Are you at a point when all you can remember feeling is exhausted, every day is a fatigued fog and you simply have nothing left to give? Perhaps you’re lying awake at night thinking about everything but, in your day-to-day life, you have zero desire to engage with anything? If any of this sounds even vaguely familiar, you may be a victim of burnout.
But don’t worry! It’s not all doom and gloom, and we’ve got some good news! This is not a terminal diagnosis, and there’s help out there for you. Every day, people are overcoming and remedying their symptoms of burnout through various lifestyle strategies and supplementing with natural, beneficial products like CBD for a helping hand.
In this article, we’ll begin by introducing you to burnout and why you might be suffering from it. Then, we’ll briefly discuss some lifestyle changes folks are making to combat burnout on a daily basis. After that, we’ll explain all about CBD and why it might be a game changer for you if you’re struggling to get out of this state of existence. By the end, you’ll know all about burnout, how and why CBD can help, and you’ll even have a little info about which CBD products are best suited for you.
Mental Burnout Explained
If you’ve ever tried to research burnout, you’ll notice that there are a lot of definitions floating around and that many typically relate to careers, workplaces and jobs. And for good reason. According to Gallup, 76% of American employees experience burnout on the job at least some of the time. But more alarming still is that, from those surveyed, almost 30% report being always or very often in the zone of burnout.
The investigation from Gallup also found that the effects of burnout are wide-ranging, indicating people are 63% more likely to take sick days, half as likely to discuss approaches to performance goals with their managers and almost three times more likely to seek a different job. The consequences of unaddressed burnout are very real, both professionally and personally.
So, what exactly is burnout, then?
Burnout has been described by some experts as a combination of exhaustion, cynicism, and perceived inefficacy resulting from long-term job stress. Others have deemed it the emotional depletion and loss of motivation that result from prolonged exposure to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job.
What we get from these clinical and academic definitions are some key words, emphasized for your convenience. Take special note of the word stress because we’ll be coming back to it in just a moment. But, in the meantime, does any of this sound or feel familiar? Judging from the investigation performed by Gallup that we mentioned, there’s a good chance it does. Maybe now you’re asking, “But wait, can burnout come from other areas of my life as well? Because I don’t think my career is entirely to blame.” And the answer is “Yes!”
Recent research in the domain of parental burnout has shown it to be very real, with equally negative and similar results to work-related burnout. The ramifications of parental burnout include an overwhelming exhaustion related to one’s parental role, an emotional distancing from one’s children and a sense of parental ineffectiveness. The consequences of parental burnout have huge impacts on our families and homes, and investigation into this variety deserves equal attention and recognition.
Burnout vs. Stress
It’s important to understand some of the differences between what it means to be stressed and what it means to be burned out. Essentially, burnout is what happens after prolonged and unchecked periods of stress. So, while stress can contribute to burnout, they are not the same thing.
As an example, experiencing stress can result in highly reactive emotions, a sense of urgency, feelings of anxiety and a physical toll on the body. Stress is ever-present in our lives and, in the short term, when dealt with in a healthy manner, it is totally manageable. Burnout, on the other hand, is going to have you experiencing dulled-down and distant emotions, a sense of helplessness and feelings of depression, and it takes an emotional toll on your mental health.
Now, you might be saying, “But I’m checking boxes all over this example! Am I stressed or suffering from burnout?” Well, since one leads to the other, it’s not unheard-of for people to report having symptoms of both. But the longer that the stressors in your life are unrelentingly present and not dealt with, the further you’ll be pushed into burnout. In this way, feeling stressed for overly long periods of time is a big red flag that it’s time to deal with things or make some changes before it gets too serious.
Effects of Burnout on the Body & Mind
While burnout, as we mentioned, isn’t a terminal diagnosis in itself, it does need to be addressed. When left unchecked, burnout has the capacity to lead to some serious physical and mental conditions. According to researchers publishing in a journal issued by the Public Library of Science, burnout was a significant predictor of:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Hospitalization due to cardiovascular disorder
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Changes in pain experiences
- Prolonged fatigue
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Respiratory problems
- Severe injuries and mortality below the age of 45 years
Additionally, some of the psychological effects were reported to include:
- Using psychotropic and antidepressant medications
- Hospitalization for mental disorders and psychological ill-health symptoms
Given that laundry list of scary consequences, it’s probably likely that you’re thinking about what you can do to alleviate your burnout.
How to Light that Fire Again
As we’ve seen so far, burnout is very real. It can be the result of extended and prolonged stress in your professional and/or personal lives. And it needs to be dealt with to keep your physical and mental health top-notch. So, how can you achieve this?
Since burnout doesn’t happen spontaneously or suddenly, it’s a clear sign that you’ll need to make some lifestyle changes. You can start with simple ones like getting extra physical activity (30+ minutes per day), making use of journaling and gratitude lists and simply staying hydrated by drinking enough water. These little tricks will help you, body and mind, and they are easy to incorporate.
