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When Passion Becomes Burnout

career self care wifa vox Jul 06, 2022

When Passion Becomes Burnout

By: Sarah Grace

Getting into new jobs that revolve around your passion, especially when it comes to group fitness and personal training, can be exciting, but what happens one day when you wake up and are no longer excited by that? Is that a loss of interest? Does that mean failure (absolutely not!)? Or is it burnout? When your passion consumes you and drains you of all your energy, here is what to do.

Know Your Passion

Take a moment first to reflect on what your current passion(s) is. “Passions” can be anything you desire to learn more about, spend time doing, or dedicate your resources to creating. Just because you are passionate about something does not mean you have to spend all your free, or even professional, time fulfilling it.

The term “passion” is oftentimes used interchangeably with “purpose,” which can be true for some people, but does not have to be for you. And that is okay - let go of the guilt that comes with those feelings. Just because you are passionate about dancing or writing does not mean you have to be a professional dancer or writer. It is okay to find joy both within your passions and outside of them. Give yourself permission to explore new things, get outside of your comfort zone, and build your schedule around multiple interests. Your “purpose” will come a lot more naturally to you when you provide the space necessary within your own life to explore all things you like and are interested in.

What is Burnout?

Now that you have had time to think about your passions and the things that get you up and moving everyday, let’s talk about burnout. When we are consumed by our passion and spending all our time on one thing, it can be easy to cross the line into burnout. For those of us in the fitness industry especially there is an extra layer here because most of the time we spend our days serving others, working odd hours, and not getting enough recovery between classes, workouts, sessions (or recovery in general), which also feeds our exhaustion and causes burnout - this is the unfortunate norm, so taking steps to break these barriers is important for our success and health! .

Burnout is essentially emotional and physical exhaustion where you feel so drained by something you are unable to dedicate any more energy or thought to it.

Signs of burnout include:

  • Difficulty in time management

  • Feeling like you have no breaks or time to rest

  • Anxiety, stress, and depression that feels prolonged and pervasive

  • Helplessness

  • Lack of excitement and drive, especially about things that once fueled those feelings

  • Stretching oneself too thin

  • Difficulty differentiating pleasure versus work

If any or all of these resonate with you, take a step back to assess what is contributing to those feelings and experiences, and what can be removed from your plate to lighten your load. Maybe you do not even feel you have the bandwidth to focus on your passions because everything else in your life has you rundown. Or maybe you feel that you are no longer interested in your passion because that is all you focus on. No matter what, today can be a fresh start in turning those feelings around!

Passion Versus Burnout

Salvage your passion and fight the burnout:

  1. Take a break. Literally - cancel your plans and do something different. Or, don’t do anything at all! Sit on your couch and turn on the tv - whatever helps you relax.

  2. Address and make changes when something you have to do brings you dread or looms over you like a chore. For me, this looked like dropping a fitness class I taught because no matter how much I loved my participants and the class, I was no longer excited about teaching it.

  3. Be at peace with the notion that you cannot do it all, and, honestly, why should you?

  4. Reflect today, tomorrow, and here on out forever. Assess when your passions are no longer what they used to be and determine if your passions are competing for your attention.

  5. Give yourself permission to stop, to be, to exist, to try something new, to do something different, to break or build routine. Literally just give yourself the validation and permission to do it!

If you find that your passion is now the main reason for your burnout or a large contributing factor, take a step back from it all and evaluate your goals/priorities. Set boundaries to make it all work and fit together. It is easy to get consumed by your passion, but if you want it to be there for the long-haul, like every good relationship it takes work, energy, and boundaries.