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1. Feeling apathetic. You may think what’s the point?
2. You may not feel as clear in your thinking. You don’t process things as fast. You may have word-finding difficulty. Or you may feel like your thoughts are all over the place. Sometimes I will see people in my office who have this problem. They are stressed to the hilt and say they can’t focus. They tried someone’s Adderall and because it helped them dial back in, they think they have ADD.
If you are stressed you will not be able to focus similar to ADD. But if you take stimulants because you are overloaded and are having trouble staying on task, the stimulants will help you line up your thought better in the short term, but you will burn out in the long term. It takes a lot more to recover from full blown burnout than pre-burnout. So the moral here is if you are in your 30’s and have a high pressure job and are having trouble focusing, first look at what you can pull back from before assuming you have a new case of ADD at 30.
3. You can’t muster the enthusiasm for things you used to get excited about. Your favorite word may be “whatever.”
4. You have a low threshold for feeling negative about things. This was what I was talking about with my rant inside my head about how men don’t have to do anything. Women do it all so why expect me to work on some project.
5. You soothe yourself with unhealthy habits like drinking, over eating or in my case gorging on sweets. Maybe you stop exercising because you just don’t seem to have the energy to do it. This is the opposite side of the unhealthy coin. Instead of overconsumption of something bad in response to stress, you under consume something good.
What to do
Of course there are other signs that you may be getting close to burn out, but these are just a few to look out for. Then think about what may have been the tipping point for you. If they are temporary things that all happened at the same time, then you may be in the clear once those things are gone.
But it’s still worth evaluating how saturated you keep your life. If you are always at near capacity then it won’t take much to push you over the edge. Is there anything you can trim back on now? Maybe there are some things you to drop or some request you need to decline.
After streamlining your activity level, do more things to soothe your mind and nurture your body. This means carving out time to totally unwind with the following activities:
- Binge watching Netflix
- Listening to music with essential oils
- Whatever gives you pleasure
Binaural Beats are an excellent way to relax on demand. Binauaral beats is an example of music therapy. The music is heard at different frequencies in each ear. However, your brain needs to process the music as one frequency. In your head you hear the difference between the two frequencies. This new frequency or “beat” corresponds to brain waves you have when you are in a relaxed state. If I’m really stressed, I’ll put on headphones and listen to the music to help me relax. You have to wear head phones to get the full benefit of the binaural beats.
There are lots of tweaks you can make to help you relax. But we can’t forget that food is medicine. Medical science is moving in a direction of focusing on food as a treatment for mental and physical disorders. If we look at essential oils, acupuncture, yoga, meditation etc. as spokes of a wheel. Food is the center of the wheel. There will be more on this topic in future podcasts. Stay tuned.