September is nearing and that means that school will begin, vacation time will slow down and routines will be back in place. With the return to “normal life” we tend to forget to take care of ourselves and relax. Without self-care, stress, and the result of stress, “burnout”, is eminent. It is extremely important to incorporate stress reduction techniques, and self care into our daily routines to keep from becoming exhausted, physically and emotionally, and to prevent getting sick from run-down.
Great ways to prevent burnout include:
- Meditation– if you are someone who “cannot quiet your mind,” meditation is very important. You are not expected to be able to meditate the first time your try. Like everything, practice makes perfect. When starting out just remember to try and catch yourself each time your mind wanders and bring your mind back to your breath. Meditation will be beneficial, even if your mind wanders every few minutes.
- Epsom salt baths- This not only provides the relaxation of a hot bath, but the Epsom salt is actually absorbed into your body providing you with Magnesium. Magnesium is an important mineral that is effective for relaxing muscles and calming the mind.
- Regular massage
- Sitting quietly with your feet up and your eyes closed– it is important that when looking for quite time you actually eliminate all external stimulus, even if just for a short period of time. Even the TV prevents true relaxation due to brain stimulation.
- Exercise- This doesn’t need to be intense to be beneficial. Never disregard the benefit of a walk
- Supplementation- There are many supplements that you can include into your self-care program. These are especially beneficial for people who are prone to high stress, burnout, and/or frequent illness in the fall and winter. As far as supplementation goes there are specifics that can be effective for everyone such as Vit C, B-complex, and Zinc. However some people need additional support including herbs, in which case you should make an appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor in order to design a plan that is right for you.
Please note that self-supplementation with herbal medicine, especially herbs specific to stress can cause more harm than good in some cases. There are various stages of stress that require different herb qualities. Some herbs are very stimulating whereas others are calming. If taking the wrong herb at the wrong time you could risk worsening your adrenal fatigue.
Please read this article by Dr. Mark Hyman for more information about burnout. This article does recommend some specific herbs, but keep the above warning in mind when reading about these.