The Perfect Recipe for Burnout

May 15, 2017

After getting promoted, I threw myself into nonstop dance classes, cross-training and rehearsals during breaks. I thought it would help me get stronger, but now I’m exhausted and unable to enjoy dance. Where did I go wrong?

—Broken Spirit, San Francisco, CA

It sounds like your promotion triggered an excessive drive to excel, but you’re not allowing sufficient time to rest and recover. This is a recipe for burnout. If you continue this rigorous schedule, you may also find that your technique declines and that you’re more likely to get injured. What can you do? While denial is the major coping mechanism for overachievers who develop burnout, you’ve taken a positive step by writing to me and acknowledging that you aren’t superhuman. Easing up on your regimen can help you rebuild your personal resources. I also recommend that you make time for activities that have no purpose other than your enjoyment, spend time with friends, and ask for help when you need it. Take several 15-minute breaks throughout the day. Not only will your body thank you, but you’ll rekindle your flame to perform.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at [email protected].