Overcoming Overwhelm & Burnout
Mental health has been the number one concern for people in our community over the past couple of years. With constantly changing lock downs and uncertainty, the pandemic has led to increased stress, anxiety, and feelings of overwhelm at levels that we haven’t seen before. As we’ve discussed previously, if we don’t give ourselves a chance to recover (both mentally and physically), this constant stress and pressure can eventually lead to burnout. Therefore, we need to figure out how to recover on a daily basis so we can stop this downward progression and start performing optimally and reaching our potential.
Recently I did a session on this topic and I thought I’d share some snippets with you. I present ten tips for overcoming feelings of stress, fatigue, and overwhelm. Not all of these tips will resonate with you, but hopefully a few of them do and you can try them out whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed.
10 Tips for Overcoming Overwhelm and Burnout:
Tip 1: The Birthday Candle Breath. We’ve talked about the power of breath in previous newsletters. Breathing is so effective at calming us down because the regions of the brain that control our breathing are linked to the regions of the brain that control our stress. Taking a moment to pause and take a deep inhale and exhale is a great strategy anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed. There are many different breathing protocols, but an easy one to remember is just to pretend you’re blowing out candles on a birthday cake which I learned about from Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe (https://robynehd.ca/). Watch this video to learn more!
Tip 2: Go for a walk. Another tip for when you’re feeling overwhelmed is simply to go for a quick walk. We know how important exercise is for both physical and mental health, so going for a walk is a great strategy to try to decrease stress. However, any type of exercise is good for mental health so if you have limited mobility or are unable to go for a walk, any sort of movement that you can do to get your muscles moving and your blood flowing is beneficial. Click here for the video!
Tip 3: Listen to music. There is a powerful link between music and mental health. Listening to music activates the emotional regions of the brain, meaning that we can use music to help us get into different moods — excited, energized, focused, joyful, relaxed or calm. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, tense, or anxious, try listening to a calming soundtrack to lower your heart rate and de-stress. Click here for the video!
Tip 4: Get outside. Getting outside is incredibly important for mental health and performance. And being in nature, such as a forest or other green space, is even more beneficial. Even walking to a nearby park for five minutes can help boost your mood. Click here for the video!
Tip 5: Call a friend. Lack of social connection over the past couple of years has had a huge toll on everyone’s mental health. Taking five minutes to call a friend or connect with someone in your life can drastically improve your mental health, and is important now more than ever. Click here for the video!
Tip 6: Try meditation. Meditation, or other forms of mindfulness, helps us deactivate the sympathetic nervous system (the “fight or flight” response) and activate the parasympathetic nervous system (the “rest and digest” response). There are many different ways to meditate, but the basic idea is that you take 15, 10, or even 5 minutes out of your day to do nothing but relax and focus on the present moment. Click here for the video!
Tip 7: Drink some water. Taking a moment to drink a glass of water not only gives us a nice pause from our hectic day, but it’s also incredibly important for our physical and mental performance. Click here for the video!
Tip 8: Give yourself a break. When we give ourselves permission to pause and take a break, we allow our bodies and minds to regenerate and recover. Click here for the video!
Tip 9: Anti-inflammatory foods. Anti-inflammatory foods increase your ability to get nutrients to the tissues in your body that need them — including the brain. Include anti-inflammatory foods into your diet such as healthy fats, spices, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Watch the video here!
Tip 10: Pause before you perform. Taking time to pause allows you to reach an optimal state before you perform. If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, taking time to pause gives your body and brain a reset so you can perform at your potential. Watch the video here!
Hopefully you found these short videos helpful! Remember, tiny micro-wins throughout the day will make a huge difference to your mental health, and will increase your ability to cope with stressors so you don’t reach the burnout stage.