Burnout is a huge problem in our modern society.
In our daily lives, burnout is a constant and real threat. In terms of fitness and working out, burnout happens when you work out too hard, for too long, without taking any breaks for recovery.
Burnout can happen in any area of our life, however. In fact, burnout was finally officially recognized by the World Health Organization this year, in 2019.
Mental health is ultimately the most important kind of health, because it affects every other aspect of our lives. Burnout happens when we take on too much, aren’t listening to our bodies, and just keep going until we absolutely fall apart. Whether we are talking about fitness, our careers, or even parenting, burnout is a very real threat to our daily lives.
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In this day and age, burnout is almost expected. We are expected to work as hard as we can, for as long as we can, without stopping or practicing self love.
This is a fallacy created before we were born. I can tell you as an orthopaedic surgeon and a mom, that burnout is not positive in any way. It can lead to overwhelming stress, as well as affect your self esteem and level of confidence. Actually burning out can cause depression, anxiety, and self-doubt.
So the moral of the story is we need to avoid burnout. Here are a few tips and tricks to help:
Pay attention to your health. If we’re talking about fitness, pay attention to your limits, and make sure to take recovery periods between hard workouts. If we’re talking about your mind, pay attention to your stress level. Are you waking up every morning with a rotating laundry list in your head of all the things you have to do? Are you going to bed dreading your to-do list for the following morning? If so, you are on the road to burnout. If there is no end in sight, you need to take action.
Practice small indulgences. If you feel like you are on the road to burnout, take the time to give yourself small rewards. This means doing small things that make you happy, or bring you peace. In terms of parenting, it might involve making time for a yoga class during the week (leaving the kids with a husband, friend, or rotating mommy babysitter gang). If we’re talking about work, take the time to meditate on your lunch break, or just walk through the park. In any instance, letting yourself enjoy something in the midst of something much bigger and stressful will help avoid the inevitable burnout.
Know when to stop. One of the problems with our society is we are expected to be, and do, everything. There are limits though, and we have all reached them from time to time. If you feel completely overwhelmed by something, the best thing you can do is stop completely, and reassess. I don’t just mean stop what you’re doing, I mean stop thinking about it too. Do whatever you have to do, to take a mental break from whatever is causing you stress. If you can, I encourage you to take an entire day for this. Resetting your mind mentally will help you return to the problem with a fresh outlook. And since perspective is everything, taking an actual break might change your perspective on whether or not you are actually headed for a burnout.
I can’t stress enough that burning out is not something to be proud of. Practicing self love, knowing your limits, and taking time to assess and support your own mental health are much more likely to bring you happiness, success, and most of all, health.