July 12, 2022

It's July.  There are heat waves in a lot of places in the United States.  If you spend too much time outside, you might easily get sunburned.

Our skin often tells us when we have spent too much time in the sun.
Unfortunately, we don't have the same type of system to tell us when we have hit an emotional level of burn-out.

Imagine how interesting that would be though?
What if when we were emotionally exhausted, our skin turned pink and told us to go inside and rest for a while??

What if when we were emotionally exhausted, our skin turned pink and told us to go inside and rest for a while like it does when we are sunburned??

Jen Taylor

Signs of Emotional Burn-out

Instead, you might notice signs of emotional burnout like: irritability, apathy, or procrastination.  You will hear people recommend things like manicures or trips to the beach or taking a day off to just sleep as forms of "self-care."

But here is an interesting twist on self-care that really pays off:

An unexpected form of self-care for burn out

Take something that's annoying and get it fixed.

You will be surprised how little annoying things that we put up with in our daily life really add up to mental stress.

A few examples:

Our dishwasher was slightly loose and so to close the door you had to shimmy it into place every time you opened it.
Not a big deal, really. 
Until it was fixed. 
Life runs a little more smoothly now.

The mailbox handle was broken. You could still open it, but it looked bad.  It was the first thing I saw when I arrived at my house.
It's wasn't a big deal, really.
Until it was fixed.
Now, I feel slightly happier when I pull into my driveway. 

Our house didn't have a fan in our primary bedroom.
It's Maryland - so, I told myself "it's not that hot, it's not a big deal."
Except I was hot.  Every night.
I thought about getting a fan for EIGHTEEN months.  
Not a big deal, really.
Until it was fixed.
This weekend, we got a ceiling fan for our bedroom.
And I slept well. Really well.

You see it is a big deal.
These little things in our daily lives.  When we have a crooked dishwasher or a broken mailbox handle, we are sending ourselves little messages that the things we want don't actually matter.  That we are not important.

And then we shake our heads every time we see them and sigh at how we need to take care of those things.  

Maybe your skin isn't turning pink...but if you are feeling the weight of emotional burnout - try taking a few things OFF your list.

It doesn't seem like a big deal....

but it makes a big difference.

Journal Exercise for Self-Care

Instead of making a list of things that you need to do, flip the script. 

Make a list of things that you want OFF your list.

What do you wish would just magically get fixed?What are things that you keep putting off that you just want DONE?      If you had all of the help you needed, what tasks would you snap your fingers and have completed?

Now....choose one item from the list and commit to getting it taken care of this month.Imagine what it will be like AFTER this is completed.

Write yourself a thank you note for taking care of this item!

How did this work for you? 

Let me know if these techniques worked for you by leaving a comment below. 

If you found this helpful, subscribe to the journaling mailing list for more tips and prompts and get another simple, but effective technique that will help you get the most out of every month of the year. 

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About the Author

Jen Taylor, LCSW-C, RPT-S is an EMDR Approved Consultant and Certified Journal to the Self Instructor.  She is a therapist specializing in complex trauma, an international play therapy teacher and a published writer of multiple play therapy chapters.  Jen is the creator of the original 2017 Play Therapy Summit and many other innovative programs for mental health professionals.  Jen uses writing therapy, play therapy and expressive arts for her clients and for other mental health professionals so they can lead more joyful and meaningful lives.  Jen encourages people to try new things and create daily habits that allow for incremental progress towards previously unimaginable results.   Jen is a travel enthusiast, an avid reader, and a girl who lifts weights and runs for fun.  

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