How Bad Health Habits Contribute to Burnout
We all know burnout and stress can contribute to poor health. But what you may not realize is that your poor health habits might also be one of the contributors to burnout. There are many ways physical and mental health can affect our state. Let’s talk about how bad health habits contribute to burnout.
Bad Health Habits That Increase Burnout
- Eating a diet high in sugar and saturated fat
- Not exercising
- Not drinking enough water
- Thinking too much about the past or the future
- Not getting enough sleep
- Not setting boundaries
- Staying in bad situations
- Having a victim mentality
Burnout or Health-Which Came First?
It’s kind of a case of what came first, the chicken or the egg. Do you have bad health habits BECAUSE you are burned out, or are you burned out because your health habits are bad? It’s probably a bit of both, so let’s first look at what we have control over, and what we don’t.
We may not be able to completely eliminate every cause of burnout, but we can definitely control things that will help in improving it. Our physical and mental health are both dependent on what we feed it, both food and thoughts.
Good habits that prevent burnout
Make a Conscious Choice to Eat Better
Eating unhealthy foods too often is never good. Many of us get in the habit of just eating whatever is easy and available. Or we eat to feel better emotionally.
When your body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs in the right amounts, it causes inflammation, sluggish feelings, and even mental issues like depression and brain fog.
Before you say you don’t have time, or that life’s too short, I can assure you life will be a LOT shorter if you don’t take care of yourself.
This isn’t to say you can’t enjoy life’s treats, but the majority of your food should be clean and as close to it’s natural state as possible.
Speaking of which, I created a list of 22 healthy fast food options at some of the most popular chains to help you get started!
Exercise more vigorously for 30 min at least 3 times a week. Although doing something is better than nothing, vigorous means more than a 20 min casual walk or standing around lifting 5-lb weights for an hour.
Play a high activity sport,.or instead of just walking… try a cycle walking briskly for 5 minutes, then jog or sprint for 20 seconds. Repeat that cycle during a 20 or 30 minutes walk.
Provided that you have no major health issues, your body needs intense physical activity to trigger muscle growth. This includes your heart muscle!
The stronger your heart can pump, the more blood flow to your brain, the better you feel. By getting your blood really flowing, you are getting tons of oxygen and nutrients to your whole body. Plus, exercise releases endorphins, which help you feel happy and energized.
Drink More Water
Not drinking enough water is also how bad health habits contribute to burnout. Admittedly, this is something I struggle with, but it’s so important! After reading about it in several articles, I started making a point of drinking a full glass of water as soon as I get up. I can say that it actually did make a huge difference in how I felt.
Most of us tend to pour a cup of coffee and bolt out the door. Coffee actually has a diuretic effect–meaning it makes you shed water.
Imagine the effect on your body when it doesn’t get hardly any water overnight for 6-8 hours, then you get up and chug a few cups of coffee. Maybe you get around to your first sips of water around 10 am?
You’re body is probably pretty well dehydrated at that point. So start adding a glass of water to your morning wake-up routine before you do anything else.
Mindfulness is basically being in a state where you are focused on the present. Being present means you train your mind to be aware and conscious of your thoughts, emotions, and what’s going on around you at the present time. It’s living in the moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Having negative mental health habits is also how bad health habits contributes to burnout.
When I first heard this term, I thought it was just another “new age” yogi-type practice. Definitely not something I was interested in trying. I’m a more traditional problem solver.. you know, just overthinking about every possibility until 2 in the morning. Then start the process all over again the next day. Great strategy, huh?
Needless to say, the only thing I managed to accomplish was overwhelming myself to the point of inactivity.
That’s when I found a phone app that teaches different mindfulness and relaxation techniques. I currently do 10 minute guided meditations for 10 minutes in the morning. Let me tell you, it’s made a huge difference in my mood and focus during the day. I highly suggest you take 10 minutes each day to try it out.
Remember consistency is the key to seeing results!
Get 6-8 Hours of Sleep
I know it’s difficult to do this when you have to squeeze in all of life’s daily activities. But sleep should be at the top of the priority list. How productive can you possibly be when you have brain fog and doze off in meetings? Lack of sleep also has a negative affect on your mood.
This is a tough one for many goodhearted people. They somehow were made to believe that if they speak up for themselves, they are selfish and mean. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It is vital for our own self esteem and sanity that we advocate for our needs and desires.
Don’t let others, including those closest to you minimize your thoughts or feelings. Yours are just as important as theirs. Your time is just as important as theirs, too. If anyone is being selfish, it’s those who prey upon those with weak boundaries.
Take time to really reflect where you stand on things–how you want to be treated, what bothers you, what you will and will not tolerate. Once you’re clear, COMMUNICATE those details in a firm but respectful way.
People who have grown accustomed to you bending to their will might be very upset at first, but stay strong. Eventually they will learn to respect your boundaries. If not, you may need to distance yourself from them.
Also be willing to respect other’s boundaries. It’s a two-way street in order to develop mutual respect.
Change Your Situation
Whether the source of your stress is your job, your family, your finances… you might feel like you have no option but to just deal with the cards you were dealt. However, that is not going to make you your life any better. First thing you need to change is your mindset.
Too many times we get stuck in a pattern of “I can’t”. Instead the real mental block might be “I won’t”, or “I’m scared”. Because the thing about human nature is even if parts of our lives totally SUCK, we tend to stay stagnant. Why?
Familiarity. It may be hard, but at least I know what to expect, right? When you make a change, there’s always risk involved. And you don’t know exactly how that risk will pan out.
But if you always stick with what’s comfortable, you will NEVER reach your goals. You must stretch and grow to be fulfilled.
Get Rid of Victim Mentality
Remember, you are not a victim of your circumstances. It’s all in how you handle life’s setbacks. Although it may feel like the world is against you at times, it’s not.
Try to honestly look at your choices and see where you can do better. Don’t beat yourself up about them, but learn going forward. Every day is a new start!
We all have the freedom to make different choices. You just have to dig deep and find your courage to make a change. You may not be able to change things instantly but you can make small incremental steps that put you closer to your goals.
Sources of Burnout We Can’t Control
I’ve spent too much of my adult life trying to either change other people or trying to change for other people. And if you haven’t learned by now, I’m here to tell you not to waste any more of your time. People only truly change unless THEY want to.
Trying to convince them of anything only leads to conflict and disappointment. Nothing good ever really comes out that. Remember, you can only control yourself and your reactions. If certain people constantly push your limits, it might be time to reevaluate your relationship with them.
Although according to some, I guess we actually have changed it over the course of 200 years. We Just can’t change it today, and not by ourselves.
So you see, there’s very little that we CAN”T change, and a whole lot that we CAN. We just have to dig deep to find the courage and determination to do so. And we ALL have it in us. It’s just a matter of how much we feed our fears.
Although we might not be able to avoid stress, we can develop new healthy habits to manage it. By learning how bad health habits contribute to burnout, we can adopt new healthy habits to prevent it.
Take care and have a great week!