Stretch and Rest

When was the last time that you stretched? I’m not talking about yoga or a refreshing, deep yawn after a good night’s sleep. I’m asking about your mind, body, spirit, heart, all of you. When was the last time that you stretched? We can get caught up in regular life – work, school, family – so much so that we forget to reach outside of our norm. Conversations about burnout have made me wonder if some of the burnout that we are experiencing is a result of not doing enough, as opposed to doing too much. Hear me out.

What happens when you get settled into any routine? You get bored. Whether it’s physical or mental, boredom creeps in and manifests in many different ways. In the gym, progress begins to slow or completely plateau. In relationships, the spark dissipates and distractions creep in. At work, the job begins to feel like a trap. As a result of the boredom, you may feel depressed, anxious, and/or unfulfilled by something that once brought you joy. Instead of excitement, all you feel is dread or exhaustion, not just with that routine, relationship, or job, but with life as a whole. I feel that it may be boredom-induced burnout and instead of quitting or giving up, it may be time for a stretch.

Change up the routine! If you stop noticing results in your workout routine, consult a trainer or nutritionist for guidance on what changes need to be made to get back on track. In relationships, try something new for date night. Schedule it so that it doesn’t get forgotten, add in conversation cards if it’s been a while since you spoke about something other than work or kids. Place the focus back on the people involved in the relationship instead of the distractions that may have crept in. At work, decide what you want to achieve in that role. Is it time to expand into a different role? Is there a skill that you would like to add to your resume to make you more marketable? Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.

On the other end of things, let’s talk about rest. I believe that boredom can lead to burnout but so can lack of rest. When was the last time that you disconnected from everything? When was the last time that you walked instead of your usual run? Had a non-business dinner date instead of a business meeting? Danced slowly through the house while sipping your favorite drink, listening to your favorite sounds? Have you been so focused on challenging yourself that you haven’t taken the time to rest and replenish?

This is the other side of burnout. You’ve pushed so hard for so long that everything in you is begging you to slow down and rest for a bit. Burnout isn’t sudden, it drops hints. Those workouts where you struggle to do your most basic moves or sustain an avoidable injury, could be caused by you overworking yourself. The brain fog during meetings, increase in lack of patience for people closest to you, and restless nights of sleep are all signs that burnout could be approaching and it is time to rest. 

Don’t mistake resting with quitting. Resting welcomes recovery of the mind, body and spirit so that you can proceed on your mission after the rest period has ended. I encourage including times for rest twice daily  – once in the morning before starting the day and once in the evening before bed. Rest doesn’t have to be laying around or doing nothing, rest is an act of replenishment. For you, that may be a morning walk, meditation/prayer, dancing with coffee before waking the kids or going to work. It may mean turning off all screens an hour before bed, being intentional about spending time with those you care for most, or reading. Including small acts into daily routines may help eliminate burnout as it allows you to find a flow in your life rather than fighting against time.

Now, what do you think about the combination of both lack of stretching and lack of resting? Not doing enough challenging activity and then not resting enough to replenish the energy spent. Let me know your experiences with burnout. How do you stretch? How do you rest? Essentially, how are you taking care of yourself in these burnout filled streets?