What Should I Eat When I Feel Burntout?
4 Food Tips to Heal Burnout
The catastrophic events that we have endured these past years has led to a flooding of do-or-die emotions, resulting in what I am seeing the most in my office these days: exhaustion and burnout.
With the blurring of work-life boundaries and the urgent call-to-action to protect our families, communities and jobs, we have been left reeling and uncertain of things that we were once certain about. Will the sun even rise tomorrow?
Doubt and fear have triggered our fight-or-flight response into overdrive to help us do the very thing we were born to do: survive. We have been pulled away from leaning in to what we were meant to do and instead we are overwhelmed by our survival narrative.
Layered into our deep evolutionary instincts of survival is our modern-day mindset of produce all the time. We normalize the feelings of fatigue when we work hard and achieve, because although our bodies scream “no”, we receive external affirmation of a job well done. So, as hungry creatures designed to pursue gratification, we endure for continued applause, even at the expense of our health.
So, what’s become of our accumulated global trauma? An unrecognizable shell of what we once were. You recognize that you are no longer the best version of yourself and crave feeling the energy and motivation you once had to engage with life. How do you start to heal burnout and reclaim your health when are you too toasted to start?
Think of healing from burnout like animals awakening after a long hibernation. Stretch, yawn, and move with patience and tenderness. As the days lengthen with light and hints of warmth are in the air, you may feel your energy and motivation start to shift, making the idea of doing healing activities do-able.
If you are feeling “sick-and-tired” of feeling sick and tired, then I have four food tips that are quick and simple to those suffering from burnout and fatigue:
4 Food Tips to Heal Burnout
Tip 1: Eat three meals per day
Yes, you heard me. No fasting. Fasting will increase cortisol production (stress hormone) which is great for some to initial fat loss however, those of us suffering from stress overload, fasting may work against you even if you are trying to shed some of those pandemic pounds. Skipping meals might also leave you feeling more anxious and exhausted, which worsens burnout. Remember, coffee does not count as breakfast.
Tip 2: Eat protein and veggies at each meal
Start with a couple bites of your protein first before you eat anything else on your plate. This will anchor your blood sugar, helping to keep your energy stable throughout the day. This tip also helps you to priorities fibre and protein, so you won’t be just eating your child’s left-over sandwich crusts or fish crackers as a meal.
Tip 3: Hydrate
Feeling exhausted all the time has us opting for caffeine instead of the good ol’ fashioned water. Your brain, cells, and organs need hydration to produce proper energy.
The negative effects of burnout spill over into every area of life— home, work, and social life. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to your body leaving us vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu (or the Vid). Because of its many consequences, it’s important to deal with burnout right away.
Tip 4: Don’t skip the carbs
Carbohydrates have been shamed as the evil food group. You may not know this but by cutting carbs, your cortisol and ovulation hormones may be affected, resulting in leaving your body feeling more stressed and hormonally out of whack. Select your carbs mindfully choosing fibrous and dark coloured grains such as whole wheat, rye and brown rice. If you are gluten free, try quinoa, sweet potatoes, fruit, and squash or pumpkin. Eating some carbs will keep you feeling satiated and satisfied, preventing you from raiding the pantry in the late hours before bed.
Remember, a little goes a long way. Baby steps are still steps. Healing ourselves takes patience and time. Create space and self-compassion for learning, fumbling and trying again – after all, as long as you are living in this body, you have a lifetime of attempts to get it right.
If you are struggling to take care of yourself and/or do not know where to start, let us help. We have a circle of healers that can initiate this healing work with you.