Last night I was chatting to one of the dad’s at my son’s soccer training. He and his partner run their own business and he was telling us that in the past year they’d had to work until around 1am most nights and even pulled a couple of all-nighters in a bid to meet all the deadlines… I must admit, I used to stay up late or get up early (and I mean early – it wouldn’t be unusual for me to rise at 4am and sneak furtively down to the office). Once I turned forty something changed – either I became a tad more sensible and realised I actually needed my sleep or I appreciated just how damaging burn-out can be.
You simply can’t sustain those kinds of hours – and even without the late night and early-morning sessions it is still easy to burn out in our deadline-drive world…
So I’ve come up with a solution to those of you who find it hard to simply close off the computer and take time out. Get a Self-Treat Jar (think of it like a pyschological lolly jar). Write down around twenty or more easy-to-do treats that are inexpensive – I’ve got a list below, but have some fun and think up your own too. Everytime you think of something – add it in!
Then every day (if you can manage) or at least every week close your eyes and take a pick. You can have kids’ treat jars and one couple I interviewed had a “date jar” for when they needed a little inspiration…
And as for that dad – well he and his partner realised they were heading for burn-out and so they decided to give themselves Friday mornings off – it’s written in their diary and they just take that time out to go for a paddle on the water or a walk on the beach. I’d love to hear what kind of things you choose to have in your treat jar – please let me know!
Ideas for your TREAT JAR
Watch your favourite kids or old comedy show on You Tube
Smile at everyone you meet for the rest of the day!
Find a mandala image (check out the Internet as there are lots!) and spend an hour colouring one in
Run a bubble bath. Scatter a few petals in the water, light candles and play soft music…
Go to the library or buy a book and spend an hour tucked under a blanket reading
Rent out a DVD or spend an hour or so watching your favourite movie
Phone a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while and have a long chat
Buy yourself a bunch of flowers
Make a vision board (a collection of pictures from a magazine or printed out images that you love)
Draw a picture of how you feel – use as many colours as possible! Remember it doesn’t have to be a work of art!
Soak your feet in a bowl of hot water and then give yourself a foot massage (or get someone to do it for you!).
Give yourself $20 to spend on something just for YOU
Write someone you care about and haven’t seen for a long time a message
Pick out a recipe from a favourite cook book and make it
Go for a walk in nature, find a leaf and then return home and sketch it!
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