It’s Sunday morning, my alarm goes off at the slightly later time of 7am (instead of 6am) – my two year old son runs into the bedroom, fully energised, joyous and running around at a million miles per hour!
Me on the other hand, i’m unable to move, my muscles and joints are inflamed, achy and tied up in knots. My eyes are heavy, my head is pounding, and I struggle to even move to the edge of the bed to give our boy a cuddle.
My wife takes him down stairs and I stay in bed for another couple of hours, trying to repay back sleep and the debt I’ve accumulated over the last 6 months – where i’ve pushed myself both mentally and physically to the limit.
For the rest of that Sunday I only walk 500 steps, that’s around 5% of my typical step count for most days (10,000 steps). The few steps I do take are a massive effort, as though i’m carrying a grown adult on my back. I spend the whole day feeling absolutely exhausted, barely able to speak to my wife, son or my dad who’s come over to celebrate a late fathers day…
The last 6 months have all come to a head, the 35 personal training sessions per week, the 6am get ups, the 6 workouts I do per week, and the stresses of life have all built up… and the debt collector has come knocking on my door…
“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”
I’m totally fatigued and need a rest, I can’t go on like this anymore. I need to pull back and let my body heal. When you feel like this it’s time to take your foot of the gas, otherwise you’ll get seriously ill.
The last time I got like this was about 5 years ago – when I was doing 60 personal training sessions per week, for about 10 months – trying to build LEP Fitness. In the end I had to take a week off, where I did very little but sleep, eat, and chill.
In this post I thought it would be good to provide some solutions to help those of you out there who are extremely tired, fatigued, and overwhelmed.
This ‘burnt out’ feeling is relevant to lots of people, whether you are a high flying CEO, or a full time mum, or a youngster who’s been working non stop, revising for your exams. Whether you are mentally or physically fatigued (or both!) here are some tips to help you get back to your best…
#1 Stop or Pull Back
If you can STOP and give yourself a full break. Take a week off, and if you can afford it… go on holiday. Whether that’s a chilled beach holiday, or a walking holiday in the Peak District or Lake District – take some time out to recharge the batteries and get away from your normal environment.
If you don’t want to go away or can’t afford it, then stay at home, go for walks each day and watch Netflix. Take time out and let your body recover. Removing stresses like work for a week can make a huge difference.
If you can’t take a week off, then at least reduce your work load. For example I recently took a holiday, and as i’m self employed I certainly feel the pressure of not working. So instead of taking another week off, i’ll instead reduce my work/stress load…
I will still do my personal training sessions, and still workout (BUT at 50% effort compared to usual – read more about deload weight training. However my extra work such as blogging, or writing articles for other companies will stop, I will also postpone any other projects (like my new book) for a week. I reckon all in all this will save me around 10 hours of work. I will use that extra time to read, chill, take afternoon naps/baths and chill out.
Sleep is the most important recovery component – it’s essential to health and wellbeing, and if sleep is negatively impacted (which it will be if you’re stressed!) then you are at more risk of developing diseases such as cancer, diabetes, allergies, heart disease, skin conditions, colds, the flu, you name it!
I wrote a more in depth post on sleep here – check it out to learn more tips. BUT in a nutshell you want to aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
Make-sure to stay away from all technological devices such as phones, TV’s, laptops, etc 1 hour before you go to sleep.
Take a hot, relaxing bath before bed, and make-sure that you make your house dark a couple of hours before bedtime – turn off lights, use candles, draw the curtains, and if you can get some black out blinds or a sleeping mask. Apply these tips and you are far more likely to have a good nights sleep.
#3 Be Honest And Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
It can be perceived as weakness, when we tell people we need a break – it’s like we don’t want to admit that we’re struggling. We don’t want people to think that we are a wimp! BUT you are entitled to a rest, and if you don’t take it… you’ll pay an even bigger price at a later date (like I mentioned earlier disease and illness).
Reach out to friends, family, and work colleagues, tell them that you are struggling and need to factor in some rest and downtime in order for you to feel better. Explain how your performance is declining, and just be honest. Good people will understand where you are coming from and give you some space to recharge. Even just a week can do the world of good.
Sometimes even friends and family may not be able to help, in such cases you could seek help from a professional, whether that’s face to face or doing some online psychotherapy from the comfort of your home. You can visit sites such as BetterHelp to read more about how a professional counsellor could help improve your situation.
#4 Reevaluate Your Life
When you’re tired it’s very hard to think straight, and rationally. You need to give yourself a total break, BUT then once you start to feel better… then it’s time to reevaluate your life and look to prevent this burn out from happening again.
I remember when I burned out doing 60 personal training sessions per week… after I came out of the storm thanks to taking 7 days off, I decided I would cut my sessions down to 35-40 per week. I increased my prices and slowly lowered down to 40 sessions per week – it took about 6 months to do, BUT it was worth it.
You need to make changes going forward, whether that’s to hire a babysitter, reduce work load, hire a cleaner, or take away some weekly stresses that take up time… then it’s worth making a new plan of action to stop it from happening again.
Thanks for reading,