For every high there is a low, every good a bad, every action a reaction. To experience it is living, to accept it is adult, to learn and rise above is to be strong.
Life is all about ebb and flow. As we work toward our highest potential, it is important to appreciate the ups and downs within our progress.
In a society that expects you to consistently perform at your maximum capacity, there is also an avoidance of the subject of our lower states.
Which is why in this article, I am going to cover the topic of burning out; so that we as humans can work to acknowledge the reality of life and it’s fluctuating patterns.
In doing this we can learn how to find balance to prevent ourselves from burning out. We will also work toward building a society that focuses on the health of individuals, so that humans are encouraged to work through these low moments instead of being judged for them.
The inspiration behind sharing this information with you, is that I have experienced burnout throughout different times of my life, and have had to work through feelings of inadequacy when I wasn’t able to perform at the rate I was expected. I have had tendencies to put too much on my plate, and come out of it feeling fatigued, emotionally drained, and weak. I am not afraid to share this, because I know I’m not the only one who experiences burnout, and I’ve chosen to accept it as part of the human experience.
In this article, I am going to share with you what burnout is on a scientific and spiritual level. I am also going to share some tools to work through it when it comes. In future articles, I am also going to cover finding balance in your life to reduce these crashes as much as possible and have the energy you need to live out your highest potential.
What is burnout?
- The reduction of a fuel or substance to nothing through use or combustion
- Physical or mental collapse due to overwork or stress
Seen through a spiritual point of view, burnout can be viewed as a result of imbalance. When you place too much energy into the productive areas of your life without focusing on your spirituality, relaxation, and relationships, you develop a lack of harmony.
There is a yin and yang, or inseparable opposites that is recognizable in human nature. Through contrasts as large as war and peace, and as simple as happiness and grief, it is quite obvious that change is both inevitable and intertwined. So goes with your health. Even through the most positive intentions, you will experience times of negativity.
For example, if you have ever set goals for self-improvement, such as daily exercise or high career performance, and placed all your energy into those goals without maintaining the other areas of your life, you might end up feeling drained and not wanting to continue bettering yourself. You might even feel:
- Body aches
- Mood swings
- Sleep disruption
- Digestive issues
- Weight loss or gain
- Loss of body hair
This is burnout. I can reassure you that although these symptoms can be discouraging, you are capable of healing and finding balance within your life. So don’t lose hope.
From a scientific perspective, burnout is ultimately a disruption within your endocrine system. The endocrine system is a collection of glands that create hormones to regulate the immune system, metabolism, tissue function, sexual health, reproduction, emotions, and sleep patterns.
Some of the glands directly linked to burnout is the adrenal glands. They are two nickel sized organs above the kidneys, and are primarily responsible for producing cortisol.
It is suggested that when you overwork yourself, you are creating perpetual fight or flight arousal, which means you are consistently creating cortisol and begin to exhaust your adrenal glands.
Although cortisol is often seen as a negative chemical within the body, it is highly important for your body’s regulation of energy levels. If your adrenal glands start slowing the production of cortisol due to over compensation, your body starts to lose its energy. In other words, you start to experience burnout.
There is a substantial amount of scientific evidence regarding low cortisol levels and how it affects the human body, and you can even have your cortisol levels tested to see if it’s the root of your symptoms, but the term adrenal fatigue is not considered a medical term other than by the alternative health community. So I must disclaim that I am by no means a medical doctor, or verifying the validity of adrenal fatigue, and am basing this information off research and what I have learned through health coaching school.
So yes, your body can undergo physical and emotional sickness from overworking itself, but this is not recognized in the workplace, schools, or even some doctors offices.
Not all traditional doctors will ask how much energy you’ve exerted, as they are knowledgeable in the field of providing relief to symptoms instead of focusing on the underlying problem. It’s generally not accepted to call your boss or teachers and tell them that you can’t come in because you’re “burnt out” even though you’re feeling as sick as you would with the flu.
Which is why I am going to share with you some tools to overcoming adrenal fatigue, and redeveloping the energy you need to be living your best life.
