Does it ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day?
As if no matter how hard you try you could never possibly get everything done?
And then suddenly the day is done and you’re off to bed, totally exhausted and stressed out, only to do it all again tomorrow?
You aren’t alone! So many of us experience the exact same thing. I’ve been there!
But that path can lead us towards a full on burnout!
When you’re overwhelmed and stressed out and heading towards (or experiencing) burnout syndrome, it’s easy to feel like there’s absolutely nothing you can do to make things better.
But what if I told you that a few simple changes could make a world of a difference? And that those changes could help make you feel awesome?
Good news! I invited a pretty awesome guest to talk to us about just that. And she has some wonderful tricks up her sleeve. Let’s dive in!
Why We All Need To Know About Burnout
Burnout syndrome is more common than you probably think! And can affect any of us. You and I are both susceptible friend! So we should arm ourselves with some grade A knowledge and prevent things as best we can.
According to a study by the University of Toronto, at least 50% of us bring our work home with us. And since we are all so incredibly connected in this day and age, we also often make ourselves available… 24/7. Which is a recipe for disaster.
Basically, work-life balance is easily forgotten. And when you add in things like parenthood, housekeeping, family obligations and general to-dos, you find yourself with a one way ticket to stress-ville.
But here’s the thing… many of us have a bad habit of sucking it up and marching forward, even when we find ourselves stressed out and overwhelmed. And where does that take us? To total burnout!
Now, maybe you’re reading this and thinking “Sure… some people experience burnout. But it’s not that common, right? It probably won’t happen to me.” Think again!
This study of 7,500 full-time workers found that 2/3 of them had experienced burnout. That’s a lot of people…
And the treatment of the mental and physical symptoms of Burnout Syndrome costs approximately $125 to $190 billion a year in the US alone. Ouch! (source)
Long term, burnout syndrome can even increase our risk of developing illnesses like:
- High Cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disorders
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Gastrointestinal issues
- And more (source)
And since you and I certainly have no interest in any of that, I invited Kelly Agnew, a Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CPN), owner of Kelly Maia Nutrition and creator of the From Burnt Out to Balanced program, to talk to us about burnout. Because we shouldn’t be afraid, we should feel empowered! And knowledge is the best way for us to do that.
Kelly’s going to teach us all about the causes and symptoms of burnout syndrome. And, my favourite part, she’s got 3 simple tips to help us prevent it! Isn’t that wonderful?
Take it away Kelly!
Burnout Can Affect Anyone
When was the last time you took 5 minutes out of your day to simply pause and reflect?
Society has evolved so much that burnout and chronic stress are becoming incredibly normal. Still, no one likes to admit that they’re stressed, and no one likes to admit that they’re burnt out.
Every single day I meet people who are struggling with stress and burnout and have no idea where to turn. All they know is that they feel chronically exhausted, have a hard time managing stress, and need balance in their lives.
I know that these people are the minority, because behind them is a massive crowd of people who are struggling with the same things but refuse to admit it or seek help.
Related: 6 Fantastic Tips On How to Reduce Stress from Psychiatrists
Stress is natural, until…
Everyone in the world experiences stress. It’s 100% natural and a necessary survival instinct that’s kept our species alive. But there’s a negative association around feeling too much stress, or feeling burnt out. It’s as if you’re not “strong” enough to handle the stress, and you need to become stronger and push harder.
That’s exactly how I felt the first time I burnt out, but I have since learned that pushing harder won’t get you anywhere. In fact, pushing harder will push you closer to full-on burnout syndrome (adrenal fatigue), and at that point you will be forced to admit to yourself that you need to rest.
Related: 4 Excellent Stress Relieving Activities To Try Right Now
What is Burnout Syndrome?
Burnout (aka. Adrenal fatigue) is characterized by long-term chronic stress that eventually puts the body into a state of imbalance.
When you’re stressed out, your adrenal glands secrete hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to help you manage the stress. But when you experience chronic, long-term stress, your brain may eventually stop responding to stress altogether. This causes a cascade of reactions which eventually ends up signalling your adrenal glands to stop creating the stress hormones.
Related: Does Balance Exist? Here’s My Answer.
