Burnout Explained: How to Prevent & Reverse its Negative Effects
Burnout Explained: How to Prevent & Reverse its Negative Effects
Let’s talk about BURNOUT!! We can explain burnout as a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. We begin to feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, helpless, and even resentful. The negative effects of burnout often spill over into every aspect of our lives, including our home, work, and relationships.
With the COVID-19 pandemic nearing the end of its second year, I think it is safe to say, “who hasn’t felt this way?” Let’s be honest though, with many of us facing such a shake up of our normal routines, finding the motivation to get in the flow again and adjust to this “new normal” can feel downright exhausting. So how do we get back up? And the deeper question, how do we catch ourselves before we fall in the first place? Let’s start from the beginning.
As a naturopathic doctor, my focus is on identifying underlying root causes and natural ways to bring the body back to equilibrium. If you’re in the early stages of feeling “burnt out,” the best thing you can do is bring awareness to it. Being in touch with how you are feeling both physically and emotionally can help you catch yourself before you fall in the first place.
Early Signs of Burnout:
- A sense of not feeling fulfilled or appreciated in life or at work
- Chronic exhaustion
- Struggling to focus
- Not feeling motivated, procrastination
- Detachment or isolation
- Increased irritability
- Using food, drugs or alcohol to cope
- Change in appetite or sleep habits
- Frequent headaches or muscle pain
- An overall feeling of blah (languishing) and pushing through
If it feels like you’re on a hamster wheel- doing so much and spinning faster- however not actually getting anywhere, this is the best time to take a step back, evaluate, and notice you might be burning out.
How to Prevent Burnout
Now let’s talk about what is going on inside the body when you experience burnout. Explained chemically, your adrenal glands are losing steam. They have run their course in their ability to make adrenaline and cortisol, both of which help keep you running during times of stress. The adrenal glands, which sit on top of your kidneys, are unable to support you at this point and need a bit of a break. If you get to this point, there is a solution, but before we get to that, here are some simple ways to prevent burnout from happening in the first place.
- Evaluate what is going on:
- Are you overworked? Do you have tasks you would prefer to not do? Is your job helping you grow the skills you want to learn? Are you just “doing” without keeping your goal in mind? Find out what’s really getting to you. Identify what is making you feel overwhelmed. Write it down, talk it out, pinpoint specifics and break it down into bite sized chunks. Sometimes it’s as simple as putting a name to it to find a solution and way around / through it.
- Do something you enjoy!
- It’s as simple as this, do something fun once a week!! It allows your mind to take a break from the day to day and stimulates different parts of your brain that produce chemicals that make you feel good. When you create the time and space to engage in something you enjoy once a week, your brain gets a much needed break and something to look forward to.
- Get sleep:
- Take NAPS. I like to say “naps save lives”. When you are finding yourself in a state of burnout, don’t drink more coffee in the afternoon. Take a nap instead. A 15-20 minute power nap to rest your mind and your eyes from staring at the computer screen all day is very effective. When you overdo coffee or caffeine you can burn out your adrenal glands, and that’s a whole other issue.
- Get organized:
- Organize your environment. Take 15-20 minutes a day to tidy up just one area of your space. Organize your bathroom cabinets. Organize your daily routine. Organize your computer. Fold that pile of laundry that’s been sitting there since last week. Organization allows for your mind to have room to breathe and de-stress.
If you’re able to catch it soon enough, these easy tips will help your body and brain reset so you can wake up and feel good about where you are with yourself regardless of the challenges in your day to day. Your performance will also improve when you make space and time to recharge, renew, and experience yourself again.
How to Fix Burnout
But what if you’re already past the beginning stages and feeling like there’s no way to recover? Sometimes your body needs a little extra help in the form of adrenal support. Adrenal support can be an incredibly important tool to get you out of burnout and even prevent the drop in efficiency when entering burnout. I usually recommend either two types of supplement support- herbal and/or glandular support:
- Herbal support – includes adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha, rhodiola, maca, panax ginseng, licorice, avena sativa, and other herbs. Including these in your diet and supplements helps your body to get back to baseline levels.
- Glandular adrenal support – helps give your adrenal glands a break from needing to do the work. I only recommend this option for a short period of time to get you over the hump, but they work so well especially if you have entered the 4 cups of coffee a day stage to stay awake. You can couple the herbs and glandular supplements for extra burnout support. There are a few supplements that have made amazing formulas to address this. I have found it to prevent the quick drop in wellbeing when your body starts to go on strike when you get stressed.
- LIVV Recovery and Immune IV- These two IV formulas contain amino acids, vitamin C, magnesium and more to help boost your immune system and get you feeling better when your body needs a little extra support. Taking these supplements intravenously is incredibly beneficial, as they boast a 100% absorption rate when introduced directly into the bloodstream, making you feel better, faster!
- LIVV Energy, Sleep, and Revive bags are also great options!
Addressing burnout is a form of self-care, so many people have the hardest time figuring out how to pull themselves out. But try a few of these simple tricks, even just one new technique a week, and build your own ritual to prevent burnout and remove it from your vocabulary for good. If you really want to optimize your health, make an appointment to come see us at LIVV Wellness Lounge for a naturopathic medical consultation and we can assist you in getting the right supplements!
*Note: Always consult a doctor before introducing new supplements to your body. If you’re in the San Diego area and have questions, come by LIVV and our medical staff will be happy to schedule a consultation.
Written by Dr. Alison Gordon, ND