Whether you’re burnt out or just heading in that direction, taking care of your physical health is a key part of developing resilience. You can’t cope with the stresses of daily life if you are physically unwell, so it’s vital to take stock from time to time and ensure you are looking after your body.
The following questions are from the Wellculator framework, which I use to help busy people manage their physical well-being.
Answer YES or NO to each question:
- I eat regular meals, including breakfast, on most days (five days a week).
- I eat at least five portions or more of vegetables and/or fruit on most days (one portion = one fistful).
- My starch portions are no more than a fistful at most meals.
- I choose higher fibre starches such as whole grain products, rolled oats, corn, wild rice, barley, seed bread, dry beans, lentils or chickpeas most of the time.
- I limit fast foods and processed foods such as pizza, burgers, fries, pies, fried chicken to no more than once a week.
- I eat healthier plant-based fats such as nuts, seeds, olives, peanut butter or avocado on most days.
- I eat fatty fish such as pilchards, sardines or salmon at least three times per week or take a good omega-3 supplement.
- I use salt sparingly and minimise my intake of high salt foods such as processed meats, stock, biltong and crisps.
- I minimise my intake of sweets, chocolate, biscuits, ice cream and/or sugary drinks to occasional treats.
- I limit my alcohol intake to fewer than two drinks a day.
- I exercise for 20-30 minutes on four or more days a week.
- When sitting for long periods, I ensure that I take a break at least every hour to stand up and stretch or walk.
- I am a non-smoker.
- I drink about two litres or eight glasses of water per day (excluding coffee and tea unless herbal tea).
- I get enough sleep to wake up feeling rested on most days.
- I set aside moments for mindfulness at least once a day e.g., quiet time, meditation, nature walks, prayer, journal reflection.
If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, consider seeing a health practitioner such as a dietician or lifestyle coach, who can help you develop a personal wellbeing regime, and get those basic building blocks in place.
NOTE: If you feel unaccountably fatigued, make an appointment to see your doctor. Fatigue is a symptom of many illnesses, so don’t just assume it’s burnout. Also try to describe your symptoms in detail to help your doctor narrow down the possible causes.