrupt your hormones; they really do screw with your body and mind.
Using these substances to bring you up, bring you down, calm you down at the end of a tough day are crutches. But they are not crutches that will help you regain your ability to walk and run, they will simply keep you hobbled.
So I take this opportunity to remind you each day, just for a moment, before you put that chocolate in your mouth, before you buy the cakes for work, to think for a moment what you are doing to your body. If you still want to choose them then that is entirely up to you (I am the first to say I am a Haribo addict, put a bag in front of me and it will disappear, which is why I am not a nutritional consultant!) However, these are things that you need to consider each day, simply so that you can allow your brain the most capacity, rather than dealing with crashing highs and lows, and to keep your brain and body supported throughout the day.
There is so much information out there and if you are concerned about this you can speak to your GP or to a nutritionist who will give you more detailed support. But my key tips and takeaways are to cut back on caffeine (yes, I know, you love it! However, interspersing coffee with the occasional glass of water will not kill you!), using good fats to support your brain function (our brains run on good fats such as oily fish and avocado and these will help your brain to function more efficiently and to deal with stress and exhaustion).
Alongside this; taking breaks. Again, I could spend three months helping you to put these into your schedule, supporting you to take the breaks you need for the rest and relaxation your body and brain desire, but frankly, I am going to cover this very quickly today because there are plenty of other resources out there, across the Searching for Serenity website and all across the web.
What we are going to do is implement a lunchtime break. Whether this is taking a full hour, making some lovely food, sitting back and relaxing whilst you eat, or whether this is literally running outside the office and doing a quick circuit around the building breathing fresh air that hasn't been through an air conditioning unit, it is entirely up to you. But - if you work for more than 90 minutes your brain's productivity and your ability to retain and utilise information drops rapidly. Therefore every day, and every ninety minutes, you get up, stretch and move. Even if it's just for a moment or two, to walk to the toilet and back, or walk to another office, or deliver a memo to someone's desk, every 90 minutes you get up, move, get away from your workspace for 5-10 minutes minimum.
Another key point here is not to utilise technology during these breaks; studies show that using our mobile phones or other technology to try to relax does not help us to relax. Instead we use another part of our brains and actually can distress us.
For today all I ask is to consider the food you put into your mouth each day and the effect it will have on your brain and body when this is something that you are striving to achieve and to get out of your office for 10 minutes minimum during today.
Of course, I want you to keep doing these each day.
The reason we are covering these off so quickly and the reason why food and exercise are dealt with together is because, for the rest of this week, we will be focusing specifically on emotional exhaustion.
This is a topic that you may or may not expect, we will again be focusing on practical tips but focusing on the causes of burnout and the feelings of overwhelm you have been having. I wanted to deal with the more 'traditional' aspects of exhaustion quickly, in order to allow us to focus on this more completely.
To briefly recap, today your focus is what you put into your body and how it affects your body and mind and taking breaks for at least 5-10 minutes throughout the working day, together with the steps covered in the previous days this week.
It's so simple, right? It's practice and repetition that will make these work.
Tomorrow we will be focusing on emotional exhaustion and the behavioural changes that will support you.
I would love to hear how you are getting on with the course so far and if you do want to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org Otherwise I will be back in your inbox tomorrow morning with a slightly more intense video.
I hope you have an amazing day, take care for now!