Over the long term, you’ll want to examine your eating habits and start to incorporate meal plans and prep times if you haven’t already. Another thing you’ll need to set aside time for are the important people in your life, and that includes you. Time spent alone can allow you to pursue an ignored hobby, read books or listen to podcasts that you’ve been putting off, or to simply take a nap to close any widening sleep deficits. And, of course, by showing up for colleagues, friends and family, you’ll be filling your own cup as you fill theirs, which is win-win.
Some big-picture burnout prevention methods should also be considered. Routine is great and should never be discounted. Keep it simple and silly and don’t overcomplicate things. Having a set routine introduces predictability and comfort into your day so you have less stressors impacting you over the long term and can better deal with emergencies. Setting goals both professionally and personally can also help guide you and keep a sense of purpose in your life. Just keep those goals: S.M.A.R.T.! That means, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
Also, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Often, folks turn to a therapist or counselor when they need some advice and an educated ear to give them some much needed support. Others are increasingly turning to nutritionists and increasing the use of supplements into their lives. And this is where CBD comes in.
Supplements for When Lifestyle Changes Aren’t Enough
Supplements can be an amazing way to introduce missing vitamins or nutrients, fortify immune systems or provide calming relief from the stressors of daily life. But not all supplements are created equal, and you should consult a healthcare professional or certified nutritionist if you’re unsure if a specific one is appropriate for you.
Depending on a variety of factors, including age, fitness level, pre-existing conditions and metabolic rate, you may require some additional guidance to safely administer and use new products. Like we said, the help is out there. Don’t be afraid to ask!
What Is CBD and How Does Your Body Use It?
It’s important to understand what CBD is if you’re going to appreciate the different ways it can help you combat burnout. Let’s start with the basics. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound naturally formed in and extracted from the hemp plant. It is one of many such compounds, known as cannabinoids.
Your body produces similar compounds, called endocannabinoids. And here, endo means inner or within. But what this means is that CBD can be used by your body with beneficial effects such as anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety and calming ones. CBD achieves this by engaging with your endocannabinoid system, which you can delve deeper into if you’re curious.
How Can CBD Help Burnout?
As we’ve seen, the effects of burnout can be felt both physically and mentally. Regular and consistent use of CBD for stress and burnout at the proper serving size to meet your own unique profile will go a long way to helping with both. Here are some ways that CBD could help you tackle burnout- (and stress-) related issues so you can experience a little relief.
A symptom of stress and burnout can be issues relating to the sleep/wake cycle. Insomnia at night and fatigue in the morning — the exact opposite of what you want! And, as we’ve discussed before, by introducing CBD to your body, you’ll be offering your endocannabinoid system something it can put to good use.
You see, CBD can attach to CB1 & CB2 receptors, found in your central nervous system and in your peripheral nervous system, respectively. The result for many is a change in the body with positive effects on the ability to fall asleep at night and be alert in the morning.
Issues with digestion often plague those in the early stages of burnout. The longer they continue, the more they contribute to your worsening state. Recent research indicates that issues related to our digestive system, including the infamous irritable bowel syndrome, can be addressed by manipulating the endocannabinoid system. In their study, researchers made links between the endocannabinoid system and the gastrointestinal system, citing the first as a regulator and driver of the second. It really all is connected, isn’t it?
A common symptom for those suffering from stress that leads to burnout is anxiety. And, according to Dr. Shannon Bennett’s personal experience, CBD is one solution that you may want to explore if anxiety is an issue for you. This is because the endocannabinoid system that we keep mentioning is deeply intertwined with your central and peripheral nervous systems. By binding with special receptors, CBD may provide calming relief and freedom from your anxiety.
But, as Dr. Bennet also points out, anxiety is a symptom of an underlying condition, so it’s best to use CBD for temporary relief to help out while you address the root causes of your stress and burnout.
How, When, and Where to Take CBD
We’re fortunate to be living in a post-2018, CBD-friendly country. That’s the year the Farm Bill was passed, making CBD legal for production and consumption across the United States. What this also means is that there are many CBD products flooding the market, with different options and new companies popping up almost daily.
We recommend products made from CBD isolate produced from organically farmed hemp plants. When backed by a Certificate of Analysis, this will be the best way to ensure you’re getting 100% CBD with zero THC.
CBD can be taken a number of ways, including sublingually, orally or topically. The most popular forms include CBD oil drops, CBD capsules, CBD gummies and CBD creams. Each will offer different advantages in terms of flavor profile (or lack thereof), portability and discretion.
When you take your CBD will depend on the form you’re using and why you’re using it. If morning alertness or improved focus at work is the aim, you’ll likely be taking your CBD dose earlier in the day. If a wind-down session is what you’re after, evening or night will be better.
And where you take it is entirely up to you. As we mentioned, thanks to the variety of forms available, CBD can tag along on even the busiest of schedules. Popping a travel pack of CBD gummies in your purse or bag is a simple and effective way to have a tasty serving on hand whenever the need might arise. And since they’re perfectly legal to fly with, you don’t even have to worry about getting on a plane with them.