When someone asks what you’ve been up to, how do you respond? For me it’s usually something like, “Oh not much, just staying busy!” Then the conversation quickly turns to how we’ve all got so much going on and there’s just no time for anything.
I’ve got a gym to run, four kids to keep alive, and a husband to acknowledge. But I’d never undermine the Mom that has a week full of cheer practice, football games, and play dates on top of a full-time job, or the college girl with a full schedule and part-time job. I see you.
This urge to compare our “busy” like a badge of honor is exhausting. Whether it’s an unreasonable workload, a lack of support, the stress of responding to emails after hours, or even financial worries, burnout can leave you physically stressed and emotionally drained.
If you have no motivation to get up in the morning and you now hate the things you used to love, it’s time to make a change. While stress relieving activities like watching TV, listening to music, and reading can all help combat burnout symptoms, the real powerhouse is exercise.
According to a Stress in America survey published by the American Psychological Association (APA), over half of adults say they feel good about themselves after exercising, and 30% of adults say exercising makes them feel less stressed.
Here’s the kicker: that same survey said 39% of adults have skipped exercise in the past month when they felt stressed.
If you’ve been experiencing work or life burnout, the best thing you can do for your physical and emotional health is to work it out!
The Burnout is REAL
The burnout is real. Seriously – it’s not just you.
The Mayo Clinic explains that while burnout isn’t a medical diagnosis, it’s a series of symptoms including excessive stress, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and even serious conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure.
While burnout is not the same as stress, it’s often the result of unrelenting stress. Being burned out means feeling empty inside, feeling mentally exhausted, being beyond caring, and quite honestly, being devoid of all motivation.
Burnout can come from a lack of control in the workplace, unclear job expectations, tricky workplace dynamics, and work-life imbalance. And that’s just to name a few.
Whether your job has you screaming into your pillow at night or home life has you feeling completely exhausted and unmotivated, there’s some good news. Once you recognize you’re burnt out, you can fix it – or at least improve it greatly – with exercise.
Feel The Burn
The best way to combat burnout? Feel the burn!
We’re all working ourselves to the bone, but what many don’t realize is that exercise and physical movement will not only make you healthier overall, but it’s incredible for stress relief.
Here are just a few statistics from the APA on the impact of exercise:
- 68% of teens who say they exercise or walk to help manage stress say the technique is very or extremely effective.
- Those who exercise less than once a week or not at all report stress levels in the past month higher than those of adults who exercise once a week or more.
- 33% of high-stress adults said they feel less stressed after exercising.
While physical movement can kick burnout to the curb and help manage your stress, you also get added benefits like improved mood, appetite control, weight loss, increased energy, lower blood pressure, reduced risk for heart disease and stroke, better sleep… the list really does go on.
Get Your Mind Right
While burnout most certainly affects you physically and can even lead to serious conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure, most of the initial symptoms are all in your head.
The little things we pile in with our “busy” isn’t harmless. All of that stress festers and grows until your entire life is a bit gloomy. The mental exhaustion sets in and we start to fell the consequences. Picture Eeyore. That’s you – you’re Eeyore.
The Mayo Clinic suggests doing relaxing activities and practicing mindfulness, because slowing down and taking a moment for yourself can do wonders for your mental state.
MindTools recommends practicing positive thinking. Focus on affirmations, or positive statements about the future. You can start with something as simple as a positive thought before you get out of bed in the morning. These small victories will slowly reshape your headspace, and it’ll help you get past burnout.
You know what else has a huge impact on your mind? Exercise.
When stress affects your brain, the rest of your body feels that impact. The good news is this goes both ways. If your body starts to feel better, your mind follows suit.
Exercise produces endorphins, or the natural painkiller chemical in the brain, which improves your ability to sleep and also reduces stress. That snowballs into relieving burnout.
There’s plenty of research on it like here and here, but the point is when you get in your workout and put your mind and body in sync, amazing things happen like lower tension, improved mood, and better sleep.
Best Workouts to Kick Burnout to the Curb
We know from surveys and recent research that group exercises have an incredible impact on your mental, physical, and emotional health. One of the things I absolutely love about group exercise is the “one-mind” mentality. No matter what you had going on when you walked in, once class starts, we all get focused on one thing. Each movement, every breath, and every struggle is felt together.
From the mindfulness of yoga to the rhythm of kickboxing and the intensity of a HIIT class, we get stronger together. Any physical activity that gets your heart rate up is going to have the wonderful effect of reducing stress and improving your mood.
Whatever you do, don’t skip your workout because you’re feeling burnout. That’ll start a rapid downward spiral that could actually be helped by making your way to the gym. Working out doesn’t have to be a burden, and by including it in your lifestyle, you can actively defeat stress and burnout.
Find the Workout Program For You
Sometimes, work stress gets in the way and things get overwhelming. You’re exhausted and you still have to come home to cook, clean, and tend to your littles. It’s easy to get and experience burnout!
It’s not selfish to take care of yourself.
One of the best things you can do to practice self-care is to workout. Make it a priority. Help those closest to you understand this is important to you. If you can’t make it to the gym, we’ve got you covered.