The 21st century is full of stimuli – whether that be from consistently being “plugged in” to your cell phone/emails/social media; having a vibrant social life through catching up with friends, whether by going out for dinner, or even playing a game of squash; or working hard at your job to achieve your career goals. Juggling all these can be a job in itself, and sometimes it feels like we don’t make time for ourselves to just be.
Burnout starts with just one thing, which affects another, and another, until a domino effect occurs – and eventually you’re running on empty on all fronts. When all systems are failing, what is the most effective way of solving the problem? By starting at the source, of course. First, we need to pinpoint what exactly has caused the domino effect, and hone in.
Burnout can manifest itself in many ways: anxiety, depression, exhaustion – and in worst cases, illness. All of these come from ignoring your body’s signals to slow down, and if we ignore them, our body uses those intelligent ways to slow us down anyway as a means of self-preservation.
It can be tempting to subdue the effects of burnout with antidepressants and relaxation techniques – but that doesn’t identify the root cause. Chemically inducing serotonin and dopamine only lasts as long as you take medication, when it’s something the body can be doing naturally, if only it’s working properly. So why not tackle it at the root?
When our bodies get run down to this level, it’s important to look at our systems as a whole. Are my hormones balanced? Is my thyroid gland working effectively? Are my neurotransmitters firing as they should be?
Most of us have experienced burnout at one point in our lives, and it can be crippling when it finally catches up to us. From feeling like we can never get enough sleep, struggling with creativity, inability to focus, or forgetting things that are important to us – these are all symptoms of a common yet avoidable problem.
So how do we prevent it? And even more so, how do we tackle it if we’re already there?
Our body is an ecosystem within itself, and it’s important that everything is in perfect balance so it can thrive. I’m sure it’s something you’ve probably heard before – everything in moderation. Yes, we’re talking about drinking alcohol, staying up late, and eating out at restaurants, but we’re also talking about working too hard, doing too much exercise, and even getting too much sleep. Finding balance between your guilty pleasures and what is good for your body is the true equilibrium.
But further than that, it’s important to provide your body with the natural “raw materials” it needs to stabilize the nervous system, as opposed to more stimulants. For instance, instead of coffee and ‘energizing’ beverages, we need to find what is causing your fatigue in the first place and address it. And because burnout symptoms are different for everybody, we need to do a deep dive to figure out what we need to stabilize your body specifically. Like everything when it comes to health, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and by taking a close look into your health systems, we can discover how to repair and support them – especially the nervous system.
If you’ve ignored the inner flashing sign to slow down and find balance, know that it’s never too late. Burnout happens to the best of us, and often catches us by surprise. Focusing on specialised healthcare can help us bridge the gap between our lives and our health, thereby bringing our lives into perspective, and letting your pursue your goals – with wellness in check.