Basically your cortisol levels plummet and flat-line, and you experience a whole host of symptoms related to adrenal fatigue. (source)
Burnout Syndrome symptoms are vast and varied. They can include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Mood changes (depression, anxiety
- Inability to deal with stress
- Difficulty getting out of bed
- Low blood pressure, dizziness
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulty breathing
And the list goes on. (source 1, source 2)
At one point in my adrenal fatigue journey, I counted 25 different symptoms that were a direct result of low cortisol levels.
The worst part?
When you experience adrenal fatigue, it puts extra stress on your other endocrine glands like your sex glands and thyroid. These glands are expected to overcompensate for your adrenal glands, but can also “burn out” as well. That can lead to irregular periods (for women) or hypothyroid symptoms on top of the burnout symptoms!
3 Simple Tips To Help Avoid Burnout Syndrome
If you’re concerned that you might be burnt out, or if you’re not completely there but under chronic stress, it might be wise to start considering ways you can support your body.
There are lots of things that we can do to manage stress and reduce the risk of burnout, between lifestyle, nutrition and mindset.
1. Eat a Nourishing Diet
As a nutritionist, I encourage everyone to start with the way food can support your body! It’s especially important to eat a well-rounded nutrient-dense diet to give your body the raw materials that it needs to manage stress.
One of the most important things you can do is balance your blood sugar.
At each meal, you should make sure that you have a protein source and healthy fat source on your plate. These foods will help to keep you fuller for longer, reduce cravings and keep energy levels steady.
Avoiding foods with refined sugars or refined flours will also help to balance your blood sugar levels. Fluctuating blood sugar is an additional stress on your body that you don’t need when you’re already stressed out.
Related: Three reasons to stop drinking coffee (plus a delicious alternative!)
Your body needs certain raw materials to support your adrenal glands and build your stress hormones. Cortisol itself is built from cholesterol. And although our body can make some of it, you shouldn’t be fearful of consuming healthy amounts of cholesterol from natural sources.
Be sure to consume a variety of sources of healthy fats, including nuts and seeds, avocados, eggs and salmon. Your body also needs lots of vitamin C, B vitamins and magnesium. Think about including lots of leafy greens, whole grains, colourful vegetables and legumes in your diet for support.
Related: 8 Simple Mindful Eating Tips to Help You Eat Better
2. Schedule “Rest” Time
If you’re a busy professional, parent or have a schedule filled with to-do’s, chances are you forget to schedule rest time for yourself. Every single day, schedule yourself at least 5-10 minutes of “rest” time. The more, the better!
What should you do during this period of rest time?
- Allow yourself to just be present
- Reflect on your day
- Assess how you feel
- Consider what your body needs in the moment.
We often go from one thing to the next without checking in with ourselves, and this is how we burn out in the first place. Scheduling yourself rest time is a big part of managing stress and practicing mindfulness.
Related: Why You Need To Make Time To Do Nothing
3. Know That Self-Care Isn’t Just a Buzzword
The word self-care can feel so heavy, because it carries a ton of weight behind it. Often people see self-care as some fancy gesture, like drawing a fancy bubble bath, or going to the spa.
Most people glorify self-care as something fancy and out of the ordinary, which makes it feel unattainable. This is simply not true.
While self-care can be a relaxing getaway at a spa, that isn’t the norm. On a day to day basis, your form of self-care should be checking in with yourself, asking yourself what you need, and honouring those needs.
Some days it might be an extra half hour of sleep. Other days it’s taking an afternoon break to walk around the block for 10 minutes. Day-to-day things like nourishing your body with good foods, getting to sleep by 10 pm each night, and bringing movement into your day, are all forms of self-care that are often forgotten.
Related: 10 Easy Self Care Ideas That Will Help You Relax
These three tips are just the ‘tip’ of the iceberg when it comes to avoiding burnout syndrome. In the end, it’s all about managing stress and relieving unnecessary stressors, with the goal of bringing the body back into balance.
(This is Sara taking back the wheel!) Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and advice on burnout syndrome with us Kelly! Wasn’t this helpful guys?! It’s a powerful reminder that we really do need to be mindful of our mental health and prioritize time to relax and unwind.
