Maintaining balance: the fight or flight response & avoiding burnout

[I had to post a pic of me climbing in a chimney because talk about feeling stuck/being trapped ha]

Burnout is one of those things you don’t understand until it actually hits you. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about work, relationships or sports, once burnout hits, it feels almost impossible to get yourself out of it.  When I was a paralegal, I’d watch baby lawyers burnout so fast that they either left the job or the profession completely.  I’d watch runner friends get obsessed with running then eventually just stop running all together because they just got so burnout on it.  I’ve been burnout before because of whatever…school, work, relationships, etc.  For the past year, because so many lawyers burnout early in their careers, I’ve been really cognizant of it.

The definition of burnout “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.” It also applies to sports and basically everything else.  I know I’m on my way to burning out when I feel myself having a “fight or flight response.” Generally speaking if there’s a conflict, I’m much more direct when trying to resolve things (fight response, maybe?). I’m very rarely in “flight” response.

However, recently, seeing a certain someone caused me to have such an adverse reaction that I tried to run away from this group of people.  LOL.  I honestly thought the area we were in was so big the group wouldn’t find me or my friend. NOPE- they found us. At one point I completely disappeared for maybe 30 minutes when my friend went looking for me.  I don’t have this reaction often (it’s been years since I’ve had this reaction) but with this group, it’s happening more and more.

The flight or fight response and burnout are different but I bring it up because in my experience they have one thing in common–feeling trapped in a black hole.  A friend I’ve known for 7 years was telling me how she just quit her job because she was so burnout but didn’t quit for months because her only social network were work friends. Admittedly, I was a little lost this fall when my law school group of friends split up temporarily (some had jobs, some didn’t, some passed the bar, some didn’t). Essentially, getting sucked into a black hole of law school, work, or whatever sport you’re playing only causes more anxiety/drama/conflict that you can’t feel like you can’t ever get out. I hate feeling as though I’m trapped with one option. In college I joined the crew team and immediately started dating someone on the crew team. Of course it blew up and I wanted to run away off the team but alas I was head coxswain and basically had no option but to see him every single day for the rest of the season. It sucked even more because we shared the same huge group of friends.

Recently, I’ve found myself in a similar situation. Except this time, I can actually remove myself from something or at least slowly back away that my sudden absence from everything doesn’t look so abrupt. Or at least taking a break from them for a while.  I always try not to keep things balanced, not overdosing one thing whether its work, climbing, or whatever else but sometimes I can’t help but feel a little trapped when I get really into something.

How do you all maintain balance and avoid burnout?

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