How to avoid burnout – Taking care of your mental as well as physical health

Posted By Melissa Bumstead on September 24, 2019

We always hear about physical recovery. We are sure to get enough nutrients, take the right supplements, take rest days off the gym, we even go see massage therapists, chiropractors, physiotherapists (and the list goes one) to make sure our bodies are staying healthy. But what about our minds? How can we make sure we are looking after our mental health just as much as our physical and how can we avoid burnout?

2018 was an amazing year for me. I competed in 6 shows all over North America. Ending with the prestigious Olympia. A week post Olympia I had a bachelorette weekend, and a month later my wedding. Sounds like a dream right? I should have been the happiest girl on the planet closing off a year like that. But I wasn’t. I was sad and unmotivated. And I could not understand why.

First it is important to acknowledge that life is always going to have stressors and we are always going to go through change. Good as well as bad. Something we forget sometimes is positive life events/changes are still stressors. They still cause a reaction in our body that alters our regular routine.

The second thing we need to acknowledge is the idea of post show blues. These are a real thing that a lot of us deal with. We have been working so hard for so long for a super specific goal and now that goal is over. So now what? There is a bit of an adrenaline dump after competing that can leave us feeling lost and thinking “What now?”.

Lastly, let’s talk about our nutrition and habits after a show. Our self discipline and restriction has been so intense leading up to our goal and we are tired. Our prefrontal cortex has been working on overdrive and just like any other muscle in our body it gets tired. We can now skip cardio and it’s ok! We don’t have to step on stage in X number of weeks. We don’t have to hit our macros or take our supplements… WE ARE FINALLY FREE!

Combine all these 3 factors and you have a recipe for a mental health burnout. Did you know that our gut health has a direct correlation with our mood? Start eating all those treats, sugar, processed food post show and you are going to go into digestive distress! This is going to effect your neurotransmitter function in the brain. Specifically those feel good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine are going to be at an all time low.

So how do we battle this? Remember when I said your prefrontal cortex is like a muscle and can it get tired? Well, just like a muscle, as we use it, it gets stronger. So keep practicing that self discipline. Make sure you continue to eat healthy post show and look after your GI tract and gut health. Keep taking your supplements and doing your cardio. Taking a prebiotic can really help replenish the good bacteria in your gut, decreasing leaky gut and increasing neurotransmitter function in your brain.

Looking back on 2018 I wish I would have realized that it’s ok to be burnt out, sad, and a little depressed after a big year. Even if it was the best year. Watch our for that adrenaline dump after big life events. And keep looking after yourself. Don’t feel bad if you need to take a break for your mind, body, and soul. And always keep your gut health a priority. Not only for your gains but also for you mind! Lastly remember, post show is hard – but you have the power and it is under you control to beat the blues!!!!

A national figure champion in Canada, Melissa earned her Pro Card by winning the 2015 Canadian Nationals Overall Figure category. Since earning her Pro Card, Melissa has forged a reputation as one of the IFBB’s most recognisable faces in figure, known for her uplifting, motivational content and stunning physique. In addition to her competitive credentials, Melissa is also a neuroscience student. Her goal is to get back on the Olympia stage and progress her career in the fitness industry.

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