Don’t forget – there is no shame in seeking outside help when you need it! Almost everyone experiences mental health related difficulties in their life (this lady included). And when that happens we can all benefit from therapy. Sometimes seeking help is the kindest and most loving thing that we can do for ourselves.
Have you experienced a burnout? What self-care activities help you prevent or work through stress the most? Share your thoughts and advice with us in the comments below.
Health and love,
Thought of the day: Checking in with yourself, taking time to indulge in your needs and setting boundaries are all beautiful forms of self-care. And you truly deserve that.
About Kelly Agnew:
Kelly Maia Agnew, CNP is a holistic nutritionist, self-care junkie, and the founder of Kelly Maia Nutrition where she empowers women on their journey to healthy living.
After experiencing adrenal fatigue twice in a short period of time, she has learned the importance of slowing down and supporting the body with a holistic approach to diet and lifestyle.
She coaches women around the world through adrenal fatigue, burnout and stress management by teaching them the importance of nutrition and self-care.
Kelly is the creator of the From Burnt Out to Balanced group program that transforms women from feeling exhausted and fatigued, to feeling energized and balanced.
Kelly has been featured on the Autoimmune Mastermind, Fit Chick’s Academy’s 2018 Women’s Transformation Summit, and various podcasts. She has also written a number of healthy living articles and nutritious recipes for various websites and online publications including Pranin Organic, The Hearty Soul, Holl & Lane magazine and more.
Kelly is registered with the International Organization of Nutritional Consultants and has earned the following designations: Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner (RNCP) and Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioner (ROHP), along with her designation as a Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP).
You can find her goodness right here:
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
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Small Town Lavish
This was a great read, and even better tips! Thank you for sharing. When I started eating better, I noticed many big changes. I feel so much better in everything I do!
That’s such a wonderful thing to hear! It truly is amazing how our diet affect so many aspects of our well-being, including how we feel. It’s fantastic that that’s helped you to feel better <3. It's worked wonders for me too :)
I’m so glad the article helped! Love hearing that nutrition made a big difference for you. It’s a very powerful tool many people forget about! Glad you’re feeling healthy!
These are actually really valuable tips! (Not meaning because it’s coming from you! lol But because they’re dead on and things I really didn’t consider). Keeping my blood sugar up is imperative for me, but definitely something I forget all too often. And I’ve never thought of scheduling rest time. I schedule gym time, but that’s not a time of rest. I love this idea, that way I’m not feeling guilty during the day if I take a break!
Kelly’s advice really is invaluable! I couldn’t agree more Krista! I’m happy that you’ve found them helpful. And I think her advice to schedule a prioritize rest time is absolutely amazing! I hope that you have a wonderful time adding rest to your schedule :). Let us know how it goes <3
Ah so glad you enjoyed the article! Yes, scheduling rest time is often forgotten. Most of us go from one thing to the next – and even if we ENJOY what we’re doing, it’s still “busy-ness”. Hopefully you got to have some rest time this weekend 🙂
Excellent. I find rest is so important for recharging. It’s often thought that it’s “weak” to take rest but I think it actually makes you stronger!
You are absolutely right Karen! Taking time to rest, de-stress and recharge makes us so much stronger! And even more creative, attentive and productive. Everyone wins :). Enjoy your next rest session <3
That idea bothers me so much, because it couldn’t be further from the truth! Plus, resting now and recharging your batteries will make for a much happier and healthier life overall! That can’t be weak 😉 Glad you enjoyed the article!
Omg I need this in my life. I’ve been burnout for years after working multiple jobs. I’m exhausted!
I’m so sorry to hear that Pearl! I hope that Kelly’s advice gives you a good start. She’s wonderful and so helpful and really dedicated to helping people through burnout. I encourage you to check out her website and even get in touch. You can find her goodness right here http://www.kellymaianutrition.com/. Sending tons of love your way Pearl <3.
