Anyone can experience burnout at one time or another. Whether burnout happens at home, at work, or in addiction recovery, it can make you feel like giving up on everything you worked hard to achieve. Experiencing burnout in recovery can be a warning that you need to do things differently so you can focus on your sobriety. You may need to take better care of yourself, reach out for support, or find new ways to spend your time. 

What are the Signs of Burnout in Recovery?
Burnout refers to the emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion that can occur when someone is dealing with chronic stress, overwork, or continued pressure. This can happen in addiction recovery because the recovery process is often demanding and can take a toll on an individual’s mental and physical well-being. Individuals in recovery are often faced with challenges such as:

  • Changing past behaviors and old habits
  • Recognizing and managing triggers
  • Addressing underlying emotional or mental health issues
  • Dealing with social stigmas surrounding addiction 

In recovery, a person may feel isolated or unsupported. These feelings can lead to increased stress and anxiety, contributing to burnout. Each person is unique and may experience burnout differently. But there are some common signs of burnout, such as the following:

  • Having a decrease in motivation or energy levels
  • Feeling overwhelmed or helpless
  • Experiencing a loss of interest in hobbies or activities that were previously enjoyable
  • Having difficulties with sleep
  • Feeling irritable or having frequent mood swings
  • Having increased feelings of anxiety or depression
  • Experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches or digestive issues
  • Isolating from friends or family

Ten Tips to Avoid Burnout
Burnout is a common experience for those in addiction recovery, and at times, it can be difficult to manage. Taking a break from your usual routine can help refocus your energy. You may need to take a few days off work, disconnect from social media, or take a mini-vacation to recharge your body and mind.

Whenever you begin to feel burned out, consider the following ten steps to help get you back on track:

  1. Practice self-care: Make yourself a priority and practice self-care activities such as exercising, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and relaxing.
  2. Set achievable goals: Avoid setting unrealistic goals that may be difficult to achieve. This can lead to frustration and burnout. Instead, set small, achievable goals and celebrate your success each time to meet a goal, no matter how big or small.
  3. Establish clear boundaries: Set clear boundaries with friends, family, and colleagues to protect your time and energy. Understand that you can decline an invitation or say no when necessary. If someone does not respect your boundaries, it is okay to distance yourself for your well-being.
  4. Build a strong support system: You will want to surround yourself with positive, supportive people who understand your recovery journey and can offer encouragement when you need it most. 
  5. Avoid triggers: Identify triggers that may lead to burnout or relapse and develop strategies to avoid them. This may include avoiding certain places, people, or situations.
  6. Engage in enjoyable activities: Participate in hobbies or activities that bring joy and fulfillment to your life. When you enjoy what you are doing, this can help to reduce stress and increase your overall mood and well-being.
  7. Attend support groups: Attend an addiction support group such as AA or NA. These groups can provide a sense of community, accountability, and peer support. You can find inspiration from others who have gone through addiction recovery by listening to them speak about their own journeys and ways they deal with burnout.
  8. Make your mental health a priority: Seek professional help if you struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. Treating these conditions can help prevent burnout.
  9. Get creative: Engage in creative activities such as art or music to help express your emotions and relieve stress. Creative activities can help you escape from daily stresses by refocusing your energy on something positive.
  10. Practice mindfulness: Practice mindfulness techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises. These can help you reduce stress and control your emotions.

In addition, if you are struggling with burnout and are at risk for relapse, reach out to your support network, such as friends, family, or your sponsor. They may be able to offer encouragement or assistance. You may also want to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor who can provide guidance, support, and strategies to prevent relapse.

We are Here to Help!
If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, we are here to help. Mountain Laurel Recovery Center offers a comprehensive range of tools and services to help you find a lasting recovery. To find out more about our Pennsylvania recovery center and how you can begin your own journey of recovery, please contact us today!