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Avoiding Burnout While in Recovery

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Recovery is a time of growth, learning, and new experiences. After becoming sober, many people evaluate their lives and begin to address issues that troubled them in the past. One of these common problems is burnout. Burnout is when you push yourself too hard in any given aspect of life, and it begins to exhaust you. Even if it is an activity you love doing, it may become uncomfortable if you overdo it. On top of this, burnout has physical consequences that should not be overlooked when considering your health. 

Burnout affects everyone at some point. Since the mental and physical health of those in recovery is so vital for success, it may be something to consider working on. 


The most common form of burnout is related to overworking. After getting out of treatment, you may be excited to return to work. This excitement can be a positive and uplifting experience; however, it can become a problem if left unchecked. Overworking may also result from a feeling that you have to make up for lost time, and therefore have to push yourself. 

Research has shown that overworking can be a detriment to your health in various ways. First off, working long hours (over 40 per week) has been linked to increases in rates of depression and anxiety. Overworking has also been linked to health problems such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, and trouble sleeping. 

However, the statistic that may be the most important for you if you are in recovery is that overworking has been linked to increases in alcohol consumption, smoking, and physical inactivity. In men, the increased rate of drinking was over 30 percent. 

These adverse health effects occur for a variety of reasons, although the most glaring one is stress. Even if you feel like you enjoy working long hours, putting that much pressure on your body will take its toll. The physical signs of excessive stress are trouble sleeping, exhaustion, headaches, chest pain, and digestive issues, among others. 

The mental symptoms can include irritability, anxiety attacks, depression, and a persistent feeling of pressure. Although not all burnout situations turn into severe stress, they can get there if changes are not made. An article can be found here that discusses causes, effects, and remedies for stress. 

Burnout With Recovery Itself 

Recovery is an important phase in your life that should be treated with the utmost care. This is a time where you are making significant life changes to improve your mental and physical health. 

When you consider putting your best effort into something, you might imagine yourself working hard and all the things you would like to achieve as well. Having this kind of mindset can be very positive, although it is beneficial to consider what “utmost care” really means. Utmost care is not pushing yourself too hard and burning yourself out; it is achieving a balance that allows you to move towards your goals steadily. 

If someone you loved asked you for advice about what they should be doing to care for themselves, almost nobody would advocate for pushing themselves too hard. Unfortunately, many people have this mentality with others and not themselves. Often you might be too harsh on yourself, but would never dream of treating others you care about that way. 

It may be helpful to start thinking of yourself as someone you are responsible for taking care of. Having the drive to improve is a tremendous force that can change your life for the better. Taking some of that energy and devoting it to self-care and patience may be the difference between successful growth and burnout. 

Find a Balance 

Finding a balance in life is vital for avoiding burnout, especially in recovery. How each individual goes about attaining that balance is going to be unique to them. However, there are some rules of thumb you can use to measure how you are doing. 

First of all, evaluating your stress levels can be an excellent place to start. If you notice that you are showing some signs of excess stress, taking a step back can help. Talking with a therapist may help you identify these signs. Talking with someone you trust may also help you see unhealthy signs you may not have noticed. 

Another question you may ask yourself is: How much time are you spending doing things you feel like you must do versus doing things you want to do? Working and making progress is undoubtedly important; however, recreational activities are as well. Spending time with a hobby or enjoying time with loved ones can be a great way to help you recharge your batteries and avoid burnout. 

Striking a balance between the different aspects of our lives can be challenging at times. That being said, experiencing burnout is far worse than the effort it takes to maintain that balance. The stress and demotivation associated with burnout are bad for anyone, although people in recovery may want to pay extra attention to this. Success in recovery and maintaining sobriety is vital, which means taking the best care of ourselves as we can is important as well. When seeking the tools needed to maintain this balance, speaking with professionals is a good idea. If you or a loved one are seeking addiction treatment, Everlast Recovery Centers is here. We not only focus on detox and medicated treatment; we care deeply about treating the mental health of our clients. With various therapies and relapse prevention education, we can give you the tools you need not just to succeed but to thrive. To learn more, call (866) 338-6925.

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