Creative Child

The Self-Care That Ends Burnout

by Rebecca Eanes

Self-care is trending. Everyone is talking about it, and for good reason. We are all tired to the bone. Many were experiencing burnout before the pandemic even hit. Now the situation is critical. The World Health Organization calls it “a state of vital exhaustion.” It’s no surprise that burnout is on the rise after a year of lockdowns and quarantines. Because it’s a hot topic, there’s no shortage of advice being offered to worn out and desperate parents. Most say things like go to bed earlier, get some exercise, put down your phone, eat nutritious foods, etc. The hope, it seems, is that, if we give ourselves these very basic occasional boosts, perhaps we can go on living the same depleting, soul-sucking existences. Talk about high hopes. 

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The truth is that we are barely skimming the surface of this issue. The trouble runs so much deeper than not spending enough time on the yoga mat. Let’s be honest about what we really need, and that’s a life that doesn’t require us to google quick self-care tips. We need lives that are nurturing and fulfilling, full of joy, rest, and human connection, but we deprive ourselves of that in the name of so many things - money, busyness, notoriety, perfection, shame, love, appearances, and so forth. Then, we search for fast fixes to tide us over. Just a little hit of dopamine will get us through because fixing the root of the problem seems impossible. After all, it is easier to take a long bubble bath than it is to fix that troubled relationship. It’s quicker to do 30 minutes of cardio than to affect real change in your household. It’s safer to go to bed an hour earlier than to quit the job that makes you dread each day. However, we are reaching a critical peak, and it’s time to stop sugar-coating the truth.

Real, honest self-care is creating a life you love. It’s being true to who you are, living out your values, following your passions and chasing your dreams. It’s nurturing your relationships and cultivating warm and loving home environments. It’s seeking joy and accepting vulnerability. Real self-care means loving yourself enough to make the big changes. It’s having the courage to say no. It’s changing negative thought patterns, ending painful cycles, and facing your troubles head on.

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