Today’s post is all about recovery burnout.
Many people feel totally exhausted with recovery – constantly having to challenge themselves, go against all the food rules, face fears, resist urges and deal with the fears and negative thoughts that come up.
Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid facing all of that in recovery… BUT there are some things you can do to make sure this process can get easier over time and it can be as fast as it possibly can be so you don’t risk burning out.
What is recovery burnout?
Recovery burnout can happen to any of us. Recovery is very hard, it requires going against your brain, doing the opposite actions, facing your biggest fears, and constantly challenging the negative thoughts.
I always say that recovery truly feels like a job that you can never take a break from.
And since its so challenging many people may feel totally exhausted and burnt out. They feel they have no energy left to continue.
Why recovery burnout happens?
One of the most common ways recovery burnout happens is that we take things too slowly, we don’t want to get too uncomfortable, we try to avoid big challenges.
Very understandably because we don’t want to deal with all the fear, shame, guilt that may come when we truly challenge ourselves in a big and bold way.
But the reality is that this way you really risk recovery burnout. Because doing little challenges here and there is (of course better than nothing), but it’s still scary, it’s still uncomfortable, it’s still tiring.
By taking only little steps it means you will prolong recovery and make it much longer than it needs to be. Which means having to deal with those scary and uncomfortable feelings for so much longer.
And if you start with the little and less scary challenges first it means the challenges will get more difficult and even scarier as time goes by. The recovery challenges and fears are then growing and getting bigger, not smaller.
So if recovery takes much longer and challenges are getting only bigger… it’s a recipe for burnout. This way of doing recovery is like slow torture.
How to avoid recovery burnout?
As I said in the beginning that unfortunately, there is no way to avoid facing your fears or the discomfort in recovery. If you want to recover you must go through your fears, do the opposite action, be willing to sit with the discomfort.
But instead of doing it in the slow torture way, where you only challenge yourself a little bit here and there, you instead go “ALL IN”. You jump straight into the discomfort and start to take big bold steps.
So this means that you…
- Start to eat to your full hunger. Especially eating to your mental hunger and follow your extreme hunger. Not tip-toeing around your hunger, trying to control it, and holding back. That is a recipe for burnout.
- You cut out all exercise cold turkey. If exercise has really been compulsive behavior to you physically and mentally you need to stop all exercise. Instead, you rest and find other more helpful things to focus on.
- You start challenging your fear foods starting from the foods that are the scariest. And you add them in consistently. If you start from the biggest fear foods first it means over time the food challenges will get easier.
- You start breaking all food rules consistently. Not allowing yourself to only break one rule a day and then the rest of the day give in to any other old compulsions. I know it won’t be perfect, but you must eventually root out each and every one of your old behaviors.
- You learn from each of your setbacks and keep going. Yes, it will be very challenging but you can’t go back and forth with recovery and relapse any time you feel uncomfortable. You must learn from them and keep going, day after day. If you go back to restricting any time you feel discomfort you can endlessly drag out this process. Consistency is so important to not make recovery longer than it has to be.
And the good news is that doing recovery this way, the “all in” way, is that even though at first, it’s much scarier and requires much more discomfort and challenging, then in the long run things WILL start to get easier, the challenges will get easier, the brain will start rewiring and there will be fewer fears, less discomfort.
So the best way is to go “all in”, eat to full hunger, stop exercise, challenge all the food rules and fear foods with big bold steps and stay consistent. This will give you much faster results compared to doing it slowly with only little challenges here and there and then risking burning out and feeling completely drained and still not recovered.
See my video about “Should I recover fast or slow?”
If you want to learn more about recovery and how to do it step by step then please read my book “BrainwashED”
You can check out my recovery online courses HERE.
Or you can book a one-off coaching call with me HERE.