How To Turn Your Mind Off From Work
Ever been jolted out of bed with a random thought about work? Maybe it's a random thing that you forgot to do, or an email you forgot to reply to, or maybe even a random problem that you need to solve!
If you're tired of work running through your mind during your off time, I want you to listen to this podcast to learn how to go from preoccupied with work to effortlessly enjoying your free time!
By the end of this podcast, you will know how to turn your mind off from work, so that you can enjoy more of the important parts of life.
So many of us go to work so we can create impact, but also so we can finance a life of our dreams. However there are so many instances of people not being able to turn off their mind after they close their laptop.
Have you ever experienced enjoying yourself after work, may be laid back on the couch remote in hand excited to catch up on your favorite Netflix series. And just as the theme music finishes and you're excited to jump into the juicy drama, a random thought about work jolts into your head making your heart race in your thoughts raise even faster.
If you've ever had this experience you know firsthand that it's the worst. And if it happens to you often it can leave you feeling stressed and anxious.
Those precious moments that we have outside of work deserve to be contained. You deserve to have those moments full of joy, present mindedness, and rejuvenation. It's so important to have the tools to know how to turn your mind off so you can live a full life that is packed with things that bring you meaning and light you up!
Yes the work you do might light you up but that's only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to your life. It's your divine right to have a full rounded experience in this life and to enjoy the journey of your success and to your success.
Now if this is something that happens to you infrequently, then there are simple things you can do to tackle those menacing work thoughts. Things like brain dumping and writing everything down that comes to mind and just tackling it the next workday. Other simple things you can do to get your mind off work are to do light exercise or take a walk right after work or o create boundaries like not talking about work after work hours.
But today I want to talk about a larger concern. If this is chronic for you– meaning you constantly find it hard to turn your mind off from work– then there might be something larger at play and that's burnout.
A recent report from indeed found that employee burnout is on the rise: 52% of all workers are feeling burned out, up 9% from pre-covid surveys. Employees of all ages and types are experiencing the impact of stress, fatigue, and mental health challenges.
I remember when I was in my internship for my PhD program. I was pregnant with my daughter and traveling back and forth from Los Angeles on the weekends with my husband to San Diego to work for my internship during the week. On top of the stress of traveling weekly while being pregnant, I had a full caseload and was treating patients with severe mental health issues in an inpatient setting. I found myself constantly thinking about my clients outside of work and it became very difficult to turn off thoughts of things I should've said in the session or things I wanted to say in the next session or how I wanted to help a client gain valuable resources.
Thankfully I had a great supervisor at the time that was very insightful and pulled me to the side and asked me what was I doing for myself. She must have noticed a change in me and wanted to make sure I was okay. She asked, “You seem off, have you been taking care of yourself?”
I can still remember that exact moment. I stood there with my hand on my round belly, and the other hand supporting my low back. Classic pregnant lady stance. And in that moment it was like one of those lightbulbs went off in my head. Her simple question was the catalyst for a full on Oprah ah-hah moment.
I realized at a time when I should be doing the most for myself as a pregnant woman, I was doing the least. I was burned out. Yes, I cared about my clients and wanted to see them succeed but one of the main reasons that I couldn't turn off these work thoughts was because I was burned out and compassion fatigued. I wasn’t taking time to do all the things that light me up and fill my cup up. I set out to refocus on filling my own cup, practice what I preach and lean into leading a mentally healthy life for myself first and foremost.
The results were not only could I Show up better for my clients, but when it was time to turn off work it was as easy as shutting off a light switch.
So in this episode, the way I want to address helping you turn off your mind from work is to help you figure out: are you burned out and how to recover.
If you can’t turn off your work mind chatter you're likely burned out which can lead to wor anxiety and intrusive thoughts. So the key is to lean into self-care and self-support to rejuvenate and prevent future burnout.
It isn’t selfish to put yourself first, it’s a necessity!
Iyanla Vanzant said it best, “It's self full to be first, to be as good as possible to you. To take care of you, to keep you whole and healthy. That doesn't mean you disregard everything and everyone. But you want to come with your cup full. You know: ‘My cup runneth over.’ What comes out of the cup is for y'all, what's in the cup is mine but I've got to keep my cup full.”
And in today's episode I'm helping you keep your cup full by giving you three signs that your burned out and not lazy, teaching you how to simplify self-care even if you're busy, and finally I'm getting give you five easy self-care ideas to implement today. And it is my hope that with all these things combined you can learn how to turn your mind off from work by keeping your cup full.
ONE: 3 Signs You’re Burned Out And Not Lazy
I want to start by affirming you. If you’ve recently been hard on yourself because you felt lazy, I want you to know it’s probably not some random bout it laziness, and it just may be burnout.
