I’ve got a confession to make: I’m feeling burned out.
It’s true – even as a Coach who specializes in self-care and stress management, sometimes what was once in balance starts to feel, well, totally unbalanced.
Have you ever felt this way?
Maybe you thought you had stress management and self-care all figured out, but now, like me, you realize that something needs to change because you’re not able to recover from your stressful moments like you once were.
When your approach to stress management and self-care no longer works, it’s important to take a step back to figure out why that is and to make the changes needed to keep moving forward towards a sense of balance so you can better handle the ups and downs of everyday life.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the common reasons your approach to self-care and stress management may no longer be working, and some of the things you can do to get back on track to feeling more aligned and fulfilled.
Feel like your self-care isn’t working? Maybe this is why…
Real, effective self-care means getting honest with ourselves about what is and isn’t working, and being willing to make the sacrifices necessary to get our stress under control. Then, we need to be diligent about maintaining our wellness with frequent check-ins and updates to our approach.
As Lisa Brunelle says in this article at The Vital Beat, an important part of self-care is self-awareness: “You have to know yourself to know what you need.”
So, why not get to know yourself a little better by taking a look at some of the common reasons your self-care and stress management attempts aren’t working, and see which ones you may identify with?
The Top 10 Reasons Why Your Self-Care Isn’t Working
- You may be trying to do too much, too soon.
- Maybe you’re trying to free up a whole hour in the morning for a luxurious morning routine as a busy parent, someone who already gets up early, or someone who struggles with health problems. Additionally, adopting a 20-minute meditation practice when we’re used to a go-go-go lifestyle isn’t realistic for some of us. Instead, try simply slowing down and being 100% present as you prepare for your day, and as much as possible with each task throughout the day. This will help increase your focus, make you more efficient, and helps get your brain used to taking pauses from constant stimulation.
- You’re over-complicating the process.
- Similar to the above, instead of just starting small with what you need at the moment, you start with researching all the different ways to practice self-care and stress management, make a list of pros and cons, schedule out your day, etc. And by the time you finish with all that, you’re feeling too overwhelmed and exhausted to actually DO the things you’ve chosen to do. You’ve really made it more complicated than it needs to be.
- You totally forgot that it’s actually a process, not a one-and-done deal.
- I hate to break it to you, (ok, no I don’t – but that’s what I’m here for!) but managing stress and practicing self-care effectively is not really something you ever complete. You can’t take time to prioritize yourself today and expect that to keep your stress levels at bay all month. Self-care and stress management are ongoing habits that we need to incorporate into our everyday lives in order for them to be efficient.
- You think all you need to do is shift your mindset (aka – think more positively/good vibes only) and things will magically get better.
- This may be a little controversial to some, but I’m going to say it anyway: the so-called affirmations “good vibes only” and “think positive thoughts” (I refuse to call them mantras, because those are something entirely different, for goodness’ sake!) are really just another form of gaslighting. It’s ridiculous to think that you can just think happy thoughts and all your stress and worries will disappear. Sure, trying to find some sort of silver lining in a difficult situation can prove useful for personal growth – but sometimes the most helpful way for us to grow is to realize that a thought situation is just plain hard and painful, and to let our “lesson” be to learn to navigate that challenge to the best of our ability.
- You’re trying to completely eliminate all stress from your life.
- This is another bit that might be tough to swallow, but someone needs to say it: There’s no such thing as a stress-free life. Everything in nature is going through some sort of stress at every stage of its life. Babies are only born because of the stress they are going through when the womb is no longer conducive to their next stage of growth. Plants only sprout when they begin to push through the confines of their seed and bud. So, too, do we face stress in various areas of our lives in order to move into the next stage. It doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to manage the discomfort and to find peace in the stress, but trying to eliminate it altogether is a pointless venture for anyone to attempt to undertake.
- You’re copying someone else’s routines and techniques exactly, and not personalizing your approach to stress management and self-care.
- This is a big one! There is no one-size-fits-all approach to self-care and stress management. What works for me may not work for you, and that’s ok. An important part of learning to practice efficient and effective self-care is spending time getting to know what you truly need to work on, and discovering what resources, tools, and techniques will help you do that.
- You see self-care only as a coping mechanism, not as a preventative measure.
- Similar to #3, stress management and self-care work best when practiced habitually as a way to prevent burnout – not just when we find ourselves at our wits’ end. And the sooner we can incorporate it, the better it will serve us in the long run. That’s not to say it can’t help you get through tough moments as they arise – it most certainly can! But when we’re in the habit of consistent practice, we’ll be better prepared for stressful situations than if we only used our self-care tools when we’re completely burnt out.
- You’re not pairing your approach to stress management and self-care with self-love.
- Self-love is so important when it comes to how we manage our stress. Self-love allows us to really become attuned to our needs and to do what we need to take care of ourselves. With self-love, we learn to honor the limits of our bodies, minds, and spirits, instead of just pushing through. This is yet another way to ensure that our stress management and self-care measures are effective.
- You see self-care as just another “to-do” on a list that’s already way too long.
- This is one area where I will say having the right mindset can make a huge difference, and where a degree of self-love can really help us understand that self-care isn’t simply something to check off our list. It is a gift we give ourselves, and a way to make sure we’re putting our well-being first. If you find yourself feeling like your stress management and self-care are blending in with your other to-dos, it means it’s time to reassess if the methods you are using are still what you truly need.
- You aren’t willing to let go of some things to make space for taking care of yourself.
- Self-care and stress management requires sacrifice. We must be willing to give up something in order to make room for ourselves. Maybe it’s giving up a Netflix binge in favor of establishing a soothing night-time routine or sacrificing 15 minutes of sleep in the mornings so we can meditate or do some EFT Tapping before we start our day. The fact is, what we’re doing isn’t working, so something’s got to give, right? In the end, with the repetition of your chosen self-care and stress management techniques, the thing you sacrificed won’t seem like such a big deal anymore because you’ll be reaping the benefits of prioritizing your well-being.
Where do you go from here?
If you found yourself relating to any of the above reasons why your self-care may not be working, all isn’t lost. The good news is that you’re here, doing the work needed to move forward instead of staying stuck!
The next step is to spend time getting to know yourself and your needs. Then, arm yourself with some resources and techniques to try out until you are able to create the self-care and stress management routine that works best for you.
I’m currently working on a program to teach you the basics of stress management like how to recognize burnout, how to manage your time so you can create room for self-care, how to set healthy boundaries, as well as numerous techniques you can use to create a personalized self-care routine that’s personalized just for you!
In the meantime, I created a FREE workbook to get you started on these concepts! I’ve also instructions for how to practice one of my favorite quick & easy breathwork exercises so you have all you need to start managing your stress NOW!
Does this sound like something that’s perfect for you? Then click the button below to get your copy!
I hope this post gave you some insight on why you may be struggling with your self-care and stress management and left you feeling more empowered on how you might move forward. If it did, be sure to share it with your friends on your favorite social media platform!
Until next time,