Burnout is definitely real. As I enter my 4th straight year of chiropractic college, it’s hitting hard, but the light is finally at the end of the tunnel! This program, as with many other grad programs, is extremely difficult and can sometimes feel never-ending.
Burnout can get the better of you, even when you have great passion for your work. You get burnt out when you feel like you’re putting more into your work than you’re getting out of it. Sometimes this happens when a job isn’t rewarding, but more often than not it’s because you aren’t taking care of yourself.
It all comes down to balance. Balance in your work life, home life, relationships, and especially your health.
Although your work or education may be one of your top priorities, your health should be number one. You won’t be able to work, go to class, or even enjoy family time if your health is suffering. When you prioritize yourself, you’re actually prioritizing the rest.
Here are my top tips on beating burnout (aka taking care of yourself):
- Mindset. Take a look at your situation. What can you change? What can’t you change? The things that are fully in your hands (i.e. Your health), take control of!! Become empowered in the fact that you are the only one in charge of your health and you can fully transform your life through simple healthy changes! Things you can’t change (i.e. Family members, job duties, responsibilities) can have two outlooks – negative or positive. Changing your perspective and your mindset to one of positivity and seeing the best in every situation changes your physiology. Positive thoughts can actually create real value in your life and help you build skills that last much longer than a smile. It means that repetitive positive thought and positive activity can rewire your brain and strengthen brain areas that stimulate positive feelings. In his widely-acclaimed book, The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, Norman Doidge, M.D. states plainly that the brain has the capacity to rewire itself and/or form new neural pathways — if we do the work. Just like exercise, the work requires repetition and activity to reinforce new learning.
- Healthy Nervous System. Your nervous system controls everything in your body – it’s your brain, spinal cord, and nerves. It especially controls the healing in your body. If you are suffering from pain, lack of energy, or any imbalance, your body is not healing correctly. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your nervous system is healthy and healing without interference. Chiropractors are doctors of the nervous system and specialize in the health of your nervous system by removing any interfere in your body by adjusting the spine (what houses and protects the spinal cord). By focusing on the spine, chiropractic care becomes a comprehensive approach to whole-life wellness, unlocking healing and restoration of the life you were made for.
- Quality Nutrition. Eating well starts with reevaluating your diet and understanding how changes in what you eat are directly tied to today’s health challenges. Quality is always more important than quantity and balance is the main key to success. It’s as simple as, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”. You don’t have to over complicate nutrition. Focus on quality whole organic foods and stay far away from anything processed and junky.
- Getting and Staying Active. High levels of oxygen create a happy home for the good cells and an unwelcome destination for bad cells, including cancer. Getting active everyday allows you to maximize your ability to take in oxygen, store it, circulate it, and use it for well-being. Whether you are an elite athlete, a weekend warrior, a grandparent, pregnant, or a kid just getting into fitness, there are a ton of ways to get and more importantly stay active!
- Minimize Toxins. Minimizing exposure and clearing the toxins from your body is critical to resetting your system back to normal and maximizing function. It starts by learning where poisons are lurking and getting guidance on the lifestyle choices needed to reduce the volume of chemicals entering your system. Just as important are the dietary guidelines, supplements and care needed to boost your body’s own inherent cleansing powers allowing you to detox and thrive in an unfortunately toxic world. While you aren’t likely to get cancer from one injection at your pediatrician’s office, one diet cola, one cigarette, one order of fast food, the new car smell, or one application of chemically-based skin lotion, these toxic materials can’t be effectively metabolized by your body. Therefore, these poisons build up in your system and create what is called a “toxic burden.” This gradual buildup of toxins in your blood, cells, tissues, or organs can be undetectable for years until symptoms start to become obvious. Over time, the burden becomes too great for the body to carry. So while they don’t cause disease or death today, they most certainly can tomorrow. The best thing you can do is reduce your exposure, and work to eliminate as many as you can from your system. The point is to think about what you choose to consume and use. Read the labels and opt for products that offer the lowest exposure to these harmful elements.
I call these the 5 essentials of health. When you implement these strategies, beating burnout is a breeze. I know the second I start to feel burnout kicking in that I’m not taking care of myself the way I should. But when I shift my perspective and daily choices a bit, I feel energized to push through yet again.
When you start taking care of yourself a few things happen:
- Your confidence rises
- You have more energy
- ‘Happy’ hormones increase
- You can enjoy life vs suffering in pain or illness
- Add years to your life
- Reduce the risk of disease
- Lose weight
In a phrase – you get your life back – so you can then pour into the things that are most important to you like your family, job, and/or education.