Recently, I had Dr. Amy Shah on my podcast to address all things associated with burnout and how you can counteract it!
So, what really is burnout?
Burnout is characterized not only by fatigue but also lost of interest in job, changes in mood, & feeling stressed & anxious. During the last year, burnout has gone up 33%.
Burnout is something we don’t talk about a lot, because the idea of being tired and fatigued has become normal in our society.
What is the difference between burnout and stress?
Stress is a short term thing and we are able to recover. Burnout is for a longer period of time. The sunday blues are every single weekend. It is the feeling of not being motivated to do the things that you need to get done. Burnout makes employees feel fatigued and lose interest in their jobs.
I relate to this a lot. A couple months ago, I took on a bit more than I could chew. As a result, my health took a downward turn. My body wasn’t able to go to sleep anymore. I would go to bed so exhausted every night, but I could not go to sleep. It was truly one of the most scary times in my life.
You may feel like you relate to this, and you may be wondering what are some early signs of burnout:
- Inflamed from stress.
- Mood changes – irritable.
- Exacerbated by caffeine.
- “Wired and Tired”. Your cortisol is constantly high which means your body is a constant state of fight or flight mode.
Our brains are wired to think cortisol as a survival mode. You do not sleep because you are worried about survival. When we are in survival mode, our digestion system shuts down, directly affecting our gut health and immune system. In addition, we can’t make complex decisions, because our body is in a mode of emergency.
What can athletes do who are under this amount of stress?
- Start with fixing sleep.
- Taking a couple of rest days or a week.
- Recovery must be as emphasized bc of the hormetic stress being so high. Daily recovery. Focus on recovery.
- Go from 6 days to three days and add in recovery workouts – nature or hike.
- Work on MENTAL & PHYSICAL recovery.
What are some recommendations to get out of the early stages of burnout?
- 1 minute, twice a day of daylight – daylight in morning can help sleep at night.
- Direct daylight goes directly into the brain. Daylight has a great effect on skin and gut health.
- Circadian rhythm talks to brain and every cell. Every cell has a circadian clock.
- Daylight has a great effect on skin and gut health.
- Slow deep breathing – stimulating vagus nerve counteracts the stress in life.
- Hum, pray, or meditate.
Once you accomplish these small adjustments, focus on adding on sleeping earlier, turn off blue lights, and start to focus on nutrition. Start creating a mini routine in the day – mini breaks during the day so that you are never caught in intense burnout or stress
Focus on being present in the moment. When you get lost in the stress of life, what brings you back to that present moment? If you are not at peace or happy with yourself, nothing else really counts. Know that you are not alone if you are feeling this way!
If this sounds like something you are going through, we can help you. As we take a holistic approach to healing our clients, we focus on not only nutrition, but the emotional and lifestyle stressors that could be affecting your health.
Have a great week,
Rachel Scheer is a Certified Nutritionist who received her degree from Baylor University in Nutrition Science and Dietetics. Rachel has her own private nutrition and counseling practice located in McKinney, Texas. Rachel has helped clients with a wide range of nutritional needs enhance their athletic performance, improve their physical and mental health, and make positive lifelong eating and exercise behavior changes.