Burnout is a real thing. More and more people are dealing with feelings of extreme stress, anxiety and feeling like a candle burning at both ends.
Our modern world demands that we have a “busy” lifestyle. It’s almost like a badge of honor, a sign of success, to be so busy, but it takes a real toll on our mind and body.
We can’t just stop everything and take a mental health holiday when we feel the burnout coming, so what can you do to fight it?
Finding balance is not only the realistic solution to our busy everyday lives, it’s also the long-term solution to finding more energy and grace to handle whatever life throws at you! And one of the best ways to invite more balance into your life is to look to Ayurveda!
Learn Your Energy Style
Knowing how your body handles energy and stress is really the first step to creating a more balanced lifestyle to fight burnout. Ayurveda teaches us that each dosha handles it differently:
- Vata: Energy is light, airy and comes in short and fast bursts. Vatas work in intense but short periods of productivity and are prone to energy depletion much quicker than the other doshas. They learn quickly but are prone to low stamina and poor long-term memory.
- Pitta: Pittas have very stable energy with lots of stamina. Pitta energy has a sharp quality that allows them to continue to push on even though they have an average endurance level. This is the most balanced energy style of the doshas.
- Kapha: Energy is slow to build in Kaphas, but they have the most endurance out of all the doshas. They have amazing, paced-out stamina and a fantastic long-term memory.
Structure Your Day
When working to find more balance in life, you have to look at the structure (or lack thereof) of your day.
- Stay organized and set intentions: Some of the most productive people still use a physical planner to map out their day. Take 5 minutes at night to make your to-do list for the following day so you know exactly what is going on before you start your day. While you’re at it, reflect on how you envision tomorrow unfolding. Set the intention before you go to bed to help solidify your goal.
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every damn day: That’s right, even on the weekend. Getting your body used to the same sleep schedule is fundamental in Ayurveda. Taking advantage of doshic time (in bed by 10pm awake by 6am) will help you harness the natural energy of the earth to easily wake and fall asleep.
- Eat at the same time every day: Just like sleeping and waking should be done at the same time to establish structure, you should also eat at the same times. Making lunch your biggest meal of the day and going lighter at breakfast and dinner will help stoke your agni (digestive fire). When our digestion is sluggish, so is our energy, so paying attention to how we fuel our body and digestive fire is important. Focus the majority of your meals on in-season and fresh produce to gain the most prana (life force/energy) from your meals.
- Exercise. Every day: Yes, try to find time to every day for movement, especially if you sit for most of the day. Now, before you try to find time for a gym session every day, consider that every day and every mood is different. If you’re on the edge of burnout, a HIIT session at the gym probably sounds like death right now. Honor your feelings and remember that movement can mean a walk around the neighborhood, dancing to your favorite playlist, going for a bike ride or even vigorous cleaning of your house – anything that gets the heart pumping and the blood circulating is doing your body good. Plus, you’ll be able to bask in those beautiful endorphins afterwards!
Find Pockets of Time to Unwind
Not everyone can make the commitment to taking time off for a vacation, and burnout rarely respects our available vacation days at work. So what’s one to do when they need a break but can’t take one?
Find pockets of time. While it may not be as relaxing as a full on vacation, learning the habit of carving out pockets of time for yourself will serve you in the long run. Don’t wait until you’ve run yourself into the ground to start taking time for yourself, start with these small, actionable steps that will help heal your mind:
- Create a mindfulness practice: Finding time for a daily mindfulness practice will help you schedule a small pocket of time in your day that is totally reserved just for you. This is self-care at its finest and it’s necessary to ward off burnout. Meditation is a great way to help tune into yourself and help let go of all the thoughts in your brain that don’t serve you. Journaling is also an excellent activity that can unburden the mind. Much like the tips to structure your day, your mindfulness practice should be a part of your everyday life; schedule the time if you must.
- Honor transitional time: Scheduling yourself back-to-back is a surefire recipe for burnout. While you might be tempted to jam your day full so you can get it all done, finding transitional time in between each activity can help you find more energy. Stretch after a workout, allow yourself time between appointments or simply take 5 minutes between tasks to decompress.
Your Secret Allies
Sometimes we all need a little help as we work to find our healthy balance. Here are some natural herbs and supplements that will help you find more energy:
- Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic herb that helps your body deal more effectively with stress. Particularly helpful for those suffering from anxiety, Ashwagandha helps promote a calm mind and more energy. Find it in My Healthy Mood.
- Triphala is an herb that can help the body deal with stress, clear out toxins and support a healthy bowel movement. Supporting a healthy digestive and waste elimination process will help your body gain more energy by removing the toxins and maximizing nutrients. Find triphala in My Healthy Digestion.
Avoiding burnout isn’t always easy, but creating healthy, balanced habits will help give you a lifestyle that naturally supports more energy and allows you to reclaim more “me” time.