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Interview: How to Get Off of the Stress-Fatigue-Burnout Wheel

By Ariel Hoffman

Ariel Hoffman of Ariel Hoffman Total Body Wellness is a mother, wellness coach, master fitness trainer, and entrepreneur, and she’s here to drop some knowledge on us about how to break free from the horrible cycle of stress-fatigue-burnout. What is it? What does it look like? And how can we begin to take a practical approach to get off the wheel and feel great.

Grab your notebook, there’s a lot of info you’ll want to remember!

What does chronic fatigue look like, and what can we do to start to correct it? 

Chronic fatigue has many symptoms, and we all experience them with different intensities. The main ones I see with clients the most are:

  1. Lack of focus or cannot think clearly
  2. Extreme mood swings and anger
  3. Intense sugar and caffeine cravings
  4. Low energy most of the time
  5. Weight gain

Start by recognizing that it’s okay to feel this way and that you can start small.

How are stress, fatigue, and burnout all connected? We hear about them all the time, but it’s essential to recognize that one of these issues can cause a whole host of other issues.

I recently led a workshop where I spoke about this, and I explained it like this:

Think about stress, fatigue, and burnout on a wheel. It doesn’t matter where you are on the wheel, but if you are experiencing one, you are most likely experiencing the other one or two as well. Once you are on that wheel, it’s in motion and spinning, and it can be difficult to figure out how to get off or stop.

But the good news is that the same happens in reverse. So if you start working on or correcting one thing, then the other one or two will most likely follow or be easier to fix as well.

There’s so much information out there on wellness plans. It’s information overload. How can mothers sort through all their options confidently? Are there specific things we should be looking for if we want to subscribe to a health plan and/or find a health coach? 

 Yes! Absolutely. Being overwhelmed is real and can be completely paralyzing. Believe me; I know that firsthand.

Don’t follow the fad exercise programs and diets. Before you sign on to any new program or health plan, get to the core of your challenges and make sure it’s something you can actually do and feel confident in your commitment to the work.

Look for programs and experts that offer support and resources to get you through the program and beyond. You can also look for group programs, classes, or workshops that help with accountability and motivation.

When it comes to fitness and nutrition, make sure to include activities that give you joy along with the necessities that are required when getting healthier, stronger, and more energized. Finding this balance is crucial because it will help you stick to the new habits you are forming.

How can women, especially mothers, feel like enough?

First of all, we all need to stop questioning whether or not we are enough. You can do that by acknowledging that we are enough just the way we are. I know that can be hard to do sometimes. But remember that we are freaking amazing! Our brains and our bodies are amazing! We make other humans! We nurture and take care of these little humans in the best way we can.

I grew up with a very unrealistic set of expectations which drove me to have a perfectionist complex. That led me to the not enough complex. I don’t believe in perfection anymore. There’s only better and how we can do that to the best of our abilities with what we know and what we have.

I think better questions or mantras to go by are these:

“How can I improve?”

“What would I like to do better?”

“How can I do that today?”

Whatever capacity you have that day and whatever you get done that day is enough. Then pat yourself on the back and compliment yourself in place of self-deprecation.

Another way to change your mindset is to figure out where you can start. In my coaching program, this is what I call the assessment phase. You have to assess where you are in life right now in terms of capacity, time, and true effort available so you can then set realistic, achievable goals.

Here’s an article I recently wrote:

And remember, you are always enough.

What kind of mindset do we need to adopt to break free from the burnout, stress, and fatigue we’re constantly feeling?

The first step is to recognize when you are experiencing some of the symptoms I mentioned.

The next step is only to pick one thing to tackle first. Take fatigue, for example; the first question to ask is: “Am I getting enough sleep?”

If the answer is no, then work on setting a goal to get more sleep over 3-4 weeks.

Just focus on that and see what happens! You might surprise yourself and feel motivated before the four weeks are up. Then you layer on from there. Once you feel a bit more energized, you may have some energy to exercise a bit more (which is one of the BEST stress alleviators!) Now you are not only feeling more energized, but you are also feeling less stressed.

See how that can work?

Think about it in terms of the previous stress-burnout-fatigue wheel. Instead, you are now on a new wheel: the wheel of more energy, more focus, and better mood, prioritizing your health first so you can be the best for everyone and everything else.

This is what I call my layered approach, and over time, you can get off of that spinning wheel, and it may be easier than you thought was possible. Head over HERE to download my free Wellness Kickstart Guide that has a few tips that can help you start eating healthier on the go and moving your body in ways that can alleviate stress and fatigue.

Learn more about Ariel and her programs!

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