Hi Pearl – so sorry to hear that you’re so burnt out! I’ve been there – it’s an awful feeling. You’re almost paralysed with fatigue, but at the same time you feel like you just need to keep pushing. The best thing to do is take care of yourself and rest. The body gives these signals, which turn into symptoms, as a way to remind us to listen. Harder said than done, but I believe everyone can find a semblance of balance. Sending you lots of support & health! If you want to read more on this, I have tons of articles on my website re: stress / burnout: http://www.kellymaianutrition.com
Awesome guest post Sara! I loved reading Kelly’s thoughts and tips on prevening burnout. I’m am definitely guilty of sucking it up and pushing though eventhough I know I shouldn’t.
You aren’t alone Nicole! I’ve done that to myself a couple of times. My first relapse definitely came from pushing through when I need to stop and rest… And I know it’s not just the two of us. We all do that sometimes. It’s really important everyone gets reminded to stop and rest sometimes. It’s a really strong and beautiful thing to do for yourself. Happy Kelly provided us with that awesome reminder :).
I have been there too – pushing and pushing even though everything in me told me to slow down. It takes time, but resting and listening to that voice has been SO valuable. Hope that you can find some rest and relaxation soon!
Burnout Syndrome! I had never heard of such a thing, but yes! I totally resonate with this & can definitely see how it can effect your well-being. Thanks for sharing! Great guest post. 🙂
Kendra | http://www.helga-marie.com
I’m glad you enjoyed Kelly’s post Kendra! This is definitely something we need to talk about more often :). Stress management is important for all of us. Happy you had fun learning about something new! <3 Happy Monday!
Thanks for reading Kendra! it’s such a major problem for so many people who don’t realize it. “Stress” is seen as this thing we just need to live with, when in fact, too much of it can be far more damaging to our health. Thanks so much for reading!
I love this! So important and so many people overlook it! I know when I am burned out and I am far more likely to take a sick day from work just because I am burned out than I am to actually be “sick”. I call it a R&R day– Rest & Relaxation!
Lauren | https://livebythesunshine.com/
I’m really happy you do that for yourself Lauren! We all need rest and relaxation days sometimes. That’s awesome! You’re rocking it in the self-care department <3. Thanks for sharing such an awesome stress relieving self-care activity with us.
No shame in R&R days! Honestly – I’ve done that myself. “Sick” is often seen as some physical ailment but honestly, mental rest is JUST as important for us. I love that you do this for yourself 🙂 Thanks so much for reading!
Amanda A Sharp
Thank you for sharing, This was a great read, with great tips! I really need to focus on my nutrition. It is the biggest thing I neglect when I am overly busy. I know that is so bad!
I’m so happy Kelly’s wonderful words resonated with your Amanda! That’s awesome!
I know that being busy can make healthy eating so hard! You absolutely aren’t alone. So many of us find ourselves in the same exact boat.
If you need a hand, meal planning and prep can be a huge help! If that’s something you want to try there’s another Kelli I know who shares meal plans and meal prep inspiration. And she is seriously sweet as a button. You can find her right here: nutritionnotrestriction.com/ and here on Instagram instagram.com/nutrition.not.restriction/. Her specialty is making it easier to eat well on a bonkers busy schedule :).
Wishing you well! I hope you find a wonderful balance that works well for you. You’ve got this <3
Hi Amanda, glad you enjoyed reading the articles! Nutrition is soo easy to overlook and that’s why I made it one of the main points in this article. I’m a nutritionist and work with a lot of women to help them through the lifestyle, mindset and nutrition support when it comes to burnout. Happy to help with meal planning and meal prep – I also have a few other posts on my blog about how you can eat in a way to support your body while it’s burnt out. Hope that you can find some useful information, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out! http://www.kellymaianutrition.com
All of these are absolutely spot-on, and since I have a full-time PLUS “day” job and still try to balance my part-time writing job, I have to try to remember to be cognizant of when it’s time to slow down and decompress. Thanks for the tips!
I’m really glad that Kelly’s advice provided you with a helpful reminder Diana! That’s wonderful :). I totally feel ya! Blogging and writing is a ton of work – it can be like a full time job all on it’s own. We really need to be mindful of how much rest time we schedule so we can keep coming back and writing out awesome articles. It makes us more creative after all – so it’s all win! 🙂 Hope you get some awesome rest time in today!
