I know from personal experience that many of the symptoms associated with depression can be seen in someone who is stressed out but not yet clinically depressed (i.e. poor sleep, challenges with focus, increased irritability, no longer engaging in once enjoyed activities). Well, here are some tips if you find yourself in this place:
1. Understand the difference between coping and change.
There is so much that can be said about this, so I will write a separate post about that. But, simply put, coping helps us deal with something while change actually helps us to overcome it. Coping is good for a short period of time, while change is what we need for the long run.
2. Develop a clear vision of where you want to be.
Burnout has everything to do with being short-sighted and trying to make something last that really shouldn’t. I firmly believe the lives we want to live won’t automatically happen to us. In order for our situations to change we must change but we can’t do that without developing a clear picture of what that change looks like.
3. Get the support you need.
While there is great excitement around races run by individuals, the truth is, every successful athlete has a team of people supporting them. Deciding to build a team around you to achieve your change is key. Sometimes that involves your family Doctor, a change-supportive friend, family member or spouse, a therapist or a coach/mentor…. While the decision is up to you, getting help with the direction, receiving encouragement and accountability are often game-changing factors in recovering from burnout. The point is, you need not do this alone. In fact, if you could do it alone, you probably already would have.
I am aware I have only touched the surface with each of these points, but they are a few pointers to focus your attention in the right direction. While you consider next steps with each of these points, here is a useful question to consider:
What gives me life, restores my energy, refuels my tank?
Be sure that your answers to this question don’t conflict with your core values or cost you in the long run. If you’re not sure what your core values are, I have refined an exercise to help identify them, so, if you believe that would be helpful to you, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.