Burnout damages our amygdala, prefrontal cortex, underlying circuitry and brain connectivity. This negatively impacts our ability to regulate our emotions, focus, learn, and remember. Also, research has shown that burnout causes similar brain damage as those impacted by trauma. This explains how burnout symptoms shared overlap many trauma symptoms such as avoidance (work avoidance), hyper-vigilance, restlessness, and difficulty staying present (Michel, 2016).
Here are 3 signs that you’re burned out and not lazy:
Sign #1 You have a decrease of motivation. You find that your motivation has gradually lowered from what it used to be. Unlike la lazy person who might have never really been a motivated person by nature, you usually are but it’s been a struggle lately.
Sign #2 You feel less satisified and accomplished, and you even feel less interested in work that you usually lights you up. This is a classic sign of burnout and may be your first clue to signal burnout for yourself.
Sign #3 You never feel rested. Burnout can leave you feeling constantly fatigued and have you feeling never quite refreshed even after having a good night’s sleep.
Sometimes hustling to achieve our dreams can feel like burning the candle wick at both ends. The problem is when we become burned up, we have nothing else to give. There is no fire left to hustle.
As actionable exercise I want you to write down what are the signs of burnout for you personally.
Know What Burnout Looks Like For You Personally
A major step in avoiding burnout is becoming aware of what burnout looks like for you personally. Then when you start to notice the signs, you can stop burnout before it goes TOO FAR. For example here is what the stages of burnout look like for me:
- Overworked and over obligated
- Exhaustion and sleep deprivation
- Procrastination and inefficiency
- Anxiety about being behind
- Avoidance due to the overwhelming pressure to catch up
- Feeling guilty for falling short, low self esteem
- Decrease in motivation
- Paralyzed in inaction (basically feeling too overwhelmed to do anything at all)
Know what burnout looks like for you so you can recognize the signs!
TWO: Self-Care Made Easy For Busy Women
Once you know the signs of burnout, your work becomes recovering and preventing future burnout. This is where self-care and support comes in.
We must actively cultivate a well-rounded life to avoid burnout so that our cup is not only filled with work.
You’re a human being, not a human doing. Your worth is not dependent on your actions. So work to live, don’t live to work.
Anne Lamott said “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… including you.”
So even if you are a busy woman, taking care of yourself must be a priority. And I would even venture to say especially if you are a busy woman.
So I want to share with you how to simplify self-care for a busy woman like yourself.
Firstly, I want to discuss meditation. We all know the benefits of meditation but you may feel like you don’t have time to meditate. Here’s what you can do instead to get some similar benefits:
- Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your attention to the present moment. Present mindedness has shown have some of the same benefits of meditation like reducing stress but it can be done anywhere, at any time. Try mindful eating my taking your lunch break to turn off your phone and fully focus on savoring your meal. Tune into all five sense as you eat and fully be present as you eat. For more mindfulness exercises for self-care, you can check out my book: Self-compassion and mindfulness which I will link in the show notes: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1647396190?ref=exp__tiffanyshelton_dp_vv_d
- Get into a flow state with things like play or creativity. For instance, I love doing my own nails not to save money but it allows me to get into a creative flow and fully immerse myself in the moment.
- Trying journaling for just 5 minutes at a time. Allow yourself to fully connect with the present as you freely reflect in your journal.
Another thing you can do to make self-care easy is make it a habit, so you don’t even have to think about it, it’s just a part of your everyday life.
3- Intertwine it with other daily activities - such as wind up routine
4- lean it what lights you up - don’t think it has to look a certain way. Example, nails or therapy
So there are some ways to simplify self-care so you can practically incorporate it into your life.
THREE: 5 Easy Self-Care Ideas
Marie Forleo said, “The real secret to getting more done is giving yourself a break.”
Thankfully, a new survey finds more than seven in 10 Americans (73%) were more conscious of needing self-care in 2020.
So I want to also share with 5 easy self-care ideas that you may want to try:
- Mindful adult coloring. Yep, I’m taking you back to the days when Lisa Frank coloring books were life. According to beaumont.org, “Coloring has the ability to relax the fear center of your brain, the amygdala. It induces the same state as meditating by reducing the thoughts of a restless mind. This generates mindfulness and quietness, which allows your mind to get some rest after a long day at work.”
- 5 Minute Journaling - I mentioned this early, and it’s worth repeating because it’s such a great self-care bang for your buck. Journaling helps improve your mood while also helping you connect with your inner Spirit.
- Mindful walking. Mindful walking has many benefits outside of the physical benefits of walking itself such as increased well-being and better sleep.
- Take a social media break. This one is super easy to do, but also super easy not to do. Taking a social media break though can help you feel more peaceful and relaxed. This is because it gives you a chance to live more in the moment, and hit pause on constant comparison and FOMO.
- The last easy thing you can do to take care of yourself is ask for help. Remember, having it all, doesn’t mean you have to do it all!
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Self Compassion and Mindfulness book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1647396190?ref=exp__tiffanyshelton_dp_vv_d