Feeling Tired? Maybe You’re Burned-Out.


Feeling Tired? Maybe You’re Burned-Out.

When I envision families with both parents working  I think of people who are working so hard for the things they love that fatigue is an every day experience. I think of people so devoted to their passion, so creative and gifted and self-less that I feel hope for the world.

I think of Bob Geldof of Live Aid, the musician who created “We Are the World” and raised millions for famine relief in Africa. But, I also remember the headlines reporting his exhaustion, hospitalizations, and financial difficulties.

Is saving the world and raising a family the same thing? I think it is.

Let’s talk about burnout. Burnout is the bane of the supremely motivated, the ruin of the best people and ideas in the world. The truth is that, creative thought is limitless but the body, which includes the brain is not.

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There are limits, you must acknowledge them, be aware of them, plan for them, and pay attention. It’s a perfect Yin and Yang relationship; it’s a natural model for creating a family, building balance, feeling alive.

Guess what? I studied burnout in athletes for years. It’s an interesting phenomenon, burnout, if you look at physical symptoms they tend to be different for everyone.

Some athletes approaching burnout, ache when they wake in the morning, some see a plateau in their speed, some get insomnia and others can’t get out of bed.

What we know for sure about athlete burnout, is probably true for parents and families too; that while the physical symptoms varies the psychological symptoms are consistent for almost everyone.

This is what athletic burnout looks like: increased

1) tension

2) depression


4) vigor

5) fatigue

6) confusion

 7) vigor (reduction)

There is a loss of energy for goals, more frustration at set backs, and feelings of hopelessness, anxiety and confusion. I remember feeling this way in graduate school, again when training for triathlons, and then once again, when raising two toddlers.

You know what else we know? If you have experienced burn out at some point in your life you are 90% more likely than people who haven’t experienced it, to feel it again. Probably because you are the kind of person who ignores symptoms and pushes through every ache, pain, frustration, and roadblock without rest.

That my friends, is not a good thing.

We are a very, Go for the gold society, which implies go for the gold today.

But, I would suggest that you go for the bronze, then the silver, then the bronze and work there for a while. Then you will see the silver and the gold prize in the not so distant future.

That’s a very un-American policy I know, but I’m not un-American. I’m pro- body, which means I might have to take a nap during my daily save-the-world agenda. I might have to go for a walk to a farmer’s Market, snack on some pea pods, shut my computer off and plant some flowers.

When should you do these things? Before you start to feel like an athlete who can’t bear to jump over the next hurdle. Because, if you can’t bear to jump the next hurdle you will never be able to see the gold.

And Remember this:

peanut red blanket



  1. Rebel Sowell on August 20, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I’m there, sister. I’m a struggling every day to write a simple paragraph. I’m so tired I can’t sleep when I try to take a nap. I try to quit smoking, then give up because I don’t have the energy to continue the fight. I know this will pass, but it’s frustrating. I need a nice vacation. I think that would do it. By the way, reading your book was my mini-vacation. It made my day. Keep up the good work.
    Love and peace.

    • Ann Garvin on August 21, 2014 at 1:53 am

      I’d do anything to help you if I could. It’s so hard, I totally understand. Every time you start and fail you move forward. I can’t imagine how hard it is but please keep trying.

  2. Diane Straka on August 20, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Very good points. Sometimes we forget to breathe while in the moment, step back and take it in. We are sometimes all about go go go.

    • Ann Garvin on August 21, 2014 at 1:47 am

      I’m as guilty as everyone and sometimes writing about it is a great reminder.

    • Ann Garvin on September 19, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      It’s exhausting isn’t it!

  3. How Not To Burn Out - Ann Garvin on August 18, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    […] Because, I can do better than just ‘not out of the game’. I want to be in the game and feeling good, not barely in the game coughing up a lung. (If this sounds familiar to you, well, I have I’ve written about this before Feeling tired, maybe you’re burned out). […]

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