Burn Out. Let’s Fix This Already!
We have reviewed the symptoms of burn out, personality types, and the nuts and bolts. Now let’s get to fixing this! There are two ways to get started on the road to recovery. One – the biggest one – FIX YOUR LIFESTYLE! Two, get some outside help and follow up with BASELINE LAB TESTING.
IT IS ALL WITHIN YOU!
If you have some apprehension about getting lab tests, just know that 80% of getting out of burnout has to do with lifestyle choices. Getting proper sleep, eating well, creating quiet time, and exercising the proper amount will do more to heal you than any supplement or pharmaceutical prescription ever could! Let’s review:
Sleep. Get a lot of it – uninterrupted in a dark cool room. Go to bed early, the peak time for rest is between 9pm and 2am. You want to get as much of that window as possible! For more information see my article on sleep.
Food. Eat whole foods, and stay away from inflammatory foods like gluten (grains) and dairy.
Exercise. Limit your exercise to strength training 1-3 times a week with 2 moderate conditioning workouts mixed in. Any high intensity mixed modality training should be limited to less than 10 minutes. Sprinkle in some walking and other low intensity activities, and don’t be afraid to give yourself more than 1 day off to recover. The key is building yourself back up, not tearing yourself down!
Quiet time. I like to call this internal silence. Read, do art projects, meditate, whatever! Just get some uninterrupted “you” time!
OUTSIDE THE BOX (BOX=YOU)
If you really want a clean slate, we have to address the 20% you might be missing with a perfect lifestyle. We can determine this through some simple lab testing.
Adrenal stress panel. This is the first step in evaluating your total stress load, the foundation of most problems. I recommend it because it kills a lot of birds with one stone and zeros in on the amount of exercise your body can handle! You can acquire an adrenal stress panel HERE.
Comprehensive blood panel. The second test I recommend is a comprehensive blood panel with a full thyroid assessment. Robb Wolf has a great guide on what to ask for HERE.
Ordering your own tests. Did you know you can order your own blood tests? Here are two resources: Direct Labs and Private MD Labs. Your other option for ordering labs is to ask your Physician, who may or may not be open to your specific requests. Using a good Functional Medicine practitioner in your area is another option with the added advantage of having a professional evaluate and discuss the results with you.
If you are on your own and looking for a reference to guide you and answer your questions, Robb Wolf’s THE PALEO SOLUTION has a great chapter called “Tracking Your Progress” that can help you understand some of what you are looking at.
Things to consider if you are looking at the values of your own lab tests:
1) Lab results are a picture of a moment. They are like taking a snapshot of a movie, and your values will reflect only the moment that your blood was drawn. This is not saying the results are useless, but simply that they can change.
2) The reference ranges are based mostly on the average health using collective results, and can indicate that you are normal, when you are actually headed in a unfavorable direction. Seek professional advice if you are out of range or at the “edges” of the norms i.e., close to being outside of the healthy range.
3) Don’t self medicate based on your results. If action needs to be taken, find a practitioner!
Gastrointestinal (GI) TEST. Getting your GI tract tested for parasites, H-Pylori, Yeast and other critters is an assessment I recommend when your labs show general inflammation and your adrenal test is out of whack-BUT you are “on it” with your food and training. If you’ve got a bug that is not normal for your GI tract, you are dealing with a low grade infection. It is the last hidden frontier to investigate, and often an undercover energy sucker. Physicians in family practice order broad spectrum tests that usually come up clean. The tests I use are very sensitive and pick up one pathogen or another 80% of the time! A GI test can be costly, but you can treat much of the dysbiosis with herbs. If you’ve got a really mean bug, a referral to a gut specialist is in order.
RECOVERING FROM BURN OUT.
If you are reading this article you are already on your way to recovery from burnout. Doing your homework and taking action is the first step in healing. Much of your journey will be cleaning up your lifestyle and making it a lifelong habit. Lifestyle modification is what you will remember a practitioner for, not supplement recommendations! If you feel you need more help, don’t experiment, spend the money to get the labs done and eliminate anything that could be holding you back (which might require temporary supplementation). Be patient, generally it will take as long as it took you to get into burnout, as it does to get out of it! But once you do, my hope for you is fewer trips to the doctor and a life that is “Strong, Healthy, Happy”!