Self-Care Rituals to Add to Your Routine

Self-Care Rituals to Add to Your Routine

Australians face alarmingly high rates of burnout from life, work, family and social demands.

Self-care, prioritising yourself and focusing on your needs helps maintain equilibrium and calm in your life.

The key to self-care is keeping it simple, with strategies that work around your lifestyle.

A bit about burnout

The Workplace Burnout Study, released in early 2022, found burnout rates rose to 34.7% in 2021, jumping more than 5% from the year prior.

The study was wide-ranging and detailed, looking at the impact that two chaotic years have had on burnout in workplaces worldwide.

Further, the Black Dog Institute and UNSW researchers found “burnout is not limited to those exposed to work-related stressors, which suggests burnout may be ‘context free’”.

The researchers call burnout a “syndrome”, a highly individual and nuanced mixture of 12 broad symptoms like sleep disturbance and anxiety.

That suggests self-care for managing burnout is also highly individual and nuanced.

Self-care is individual

While mental health is increasingly in the spotlight, it’s often down to the individual to take the first steps towards sustainable self-care routines.

What does burnout from life look like?

The Workplace Burnout Study illustrates burnout in three dimensions.


Mental distance

Reduced efficacy

Low energy


Poor work performance

Trouble sleeping

Increased stress

Trouble completing chores

Feeling down


Negativity about daily tasks

Gastrointestinal problems

Emotional distance

Trouble concentrating

Depleted energy levels

Feeling “numb”

Lacking creativity


  • Low energy
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling down
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Depleted energy levels

Mental distance

  • Cynicism
  • Increased stress
  • Frustration
  • Emotional distance
  • Feeling “numb”

Reduced efficacy

  • Poor work performance
  • Trouble completing chores
  • Negativity about daily tasks
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Lacking creativity

The symptoms of burnout, and the self-care strategies to manage them, are diverse and unique to the individual.

What can help you manage stress and exhaustion will differ from your friend, colleague, neighbour and partner.

Burnout from life is common

A different survey found 77% of Australian workers suffered burnout in 2020, six per cent above the global average.

The two figures – 34.7% and 77% – might seem to tell conflicting stories, but they are actually two chapters in the same broader story.

Burnout is a complex issue that we are only just beginning to explore. However, what is already clear is the effect burnout has on all areas of life.

Self-care is nuanced

Although the Black Dog Institute says there may be cardinal symptoms common among people suffering from burnout, how those symptoms manifest is highly individual.

For example, one person might become short-tempered, whereas another retreats into themselves.

Self-care is similarly nuanced.

Good mental health is a personalised concoction of physical health, work-life balance, downtime, socialising, achieving goals and letting yourself off the hook.

Remember, there is no “should” or “must” in self-care. When you are already feeling overwhelmed, those words only add to the pile.

How you can work self-care into your life when burnout is looming

These self-care strategies are broad and malleable. We encourage you to mix, match, and adapt the ideas to suit your lifestyle.

Declutter your space (and your mind)

Minimalism is a core tenet of Zen philosophyHere at OLARA, we support any strategy that promotes calmness and relaxation.

Organising your home, kitchen, bedroom, or office can help you regain control of the chaos.

Starting in your bedroom, look for ways to remove unnecessary objects and belongings. Approaches to this vary from a minimalist bedroom makeover or smaller steps like decluttering your bookshelf or organising your pantry.

Reach out to your community

Maintaining friendships and connections to a community is vital for our well-being.

Reaching out to friends and family when you’re exhausted and listless can be challenging, but cultivating those relationships can also provide the support you need to come back from burnout.

Socialisation can be an effective form of self-care. Everyone’s social needs are different, and thanks to technology, there are endless ways to check in with our community:

  • Video calls
  • Text messages
  • Going for a walk
  • Watching a movie together
  • Reading quietly with a friend
  • Having coffee
  • Joining an exercise program
  • Visiting a friend for dinner
  • Hosting a dinner party
  • Hosting a virtual party
  • Going to the beach

If you trust the person you are reaching out to, consider sharing with them how you’re feeling.

Make good-quality sleep a priority

Good-quality sleep is a cornerstone of self-care.

Sleeping seven to nine hours a night has a long list of benefits, from higher daytime alertness to lower obesity risk, boosting your mood and even improving memory.

Prioritising sleep means prioritising yourself. Developing good sleep hygiene habits like sticking to a consistent sleep routine, winding down at night, and creating a sleep-inducing bedroom environment has wide-ranging physical and mental health benefits.

Establish a calming night-time routine

Stress and anxiety are common culprits for people who have trouble falling asleep. And it can often be a compounding problem.

Spending 30-60 relaxing in a sleep-inducing environment can wind the RPM down, helping to fall asleep faster and stay asleep all night.

Activities like meditation, reading, aromatherapy for sleep, gentle yoga or listening to calming music are all helpful to calm an anxious mind for sleep.

Keeping phones, laptops and other distractions out of the bedroom is also important for winding down and drifting off.

Set achievable goals

Self-care is not always about pampering yourself.

Motivating yourself by setting daily goals generates the momentum and a feeling of accomplishment

The sense of achievement from reaching the goals is its own reward.

The key to staying motivated is setting goals that are:

  • Achievable

If you are struggle to find motivation at work, set a goal to work uninterrupted for 30 minutes. When that becomes too easy, increase to 60 minutes.

Falling short of ambitious goals can be demotivating in the long run, so the approach of starting with smaller achievable short-term goals may be beneficial.

  • Visible

There are few things more satisfying than ticking off a to-do list. Try writing your goals down or setting targets you can see.

For example, reading 10 pages of your book before falling asleep are both visible goals.

  • Time-bound

The longer you give yourself to achieve big goals, the more arduous the journey can seem. Try shrinking your goals to what you can achieve today.

If you want to develop healthier sleep habits, consider setting a goal of going to bed on time tonight. Over time, those small, manageable goals build into a bigger picture. 

  • Relevant

Keep your sights set on burnout from life as your main obstacle. Set goals that specifically address the symptoms you are experiencing, such as exercising for an energy boost or socialising to overcome listlessness.

Of course, there can be other motivations to set daily goals, such as physical fitness or spending more time with family, but burnout is the main culprit.

Get regular exercise

Two of the most common burnout symptoms are listlessness and exhaustion. The thought of exercise when you are suffering from burnout can be overwhelming.

But the benefits of regular exercise extend far beyond physical health to mental well-being, higher energy levels and a sense of self-satisfaction.

Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five times per week. Although there are no hard and fast rules for self-care strategies to manage burnout, regular exercise is essential for holistic health.

Schedule time to rest

Sometimes the best way to say “yes” to yourself is by saying “no” to others. Book time with yourself and honour the appointment.

Whether you “self-date” by going to see a movie alone or spend the time curled up with a good book, what matters is committing to yourself.

Allow yourself time to rest, reflect, decompress and disengage.

Plan something to look forward to

Burnout from life can often bring about listlessness, even hopelessness. Planning an activity with friends or family, even weeks or months in the future can slowly chip away at those feelings, giving you something to look forward to.

The activity does not need to be extravagant. Simply booking a table for brunch at your favourite café or organising a weekend hike is a significant step towards a more positive outlook.

How do you manage burnout from life?

We would love to hear your self-care strategies for managing burnout, stress and exhaustion.

Join our social media community to share your thoughts with like-minded people. Your tips could help a stranger manage their own hardships and find a way to keep their candle burning at a sustainable pace.

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