Making healthy changes is a long haul. And with any long haul, it’s possible sometimes to feel overwhelmed or defeated, or to lose sight of your inspiration.
You might call that experience burnout.
Normally “burnout” is a term that describes how exhausted we feel after working too hard. In this case, we can apply it to the work of making new healthy habits. All of that time and energy spent on healthy change can sometimes drain your “motivation gas tank.”
So what can you do when you’re feeling like you’re running on empty but still have a long way to go? Take some helpful steps to refill your tank!
1. Name It
Recognize that burnout feeling. Maybe your body feels tired or sore. Maybe your mind is bored or frustrated. Maybe your heart feels scared about the future, or wishes you could go back to the past. If you feel really worn out and that feeling has lasted for a while, it’s time to make a change.
2. Explore It
Why do you feel burned out? Did you push too hard with exercise this week? Do you feel overwhelmed because you’re reading too many articles about healthy changes? Is it discouraging to see pictures of young, in-shape models on social media? Are you just plain tired of the same food every day? Are you grieving the loss of the life you had before you were diagnosed with a condition? Whatever it is, that information is useful. It can help you see where you need to be gentle with yourself, or to make a change so you don’t feel dragged down.
3. Accept It
Remember, it is normal to feel overwhelmed, especially when you’re making healthy changes to your life. Exercising more? Eating healthier? Managing a condition? Preventing disease? It can’t be done overnight! It takes practice. Feeling burned out doesn’t mean you’re failing.
4. Boost Your Confidence
It’s a lot easier to keep going when you believe in yourself. Remind yourself of all the things you’ve done right. You might have had some setbacks ― everyone does ― but don’t let that be the whole story. List at least three things you have achieved in your healthy journey so far.
5. Boost Your Motivation
You can bounce back from burnout faster if you remember why you’re on this journey to begin with. Remind yourself of your own motivations. What caused you to want to make changes in the first place? Try keeping a list of those motivators near your workspace. Update your phone background with a photo of the person who inspires you. Journal about how life will be better after you’ve made these healthy changes. Find a way to keep your motivators in sight and in mind.
6. Get Support
Think of someone in your life who can help you get back on track. This might be a loved one who cheers you on from the sidelines, a spouse or partner who holds you accountable, or a coworker who’s excited to join you in your healthy habits. You might also have an Expert Coach who can give you professional advice and guidance.
7. Celebrate Success
Give yourself credit for getting back on track! Overcoming burnout is not easy, and deserves a healthy reward. Treating yourself to a new book, some new exercise gear, or some well-deserved “me time” is a great way to honor your successes ― and prevent burnout in the future.
Remember, you can do this. Anyone who has ever made healthy changes has been where you are right now. You’re not alone!