4 natural tools toward overcoming burnout
- Redeveloping simple healthy habits:
When you’re constantly on the go and putting energy into everything but yourself, it can be easy to forget your most basic of needs, which can wreak havoc in your mind and body. Get back to the basics:
- Drink more water: carry a gallon around, add lemon and cucumber if necessary
- Force yourself to get at least 7 hours of sleep
- Eat whole, nutritious meals that nurture your spirit and body
- I’m sure you know which basics you need to focus on better than I could tell you
Don’t overwhelm yourself with integrating these habits, just allow your intuition to help you make the right decisions throughout the day that promote your well-being.
- Natural medicines:
The Earth has a beautiful way of providing the remedies we need to heal ourselves. There are a ton of natural solutions that I could list but these are few that I have used and how they serve to help:
I am not a doctor and do not advise you to use any of these natural medicines without medical approval.
- 5-htp: derived from the seeds of an African plant, and used as an after-party remedy, it is a metabolic intermediate in your serotonin levels, meaning it can help restore the happy chemicals in your body.
- Sensory Deprivation Tank: soaking in an enclosed tank of water that is mixed with large amounts of epsom salt and kept at 93.5 degrees will deprive you of your senses, and in turn allow your body to properly detoxify itself, while relieving your muscles, and increasing dopamine levels.
- Tea instead of coffee: coffee has been proven to create cortisol in your body(see reference at bottom of page), and when consumed too frequently, can disrupt your endocrine system and not allow your body to heal itself. You might feel an intense urge to drink coffee to get through your burnout, but try your hardest to compensate with Yerba Mate, green tea, black tea, or even guarana/ginseng teas.
- CBD oil: a chemical derived from the hemp plant, CBD is well known to help ease tension in the body, reverse/prevent inflammation, decrease anxiety, and relieve stress overall. It’s non psychoactive and completely legal. Check out my Hemp Healing page for more information about it. Westcoastcbdsupply.com is a great source for CBD products and flower, so keep an eye out for their inventory restock.
- Take a day off for self love:
If you’re a parent or working full-time, this might seem impossible. There are ways to make it happen however, it will just require some intention. Whether you need to call in for one day off, or ask a family member to watch the kiddos, this could be a vital action toward reclaiming your energy.
Remember that it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes, because in order to fully be there for others, you should have your own health under control. Here’s a few ideas of what to do on a day of self-love:
- Sleep in if you need to, or wake up early if that makes you happier
- Focus on taking care of your basic needs, as described above
- Write a list of all the areas in your life that need redirecting, then come up with ways to fit the changes in your schedule
- Read a book
- Take a bubble bath
- Get a massage, or go to a sensory deprivation tank
- Call the people you miss
- Stretch out your stress, allowing the tension to escape your body
- Buy yourself some flowers
- Make your favorite meal, or go to your favorite restaurant
I’d like to know what other things you love to do and what a day of self-love looks like to you. You can either comment below or email me at email@example.com
Check out my Soul page that includes 4 ways to love yourself on a deeper level. Practicing self-love will speed up the healing process and reintegrate balance in your life.
- Redirect your focus:
Something I’ve recently learned in health coaching school is the power of time management, as well as our relationship with time. It is important to recognize that time is our friend, not our enemy.
Telling yourself that you don’t have enough time in the day is simply lying to yourself. You always have enough time, it’s just a matter of redirecting your priorities. So yes, you do have enough time to meditate. It might just mean utilizing 10 minutes out of your day to sit and quiet your mind instead of watching Netflix or binge eating your favorite comfort food.
I encourage you to reflect on how you manage your time, and how it affects your stress levels. Buy a calendar, or daily planner to map out how much time you spend on each task. Reevaluate how you can incorporate more focus onto the areas of your life that need attention.
By defining what you need to do to find balance, you will experience less stress, and more clarity, which will in turn help to heal your body and create the change you want to see.
So there you have it friends; a lengthy but necessary excerpt regarding the reality of burnout and how to handle it.
While all of these tools are listed to help you heal and feel better, it is important to go about healing in a non-dualistic mindset. This means that instead of putting yourself down and labeling your energy levels as “good” or “bad”, rather embrace how you feel and accept it for what it is. Remember that the “highs and lows” are beautifully and inexplicably intertwined, and there not one without the other.
Good luck on your healing journey and I hope to hear feedback regarding your progress, your experience with burnout, and how you’re seeking balance in your life. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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