Yoga against Burnout

Burnout affects people especially after times of great challenge and exertion. You can find out what exactly is behind this, what the first signs are, and how you can counteract burnout early with yoga.

In the 1970s, burnout – the feeling of being burned out – was first diagnosed among nurses in the United States. The feeling of overwhelming exhaustion is accompanied by feelings of emptiness, indifference, and helplessness.

At first glance, burnout is very similar to depression. But there are big differences: Unlike depression, burnout is associated with previous periods of great effort and with the feeling of having achieved little or nothing despite a lot of work.

Our nervous system needs balance

Our nervous system is designed to create an inner balance. Ultimately, we don’t want a permanently relaxed nervous system, but a flexible one. Flexible so that we can go into strength and exertion as well as relaxation.

People who are exposed to greater stress for a very long time must therefore learn to relax more and to really relax.

That might sound very obvious at first. But for many people it is a great challenge to implement. This is how burnout occurs at the first preliminary stage.

Signs: The two preliminary stages to burnout

If the nervous system is permanently overexcited, this is often regarded as a normal state and carried over into leisure time. As a result, these people run a half marathon after work, compete with friends for the higher number of points in a tennis match or practice all 6 Ashtanga series. This state of high sympathetic activity in the nervous system is not sustainable.

At some point it often happens that those affected are still in overvoltage at work – but tip over into undervoltage after work. This state is reached when you find yourself half apathetically between chips and red wine on the sofa and no longer really know which sequence of what is actually going on.

Burnout, the complete feeling of being “burned out” can now be the next step.

With yoga against burnout: How to get out of this state again

Depending on which direction you are coming from, the approach to relaxation can be different. It is important to find a realistic relaxation. Because:

Concrete tips for overvoltage

We cannot expect the competitive guy running a half marathon in his spare time to practice Yin Yoga directly instead. But you can see if instead of the very high challenge there is something that is a little less active and that ultimately leads to more relaxation.

Maybe it’s first the easy run after work, then a few moving asana sequences with a high level of mindfulness (e.g. sun salutations combined with a few balance postures ) before you can turn to regenerative asanas. Postures are suitable here where one is supported and can let go: z. B. a supported Viparita Karani ( legs up against the wall ) or the child’s posture with support for the head.

But not only the outer shape, the inner attitude is also decisive: Just recently a burnout candidate came to me for an individual lesson with the aim of “being able to do all asanas perfectly”. So it is absolutely essential to get more feeling and to experience the attitudes from the inside, instead of throwing oneself into a new competitive project with the outer form.

Concrete tips for undervoltage

On the other hand, if one tends to sink into apathy after work, it is important to limit this period. Maybe then it’s just one episode of a series. And then it’s about finding a conscious relaxation in the often quoted bathtub, with a good book or in mindful yoga practice.

A short, guided Yin Yoga practice (e.g. Chill-Out Yin Yoga ), also combined with a guided meditation, is suitable here. Over time, when you have found your way from exhaustion to more relaxation, more moving asana sequences that are suitable for beginners may also be suitable.

If you want to incorporate relaxation rituals into everyday life, it can be helpful to start with instructed Yoga Nidra or other instructed relaxation techniques. Over time, it becomes easier to find relaxation yourself in everyday life: be it with the conscious enjoyment of a cup of coffee during the lunch break or the feeling of the sun on your skin after work. Mindfulness is a fundamental requirement. It helps you to recognize your own overstrain and exhaustion signals at an early stage and to act accordingly.

The most important thing is to take small steps forward

If you want to start a yoga practice from this place of “I can’t anymore” and “It’s all too much”, then you have earned a lot of recognition for this project alone!

Here it is necessary to take very small steps and be kind and compassionate with yourself. It can also be helpful to get support, e.g. B. in the form of a friend with whom you practice together.

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