As the New York Times reports, occupational burnout is more than just a dire need for a week-long vacation or month of unplugging; it’s actually a major health concern for half of America. Two decades ago, that number was at 18 percent. What happened?
“We’re shooting ourselves in the foot,” Ms. Seppala told the NYT. “Biologically we are not meant to be in that high-stress mode all the time. We got lost in this idea that the only way to be productive is to be on the go-go-go mode.”
Related: Fighting Through Running Burnout
The common work stressors are all culprits for contributing to this elevated level of zonk: unrealistic, tight deadlines; unpredictable schedules and their conflicts; more responsibility with less pay and even less guidance. The list can go on and we can all appreciate at least one item on it.
But for runners, the common signs for burnout in the work environment seem to be interchangeable:
- Feeling emotionally drained and mentally unwell. Sounds like the final days of marathon training to us, or perhaps the aftermath of putting way, way too much pressure on ourselves to achieve that PR or that distance.
- Feeling alienated by your colleagues and bosses, or under-appreciated. While perhaps this isn’t a direct translation, succumbing to the social media pressures of always being on can feel incredibly alienating when you’re not keeping up with the others in your newsfeed.
- Feeling not your best. No explanation needed here.
Fortunately for runners that are feeling a bit underwhelmed with training energy, some tips to combat this issue in the workplace also apply within our sport:
- Focused breathing. Aka deep breaths. When running’s got you worked up and exhausted, putting focus on those ins and outs can help you slow your mind and heart rate when you need to.
- Frequent breaks. Need a walk break? A week break? A world break? Taking some minutes to walk in between strides, or allowing yourself a week off from training—hell, give yourself an entire season off—can definitely help up your enthusiasm and energy to run again in the future.
- Ergonomic setups. If you’re running…then running straight to the office, keep that space looking and feeling nice for you.
- Mentors. Read: coaches.
- Other hobbies. As much as we love to run and love the idea (maybe) of having that be our main BAE all the time, it’s not feasible for most of us. You need other interests to complement your training and your running mind.
Next time you’re feeling that pull to lay on the ground rather than run one more step, give one of these types a whirl and report back!