It means going, going, going, going and then one day, you literally can’t think straight, there’s something in your head but you can’t remember what it was. You wake up in the morning and literally have to drag yourself out of bed and it feels like no matter how much you slam on the gas pedal, your mind is struggling “ugh! Ugh!” energy-wise and that’s BURNOUT. This could be adrenal fatigue, which is literally just burning your mind, body and emotions out. The biggest cause of this is not refilling or not refueling.
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What do I mean by this? Think of yourself as a high-performance vehicle and you’re in the Monaco Grand Prix. We fuel you up, rev that engine and the green flag drops – go, go go! You are flying around the track. How many laps can you complete before you start to run out of fuel? Depends on the type of car, but let’s say you are 15-20 laps into the race and all of the sudden you look down and the fuel gauge is starting to move towards empty.
What do you do? If you want to burn out, just keep going. Don’t listen to your pit crew. Don’t pull over for a pit stop. Don’t get any more gasoline. Eventually, you’ll find yourself quickly burnt out on the side of the track standing there watching all the other cars fly by at full speed.
If you see yourself or feel yourself starting to move towards empty, this is the first thing you must do:
1. You have to figure out how you’re going to gauge how full you are mentally, emotionally or physically. How do you gauge that? One thing to do throughout the day is to ask yourself 0 to 10 – Where am I? 0 is empty and 10 is the best you could possibly be. Maybe have a rule that says anytime you get down to a 5 or below you immediately stop, stand up, take a few breaths, take a walk, play your favorite music. Go out and find a way to fuel your mind, fuel your body, get yourself back up to a 10 and then attack the day again.
Now, you might be the type of person that thinks “I could make it.” All the signals are telling you to stop and you push forward thinking “I could make it like 10 more miles. I’ll be good.” If you are that person, make sure that have a daily ritual to ensure that you always refuel your tank first thing in the morning and you never leave it to chance.
2. Once you figure out it’s time to refuel, you have to figure out how you are going to refuel. How are you going to mentally refuel? Depending on your personality type you may be the type of person that needs ‘nothing’ time. Where you go somewhere and do nothing. You don’t think. You don’t move. You just sit there and do nothing.
You could be the type of person who needs exercise and physical activity time. You hit the gym, play some basketball, get your heart rate up, get pumped up and bam! You’re back, baby!
You could be someone who needs people/social time to get around a big group of people and in that group of people you talk to each other and share what happened throughout your day and talk about tomorrow. Talk about what you’re excited about and bingo, you’re full again.
So, if those relate to you, use it! If it doesn’t, find out what fills you up and do that!
Here’s another option – according to research, the top athletes in the world such as Venus Williams, Usain Bolt (fastest man on earth) and others all sleep between 8 to 10 hours a day. Most of us don’t sleep that much. We are told, if you want to get results you must cut down on your sleep. The problem is sleep is where all the magic happens. If you want to avoid burn out, get proper rest and get high quality rest. A very solid resource is a book called Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson. He gives you 21 ways to maximize your sleep, your mind and your body to regenerate. One last tip is simple. Daily meditation – not like hiking the hills in Tibet and sitting on mountains in ancient temples.
Download a simple app called “headspace”, it gives you the basics of meditation. It’s even great for business people who don’t like to meditate, download it and do the first 10 modules. From there use the techniques you learn every day to spend just 10 minutes meditating. If you do that consistently, it will help keep your cortisol levels down, keep your mind focused on the great stuff and keep your body balanced. Also it will give your immune system a better chance of keeping you healthy, strong and fit so you don’t burnout.