There is a fine line between overreaching and burnout. This applies in so many areas. In sport, if you are focused on training, you probably have noticed that you push your body for a certain period of time and then the rest is how you get stronger. You even push through fatigue, but knowing when to stop pushing can be difficult. If you push too hard to for too long, you start getting worse and in extreme cases, your body breaks down.
In work life or social life, you might overplan or be overbusy for a short period of time. But this can get out of hand if it becomes the new normal. I’ve been there- and it resulted in burnout, wanting to quit everything, and getting sick frequently.
How do you reckon with the drive of wanting to do the work (even if you love the work) versus taking the needed downtime? How do you know that you have crossed the line before it’s too late?
Here are a few things I’ve found helpful:
- If you consistently have low motivation (like 7 days in a row or more), then it might be time to take a break.
- If you feel tired or weak during your physical training for more than 3 days in a row, it’s probably time to take a break or a super easy day
- If you aren’t sleeping well, are exhausted all the time, or are short and grumpy- take a break. Overtraining and stress disrupt sleep
- If you feel insecure about taking your foot off the gas, ask yourself why? And also remember that chances are you’ll be more efficient if you take breaks. There’s a lot of research to back that up.
- Need a routine to take breaks? Check out ultradian rhythms where you focus on a single task for about 90 minutes, and then take a break. A break does not mean scrolling social media, but going for a walk, gentle stretching, or talking to a friend. I’ll be dedicating a whole newsletter to this at some point!
The work IS the reward, but the rest is also part of the work!
Living a high-performance life means doing quality work, but making sure you also recover mentally and physically so you can get better!