If you are currently feeling burned out and at the end of your rope, you will be happy to know that there are several ways to recover from burnout. Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion, and it is accompanied by a range of unpleasant symptoms. One of the worst symptoms of burnout is extreme fatigue, but people often also experience digestive problems, inflammation, adrenal fatigue, and decreased immunity. It is all too common for people to get burned out. The fast pace of life leaves people with very little time to relax. Phones, computers, and other devices get your constant attention, but all of that attention can leave you very tired. For those of you who are burned out, taking the steps to recover can seem overwhelming because you are so tired, but using these ways to recover from burnout, which include diet, movement, rest, and relaxation, will help you feel better in the long run.
1. Help Digestion
Although helping your digestion may not be the first thing you think of when you think of ways to recover from burnout, taking steps to heal your digestive system will actually help. When you are very stressed your digestion can slow or shut down, making it impossible for you to absorb all of the nutrients you need. Stress can also lead to other digestive problems such as gas, cramping, constipation, and diarrhea. To help yourself recover from stress and normalize your digestion, removing certain foods can make a big difference. Sugar, caffeine, gluten, soy, alcohol, dairy, hydrogenated oils, and processed foods can all take a toll on your digestion and make you more stressed out. Sugar and caffeine are especially bad if you are burned out, although you probably feel you need both to keep you going. However, both are very stimulating to the adrenal system, and for people who are already fatigued this is not a good thing. So, slowly cut back on sugar and caffeine until you can eliminate them. It will help tremendously.
2. Pay Attention to Nutrition
When you are burned out your body needs ample nutrients to recover. You need to eat food that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to fuel your recovery. Antioxidants are especially helpful because they help fight the oxidation that can occur during times of extreme stress. Vitamin C rich foods are also great for people who are burned out. Your body uses much more vitamin C when you are stressed, so eat lots of fruits and veggies. You also want to make sure you are getting plenty of omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help mood. These can be found in flaxseeds, chia seeds, and wild salmon.
The last thing you feel like doing when you are burned out is exercise. Yet, gentle exercise can be very healing. It can produce endorphins and the mood lifting neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. I stress gentle exercise because you don’t want to leave yourself feeling depleted. Exercises that are great when you are burned out include yoga, Tai Chi, and walking. Walking in nature can be very restorative. If you live near a park, try to walk once a day for 30 minutes, but please turn the cell phone off! You want a restorative walk, not a stressful one.
Relaxing can be very difficult when you are stressed and burned out, but it is a critical aspect of recovery. There are many different ways to relax, including breathing exercises. Taking just a couple minutes a day to practice breathing exercises can help decrease your stress level. Meditation is also a wonderful way to help lower your stress levels. There are many guided meditations that you can download onto your iPod that will help you learn how to meditate. If breathing and meditation are not your things, reading an enjoyable book or listening to calming music can also really help you relax.
One of the best things you can do for yourself while you are recovering from burnout is to make sure you get plenty of sleep each night. You should aim for at least 8 hours each night. To help your body establish good sleeping patterns, go to bed the same time every night and give yourself 30 minutes to wind down before bed. Sleeping in a dark, cool room will also help you sleep better. Once you start getting enough sleep, your body can start recovering from all of the stress you have been under.
6. Have Fun
When you are burned out having fun may feel like it is the last thing on your list, but you should make time to have some fun with your friends. Going out drinking with your friends probably isn’t the best idea, but having them over for a quiet low-stress get together could put some pep in your step. Maybe you would like to have a movie night or just get together to hang out and talk. No matter what you choose, having a fun time with your friends will be really uplifting.
Once you have recovered from your burnout, you want to make sure that you avoid being burned out again. In order to prevent being burned out don’t take on too much. When you have too much going on in your life you can become very stressed out. It is quite possible that taking on too much is what got you burned out in the first place. You also want to make sure that you take time for yourself. Have a massage every so often or go on hikes on the weekends. Also, you will want to make sure you keep your sleep schedule. Sleeping is always important.
Being burned out happens to many people, but it is reversible. If you follow these steps, you can overcome your stress and exhaustion. It may seem overwhelming at first, but even if you just start with establishing a sleep schedule you will be taking a step in the right direction. What tips do you have to overcome burnout?
Source: Patton, Jill Metzler. “Back from Burnout: Learn to recognize the signs of serious depletion and how to restore your inner fire.” Experience Life. Jan/Feb 2014. Print