We work hard and play hard, day in and day out, only to find we wake on a daily basis without motivation. We are fatigued and anxious. But how do we avoid burnout?
Studies are finding that burnout is its own animal. Its atypical effects on the body don’t match depression, but rather manifests symptoms that make burnout its own beast. Some of the symptoms associated with burnout are:
- Mental exhaustion
- Trouble sleeping
- Aches and pains
- Impaired metabolism
- Slow mental processing
- Inability to concentrate
- Poor memory
If you are a busy person and have read this far in the article, then you probably have identified with having multiple symptoms of burnout at one point in your life. I know I have, and it is all too often the average American experiences burnout because of the fast pace of the society in which we live. We get caught up and don’t realize what we are doing to our bodies until its too late. There is the old saying, “we are human beings, not human doings”, which emphasizes the fact that most of us have too much on our plate.
Burnout is real, and now you know the symptoms to look for. All we need to do now is to take action. Here is my list of 5 actionable steps to avoid burnout.
1) Optimize Sleep
If you believe in the old “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” philosophy, then you’re really missing the boat. Sleep is the crucial time when your hormones balance and your body detoxifies and regenerates. I find sleep to be such an important topic that I written articles on it, recorded a podcast on it, and even wrote a book on it. When you’re busy, you need to make the time to sleep more. Sleeping more will improve your productivity through a sharp focus and high energy.
2) Morning Routine
When you are really busy and think you may be approaching burnout, its time to step your game up. I do this through morning meditation and writing in my five minute journal. Meditating allows you to calm your racing mind, giving you a sense of peace throughout the whole day. Journaling gives your day a blueprint; it lets you know what your expectations, goals, and desired outcomes will be for the remainder of the day. It puts you in control and in the driver’s seat of your life.
3) Shut Down Excessive Input
It’s estimated that your nervous system processes information 400 billions bits of information a second, and we are only aware of 2,000 of them. Imagine the rabbit trails our brains are running down every time we do a 2 minute scan of Facebook, respond to a text, then checkout Snapchat. SERIOUSLY…. No wonder we get brain fog. Our brains are consistently on overload.
When I was in my doctorate program studying for boards, my time was always in strict demand with a family, school and work. In order to have laser-like focus, I would literally go off the grid for the day. This allowed my brain to only process what was absolutely necessary and it worked! I use this same method today and you should too. Focus only on what is necessary.
4) Say No
Warren Buffet says “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” I have to say, I have mastered the art of saying no. My friends used to refer to me as “no man”, but it’s just that I know my limits and can’t do everything. It’s not good to pack your schedule with activity so tight that you don’t make time to care for yourself. You will eventually hit this wall called adrenal fatigue, and then have a real problem.
5) Optimize Nutrients
In order to treat or avoid burnout, you have to make sure your nutrition is on point. A stressed and fatigued body burns through nutrient stores quickly, absorbs nutrients poorly, and will leave you in a deficit. Every nutrient is crucial for proper bodily function and symptoms will begin to arise as the deficit increases. Utilizing smoothies and green drinks are powerful ways to load up on antioxidants quickly and efficiently. Daily Essential Vitamins are a must during this time as well. It’s a quick effective way to have grab and go nutrients.
If you want to treat and avoid burnout, incorporate these strategies into your life. I know they are effective because I have used them on myself, with patients and found great success. Give us your feedback! 😉