Burnout Recovery – Slow Down

burnout recovery - slow down

At the time of writing this, I have been struggling with burn out and have been trying to allow myself to slow down.

Regardless of where you are in the world and your political beliefs and whatever else might be happening in your world, just some of the things we are having to deal with collectively as a society are:

  • High inflation and stagnating wages
  • A cost of living crisis
  • Covid, vaccines, and mask mandates and the controversy those seem to bring
  • Climate change
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
  • LGBTQ issues
  • Impact of Brexit – if you’re in the UK
  • Roe vs Wade if you’re in the US
  • Gun violence – in the US, and recently also in Norway and Denmark
  • Monkeypox

All of these things can take up energy and bandwidth.

And that is on top of the normal day-to-day stress of life.

So we’re all dealing with a lot at the minute, and our brains and mental energy are getting pulled in a lot of different directions.

It’s a lot for any of us to deal with.

And it will feel us feeling burned out.

If you’re working on burnout recovery, slow down. It is one of the best things you can do.

Why I’m Feeling Burned Out

What I need to point out is that my life is in a good position overall, and I am in a very, very, very privileged position. I can still afford to put money aside in savings, and I haven’t been affected by any of the issues I mentioned above, anywhere nearly as directly as a lot of other people.

But despite that, as I mentioned, I have been feeling on edge, burned out, and generally low for a little while now.

Things are going well for me on the face of it – and for that, I am extremely grateful.

But I am still battling some of my own internal demons. I’ll cover those in future as they are big deals to me.

And with everything else going on, it does feel like an extra weight to be carried on the shoulders. I have more to help me resist that weight, but it is still there.

And for all I know, I might be the one directly and massively impacted by whatever on earth happens next in this weird and difficult world we’re currently living in.

But with the way things have been, I have been prone to low moods, depressive periods, poor sleep, poor nutrition, general lack of self-care and probably acting more to my own detriment than benefit.

The post you are reading right now is a good example of that.

This should have been done 2 weeks ago. And it should have been a completely different topic.

But I didn’t have the mental energy, motivation or resilience to do the research or to put the work in. So I ended up changing the topic and that is why you are getting this scattered and kind of nonsensical collection of rambling, rather than a cohesive, structured blog post.

But I figured what I am feeling, is probably being felt by a lot of people so this pivot is worthwhile. Here’s what I am doing.

Your Own Situation

Please bear in mind that I don’t know anyone else’s situation. And I am sure there are a lot of people who have a lot more to deal with and are affected much more drastically than I am by the general state of everything.

And in a lot of these cases, a few self-care snippets from a blog post are going to be entirely worthless and helping. And I am aware of that.

But maybe something here might help you find some calm, some reassurance, some clarity, to help you deal with whatever you’re dealing with.

Self Validation

The first thing you need to do is a bit of self-validation.

Take a moment to step back from your situation, and try to understand what you’re feeling. And whatever it is you’re feeling, it is valid.

It’s not anyone else’s place to tell you can or can’t, or should or shouldn’t feel a certain way about a certain situation.

You might need to do some work to process why you’re feeling a certain way, but it’s still important to acknowledge and understand what you’re feeling first.

Why You’re Feeling It

Helping you unpack why you’re feeling a certain way is way beyond my skills or qualifications but understanding why you’re feeling what you’re feeling will help you work towards a solution or at least make progress on dealing with what you’re dealing with.

In my case – and again, I am speaking from a position of a huge amount of privilege – I had been saving up for a mortgage for a while. And with the cost of living increases, inflation, and house price rises, it feels like those goalposts keep moving.

Putting money aside for anything in the current economic climate is something that very few people have the luxury of doing as I do, and I do know that.

For me, the longer that goes on though, I am feeling like I am underachieving or failing. And it is a constant, heavy, troubling weight that I am carrying.

So my heart sinks a little bit, and I feel like I am constantly being pushed back down by things that are out of my control. And stressing and worrying about those just wears me down more and more.

Reframe Your Thinking

Something I dialled into during Covid was stoicism. During this time, between this scary new virus and lockdowns – there was a lot to be worried about and a lot we didn’t have control over.

Stoicism has a principle called Amor Fati, or love of fate. And the core concept is that when life presents you with a challenge or a difficulty, you try to embrace it. You work through that hardship and build strength.

I’m sure it’s not the most reassuring thing for people that are struggling to make ends meet, but I do hope one day you will be able to look back on what you’re going through and realise you got through and you’re stronger for having got through it.

Amor Fati means looking forward to the strength you’ll build from having got through it.

We can’t change things that are out of our control. So we have to adapt we work around them or we push through those obstacles and we get tougher because of it.

I don’t know what is going on in your life and what things you’re dealing with that are out of your control.

But if it is out of your control, then worrying about the thing itself is probably not the best use of your mental bandwidth, and throwing your energy into solutions or how you’re going to get through it might be a better reframe.

And if it is something that is in your control, then you want to maintain that energy to keep it in your control and get the outcome you want. Stressing or worrying is natural but they won’t help here.

Change Your Plans

To help, for lack of a better word, “take the edge off” what you’re feeling so it doesn’t feel like a constant pounding weight on your brain, one of the first things I do is look at everything I need to do or everything I am expected to do and change my plans and adapt accordingly.

Trying to work through being stressed or burned out is probably not a great move. Sometimes we need to, but a lot of the time, as humans with finite energy and mental bandwidth, it might only make us feel worse.

So maybe you need to recognise when you’re burning out and allow yourself a break or a chance to change your plans.

That is what I did on this blog. You’re not getting the post I wanted to write because I don’t have the mental capacity right now to tackle the topic I wanted to cover.

I also did that with Youtube. I have taken a break from posting on the Fitness Drifter Youtube channel because it is a whole extra context and a whole load of more processes that my brain and stress levels just aren’t capable of handling right now.

I have the content planned, but I will come back to it when I feel mentally ready.

And you know what – sometimes it’s okay to lower your expectations and show yourself some kindness.

Self Care

There are also some general self-care habits you can practice to help you feel more mentally recharged to take on whatever is weighing you down. These won’t be some miracle cure-all that will take all your problems away, but they can help you get ready to take on whatever you’re dealing with:

  • Hydration – Your body is 70% water and your brain is mostly water, so staying hydrated helps keep your brain and body functioning
  • Clean-ish nutrition – A good balanced diet with all the key vitamins and minerals your body needs and the occasional treat or indulgence when you can
  • Good sleep hygiene so you get the right sleep quantity and quality
  • A morning routine to set up your day
  • An evening routine to help you get to bed
  • Some structure to your day
  • Taking breaks when you need it
  • Allowing yourself some downtime
  • Allowing yourself some selfish time – I like to go to the cinema on my own
  • Meditation – I do active meditation, so I meditate when I am walking
  • Exercise – Look after and strengthen your body and it will help you look after yourself. I can’t overstate how important this was for me

On The Road To Burnout Recovery

All of these are some pretty generic tips to try and help you handle whatever you’re going through that little bit better.

And I’m sorry that this post is scattered, and unstructured, and unclear. And I don’t really know if I even have a clear concise point I am trying to make.

It’s just that I was feeling low, and burnt out, and I figured a lot of people probably are.

And it’s ok to feel like that and to allow yourself to feel like that.

So don’t feel embarrassed if you do. Don’t feel embarrassed if you’re finding things difficult. And don’t be embarrassed to ask for help.

And if you do want to talk to anyone who will listen with empathy and without judgement, I am just a message away.

burnout recovery - slow down

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