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February 4, 2020

5 Ways to Avoid Burnout

Self-Care… Even in February

Ah, February: the shoulder season between winter and spring, and the month that Hallmark and Russell-Stover make a killing. It’s also, for some reason, one of the most difficult months for teachers. The holidays are over, but spring break is still weeks away- and the energy for outdoor activities is waning. Even if it’s not teeth-rattling cold where you are, it’s hard to rev up during the toughest months of the year.  

If March would only get here already. 

Fortunately, time continues, and eventually all will be ok. Until then, here are some ways you can be nice to yourself (and keep your sanity) in February, or any month that feels burdensome. 


Check in with yourself. 

This is a great time to assess how you are doing in the aspects of your life that are most important to you. Have you started goals you meant to begin in the new year? What’s making you happy? What’s bringing you down? Taking the time to check in with yourself can rejuvenate your drive and energy. Here’s another take on self-assessment if you’d like to learn more.

Hang out with plants. 

We have a beautiful enclosed arboretum nearby, and occasionally we take our family to wander amongst the truly restorative environment. The humidity soaks into our skin as we breathe the oxygenated air, and we leave refreshed and hydrated. An added bonus: Chloe the sloth lives in the “tropics” area, so we can visit her tree and say hi!  

You might also look into having a terrarium or a succulent arrangement within your sight for part of your day. I have a Christmas Cactus that just started blooming one day, and the sight of those blooms instantly brighten my world. Green reminds us of nature and the reliability of the spring to come. 

Try something new. 

I was extremely grateful that I received art supplies for Christmas, and I’ve spent quite a few hours in a zen-like state practicing modern calligraphy (Crayola Supertips work great, and there are even free tutorials). Just like doodling your dream date’s name on your notebook cover, but prettier!  

I also rediscovered Shrinky Dinks (yes, they still exist!) with my children, and realized how easy it was to make fun earrings and charms! If you can trace, have an oven, and own colored pencils, you can do this. 

Even if it’s as simple as coloring, time engaging your creative side is incredibly important, and can be truly restorative. 

Clear out. 

Folks like The MinimalistsCourtney Carver, and Joshua Becker have been extolling the virtues of reducing our “stuff” for years, and I can attest to the success of following that philosophy. The process of learning to let go, and then doing so, can do wonders for your peace of mind. It also reduces time spent rage cleaning! As I tell my family: Less stuff=more time, more time = more fun.  Go through your closet, your drawers, and that corner in the basement storage that is nagging at your brain. Get rid of the kids’ toddler toys- they are in middle school now. If you need inspiration, Becker’s bookThe More of Less, is a quick and motivating read to get you started. Or, find a friend and play the Minimalist Game! To help you avoid accumulating more stuff, I recommend my final tip… 

Window Shopping “Retail Therapy” 

This type of retail therapy makes use of online apps like LetGo.com and OfferUp, sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, and your local second hand store. Browse the online apps, and then act as your friends’ personal shopper by posting unusual and one-of-a-kind finds. Creepy dolls, toys from the 70’s, pet couture- all these things are out there, you just need to find it (and then- don’t buy it!). I was able to find a solid gold grill that my friends were thrilled to see! My friend Molly does secondhand store retail therapy, where she wanders the aisles looking for random treasures, which she then shares with her Facebook friends. All of this is free, and the commiserative laughter is a good way to up those endorphins.  

I hope you have found something in this post that you can use as a sanity-saver during tough times of the year. Take good care!

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