It’s happened to all of us at some point; we’ve hit that point where our sport feels like a chore, going to the gym is the last thing on our minds, and all we want to do is lay on the couch for an entire day, or go out with friends, or eat the biggest tub of ice cream. These are all symptoms of something that I find is really normal within the athletic world; burnout.
As elite-level athletes, we are expected to show up and give it our all 100% of the time. But, of course, it’s not realistic for us to expect ourselves to be at 100% all of the time. Some days you may only have 60% or 80% to give. That’s normal and, for the most part, we can handle it with relative ease, brush it off as ‘just a tough day’.
But what happens when you start feeling like you’re continuously showing up with only 60% in the tank? What happens when you start feeling like those ’tough days’ are happening all the time? You’re feeling burnt out and probably starting to ask yourself a lot of questions: “why am I doing this?”, “what’s the point?”, “Why did I ever enjoy this?” etc., etc., the list goes on.
How do you break this pattern? Burnout often occurs in the first place because we’ve started to engage in some sub-optimal, unsustainable strategies. The easiest way to figure out what went wrong is to figure out what you’ve recently changed. What have you stopped doing or what have you started doing that isn’t really helping you show up as your best self?
For a lot of my athletes (and for myself as an athlete), the thing I most often stopped doing was my self-care activities like recovery after practice, taking time away from schoolwork, and sleeping well.
So, next time you’re feeling burnt out and notice those questions pop up in your head, don’t panic..it’s natural. Instead, ask yourself, “What have I changed recently that could be causing this shift?