March 18, 2024

The line between stress and burnout is a blurred one. It’s often difficult to see where one begins and the other ends. Think of burnout as the older, meaner, big brother to stress. I think it’s important to acknowledge that stress is a part of us, but when is it too much for us to handle or cope with? That’s when stress can lead to burnout, exhaustion, and depression. In this day and age, stress surrounds us from all angles. Family, work, finances, physical health, parenting, etc. It’s all too often that I have conversations with clients about their stress levels. It’s only natural when we are discussing how to have better performance in the gym, better sleep, and how to continue showing up for yourself with good energy.

A common question I ask my clients, how do you cope with stress? Typically, I get this wide eyed face and complete silence. Most of them have never been asked that question before or even thought about if they have intentional ways of dealing with their stress. Not everyone experiences burnout the same way and it can vary from person to person. A lot of this process is about knowing yourself and understanding the signs and symptoms of when you are going down the path of burnout. It’s never about completely removing stress, it’s learning how to cohabitate with it. Welcome it. Acknowledge it. Move through it. It’s usually you’re body telling you that it needs more attention or we need to reevaluate something in our lives that’s not aiding or supporting our mental and emotional health.Stress lives in the body and has ways of telling you it needs to be released. Stress is not a bad thing. I know easier said than done, but that’s the thing. It’s something that takes awareness and practice just like anything else in health and wellness. Those who intentionally integrate daily practices to prevent stress, I can tell you sleep better, eat better, move better, and are much more resilient when it comes to most things.

Trust me, I’ve burnt myself out many times over the years, especially as a business owner and entrepreneur. Each time has been a big learning lesson. How did I get here? Why am I in this space? What do I need to do moving forward for this to happen less? When you reach the point of burnout, it is not inspiring and the more you push, the worse it is. For me, I know it’s because I am not filling up my cup enough to sustain the hours and work that I’m taking on. Or I have lost track of some daily habits that keeps my stress levels down and it’s starting to build up. I talk about this because it’s all too often that people tend to take on more, but without realizing that to take on more, you have to give more to yourself. It’s a give and take relationship. We have to manage expectations when it comes to expect more, but giving it less. This can also be seen as putting more stress on the body and not recovering properly; mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Now, after all that. How can we manage stress, avoid burnout, and stay inspired?

  1. Body scan. This is a personal favorite of mine. Lay down and scan the body from your toes to your head. Acknowledging how your body feels and where. Does it feel tight, tense, mobile, heavy, etc.
  2. Hobbies. I feel like this is something that’s lost for most. Simply put, this is something we enjoy doing. Hobbies that require senses and working with your hands can be extremely therapeutic. Cooking, puzzles, photography, painting, pottery, writing, etc.
  3. Breathing. Box breathing is great to do throughout the day and/or when we notice one of those stress symptoms presenting themselves. It’s a great coping mechanism for stress. It brings us back to the present moment and helps slow us down.
  4. Walking. Taking walks throughout the day gets us away from distractions and out in the sun. A small walk goes a long way.
  5. Change your environment (and maybe the people in it)
  6. Hydrating!
  7. Be in nature.
  8. Weekend getaway.
  9. Lighting incense.
  10. Box breathing (4-4-4)
  11. Having a wind-down down routine.
  12. Playing with your pets.
  13. Limit screen time.
  14. Massage 1x month.
  15. Taking a bath.
  16. Therapy.
  17. Eating lots of vegetables and nourishing food.
  18. Saying no to things, having boundaries.
  19. Revisiting goals. Make sure your goals are exciting to you and you look forward to achieving them.

Safe to say the options are endless. They are also very simple. It’s about figuring out what works for you and doing it regularly to prevent burnout and stay inspired.

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