On burnout, breaks, and beginning again

Earlier this year, I was hyper focused on training for the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Race. I followed a training plan, I focused and ran and ran and ran. Things began to peter out and my mileage diminished. The last race I ran was in June, and honestly, I didn’t run for 99% of the summer. So, here we are, a month before my next race – a half marathon. We haven’t been running or training, and while  I still enjoy running, it’s gotten harder to get myself out on the pavement.

How my brain works

Which inevitably has gotten me thinking about burnout and breaks. Because this is not a new phenomenon in my life. I tend to get really interested in something, and then that goes away, pretty quickly. The “brain switch” picture was circulating Facebook a few weeks ago and I thought it was perfect. (I don’t know the specific home credit to this image. If anyone could help me, I would greatly appreciate it.)

There are a lot of reasons for this, but, I think what interests me the most is beginning again – or that thing called perseverance. What does it take to get me continuing doing something I like, to remain interested but to also know what my limits are – both to exceed them when I can and to scale back so as to not hit burnout?

How do I learn to balance the “OMG I WANT TO DO THIS NOOOOOW!” with the logical aspect of “I want to do this for a long time”?

I can’t tell you I have any answers. This is one of those tricky questions I’ve been rattling around my brain for years. But I can share three little steps I’ve learned, slowly, again and again, that help me during this process of new beginnings… whether it’s something you have done for your entire life or something you’re just starting.

Ask yourself, What do I want to do?

Ask yourself, What is the first small thing I need to do to accomplish it?

Then, do that first step.

Whether it’s putting on my workout clothes, or getting out my pen and paper, or removing distraction so I can sit down with my homework, or walking into the room where the meditation cushion is, the key to getting it done is to know what the very start is and go there. Not all of it has to be done RIGHT THIS SECOND. But, you have to start.

Putting it off doesn’t make it any easier.

What is the first step you need to take to get where you need to go?

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3 thoughts on “On burnout, breaks, and beginning again

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