If there's something we could all use right about now, it's burnout tips. Burnout, a state of continuous emotional, physical and mental exhaustion sparked by stress, has taken down the best of us, especially these last few years.
But just because burnout can feel like forever doesn't mean that it will be, because there is a treatment for burnout: to chill out.
Yes, despite the name, chilling out through self-care is not selfish, says holistic health expert and clinical psychologist Angela D. Coleman. "It's literally part of self-love and self-preservation." Whether you're thinking about stocking up on the best bubble bath products or downloading the best meditation apps, it's now more important than ever to keep yourself functioning in a way that works best for you.
"[To chill out is to maximize your success and your self-actualization, and so often we're taught to ignore one or the other or think that we are only one dimension," Coleman tells My Imperfect Life.
In her forthcoming book, The Art of Chilling Out for Women: 100+ Ways to Replace Worry and Stress with Spiritual Healing, Self-Care, and Self-Love, Angela provides useful burnout tips to help us prioritize our mind, body and spirit. Here's what she has to say to My Imperfect Life about the art form we cannot ignore:
Angela D. Coleman is a holistic health expert who founded the global nonprofit Sisterhood Agenda in 1994, followed by the for-profit business, Sisterhood Agenda Enterprises, LLC. Additionally, she received a degree in psychology from Princeton University, later studied clinical psychology at Howard University, and holds a degree in nonprofit management from Duke University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
The Art of Chilling Out for Women: 100+ Ways to Replace Worry and Stress with Spiritual Healing, Self-Care, and Self-Love by Angela D. Coleman
How to fight burnout: tips straight from an expert
Q: Why do you think so many women are feeling burnout and anxious, particularly now?
Angela D. Coleman: Well, I think the pandemic has called all of us to look and question what we're doing with our time, what we're doing with our lives and our priorities and our purpose. And I think the expectation that we're going to "go back to normal" is kind of a setup. There's a new normal, and people are realizing that it's an opportunity to really do things differently.
We're overworked, there's more work to do and fewer workers to do it, basically. So people are feeling that, but as women, we've kind of always had the first, second, and third shift mentality when it comes to us as social expectations.
A lot of us are still constantly trying to prove ourselves, and we end up not prioritizing our own needs, hence the burnout.
You talk about mind, body and spirit throughout the book. How do they connect?
Each part is equally important, and we divided the book into three main parts— body, mind and spirit—so that it's easier to comprehend. Even though we're primarily focused on the body, they work together to create a whole being. There's no separation—they're integrated. There's no one without the other.
You touch on holistic approaches to chilling out. What is your favorite approach and why?
One of the most undervalued aspects of us being the multidimensional beings that we are is our spirit. That's our divine selves and it holds the capacity to help us and lead us.
One of my favorite ways to holistically do that is one of the simplest ways and that's with affirmations. So, positive self-talk, phrased in the present, gives you an opportunity to change the internal dialogue and you elevate your inner voice in a way that I think is very profound and under-utilized.
What has been the most reassuring affirmation that has gotten you through stressful times?
One that I've been using since I was young is "I love myself today and every day" and that unconditional self-acceptance, self-esteem, and self-love can guide you through the hardest of times if you keep reminding yourself, "I'm acting out of love."
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What are body barometers and why are they so important?
So often we go through life and we respond to what's happening to us. With the chapter, "Discover Your Body Barometers," we're saying that how you respond is part of your personal history.
We're getting triggered all the time, but paying attention to what's happening with your physical self gives you cues to what's going on with the rest of you. When things feel off, that's an important cue. We're taught to ignore that, "Oh, everything's okay," but are you really paying attention to your body barometers? When you experience different physical sensations, you want to ask, "What does this tell me about what I'm doing?"
How do we prioritize self-care when we're already feeling anxious and don't know what to do first?
In each chapter of the book, I have a call to action, which is a behavioral shift that is pretty simple. It's a change in habit. Most of us do have a calendar and we keep a schedule of things that are important for us to remember; if you need to schedule it and put it in your calendar every morning, every afternoon or every night, I encourage you to do that.
It's different for everyone, but it's literally part of self-love and self-preservation. Some of us are afraid of appearing to be selfish when we prioritize our own needs. As you start to schedule it, you'll get to the point where it will become a habit because you've ingrained it into your normal routine.
You have a lot of unique approaches to combatting anxiousness. Why do you think factors like using herbs are essential to feeling less anxious?
[Herbs are] an under-utilized resource, and they're readily available to most people and don't take a whole lot of effort. They're nature's gift. There are ways to incorporate them into your daily life, like a linen spray or the power of lavender to soothe. They're these tiny little plants and they're so powerful!
Your book is geared towards women: would you say dealing with burnout and anxiety is something that women struggle with more than men?
Women do a lot. I mean, where would we be if women just said, "I'm not going to do anything else, period." The world would just collapse.
We're always concerned about the state of the world and our own situations, and many of us are high-achieving perfectionists and we're like that at work, at play and at home. What I would like us to do, is chill. You don't have to constantly prove yourself to other people.
Stress in women is so high because we're pulled in so many different directions, and we haven't learned how to integrate and we weren't taught that self-care is just as important as work. Productivity is measured in many ways.
If there's one thing you want readers to take away from your book, what is it?
You can chill out without fear: fear of missing out, fear of not being available, fear of not doing what you're "supposed" to do. In fact, chilling out is an empowering step towards loving yourself.
Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few.
When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.
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