Glad you enjoyed the article Diana! I know what you mean, I have a full time job along with my nutrition / wellness business as well (part of the reason I burnt out in the first place and this became my passion). Bringing awareness to those inner cues is one of the hardest things to learn, but I love using meditation and jouarnalling to tap into that “mindfulness”. Once you start exploring those things, it awakens you to some of the more subtle signals that your body sends you. Thanks so much for reading!
Jasmin / VeEatCookBake
What an amazing guest post. Such an important topic which should be more public.. Love the three tips.. I had to deal with some. Me helped to change my job.
Thank you Jasmin! You are so lovely <3. I'm really glad you enjoyed it. And I totally agree - we really do need to talk about this more. Everyone experiences stress and we live in such a go-go-go society that we all really need the reminder to slow down sometimes.
I'm happy that you found a positive changed that helped you! Sometimes changing jobs is really such a powerful form of self-care. Sending tons of love your way hun! Thank you for all of your support :).
Thanks for reading Jasmin, glad you liked the article. Changing jobs made a big difference for me too. There’s no shame in making a change for your health, and I definitely learned that the hard way! Thanks for reading!
Maryann Auger | Mani Fitness
This is exactly the post I needed to read! Perfect timing in my life!
Great blog post, as always! Love your beautiful face <3
Aww thank you tons Maryann! I’m really happy this found you. And so happy you’re making more time to you. Here’s to Sims and Netflix dates with ourselves. We deserve it! 🙂
Sending tons of love your way! You rock! So happy to call you my friend <3
Glad you enjoyed the post and sending you healthy vibes! No one’s immune to feeling burnt out, I hope you’re able to take the rest you need 🙂
This was such a good read! Being proactuive about burnout is important! I think scheduling time for rest works best for me
That’s awesome Kat! We all need to make more time to slow down and rest. It really does work wonders for our mental health. <3 Happy you do that for yourself :).
Glad you enjoyed the post, Kat! Scheduling time to rest is one of the biggest barriers for most people, so I’m glad that you’re able to do this for yourself! Your future self thanks you 😉 Thanks for reading!
Thank you so much! One of my favorite quotes is that you cannot pour from an empty cup!
Glad you enjoyed the article! One of my favourite quotes too, as it couldn’t be more true!! Thanks for reading! 🙂
I’m really glad you enjoyed it Kait! Thank you so much. And I couldn’t agree more. That quote is so powerful and so incredibly true! When need to make sure that we take time to rest and de-stress so that we can continue to be present for others. Everyone wins when we indulge in self-care <3.
I agree with all of this! A couple of years ago I hit the wall and have slowly worked on myself and my needs so I can be the best me there is for myself and my family. It’s always a work in progress but it’s a great feeling.
I’m so glad you’re feeling better and have been working on healing yourself. Definitely important to fill your cup first. Thanks for sharing and keep on it!
I’m really happy to hear that you’re working on self-care and feeling better! I’m sorry you had to go through that in the first place <3.
I love your perspective - it really is always a work in progress. I don't think there's ever a point in our self-love or self-care journey where we reach a destination. It's a path we walk with ourselves throughout life and, like with everything, there are ups and downs and that's ok! What matters is that we continue to be gentle with ourselves and try. Sending so much love your way!
What great tips! Thanks for sharing!! I will definitely keep these in mind.
Hi Emma – glad you enjoyed the article! The best part about these tips are that they’re simple and easy! Hope you find them useful!
Kelly really did share some awesome tips! I’m really happy you liked them Emma. Hope they help you in the future <3
Great tips! I recently was starting to feel burn out from my 9-5 and when I switched my diet and increased my weekly workouts, I definitely noticed a change in my overall mood, and stress level. Thanks for the great ideas!
So glad to hear that diet and exercise helped you! It makes a massive difference, doesn’t it? When we nourish our body with what it needs, our body can help to support us for sure. Hope you enjoyed the article!
I’m glad you liked the tips too! Kelly really did share a ton of goodness.
It’s wonderful that you’ve found some self-care activities that help to make you feel better! It’s absolutely amazing how diet and exercise affects us, both mentally and physically. We all benefit from those kinds of additions to our lifestyle 🙂