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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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