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How to deal with sports burnout?

Sport is a healthy activity that serves as an escape route for many people, but sometimes one becomes so engrossed in the activity that it ends up burning them out. This article will discuss how to avoid and act when burnout begins to settle in the athlete.

How to deal with sports burnout?

Last update: March 18, 2023

Everyone immersed in the field of sports should know how to face the burnout. This syndrome, despite the fact that it initially developed in the workplace, is much more frequent than is believed in sport. Therefore, both prevention and intervention are essential to guarantee not only performance, but also the health of the athlete.

He burnout It is a syndrome that refers to the state of mental exhaustion that a person suffers after enduring a state of stress so intense that it exceeds their resources.. As it is a syndrome, there are no diagnostic criteria, but rather it is made up of a set of symptoms. These are very varied, but the most common are: difficulty concentrating, indifference to people, aggressive behavior or a marked feeling of helplessness. In order to avoid this, we will now see how to deal with the burnout in the field of sport.

Prevention is the best weapon

Normally, more efforts are directed to the intervention of the burnout, this is once has appeared in the sportsman. However, it may be more valuable to direct those efforts towards prevention. In fact, prevention will not only avoid the costs of burnout when it appears, but in material and resource terms it involves much less effort and more profit.

Overtraining is a frequent cause of burnout in athletes.

When we talk about prevention, we are referring to primary prevention: carrying out actions among all athletes to prevent the appearance of burnout. The great benefit of primary prevention is that, since it is aimed at all athletes, it can be put into practice by all people within the field of sport.And not just the professionals. For example, one action that would be effective in preventing this syndrome is to ensure that athletes have sufficient rest periods per week.

Learn to detect the symptoms to be able to communicate it

As previously stated, the burnout It consists of different symptoms that are related. In this sense, several Models that account for the dimensions and factors of this syndrome, being that of Maslach and Jackson the most recognized and accepted in research and in practice. According to this model, the dimensions of the burnout are:

  • Emotional exhaustion: it is the basic stress component. It materializes in feelings of exhaustion, frustration and weakness in the face of demands.
  • Depersonalization: refers to an indifferent, apathetic, and even aggressive response to the environment. The environment is constituted not only by the space or the tasks, but also by the classmates.
  • Low personal fulfillment: a sense of low self-efficacy in the context and the belief that one will not be able to develop personally.

Having this first approach to the symptoms of burnout It is of the utmost importance, since it constitutes the starting point to be able to identify them in oneself, and later communicate them to the coach. This is equivalent to secondary prevention: the problem has begun to appear and what you want to avoid is that it escalates.

Find spaces outside of sport to be able to release excess energy

The lack of rest is one of the clearest factors for the development of burnoutbut it is also a problem of exclusive dedication. Not having other plots in life to be able to distract yourself or release excess energy is a guarantee of ending up burning. Whether at work, sports or any hobby, investing time in just one area of ​​life ends up taking its toll. On the contrary, having several plots to which one dedicates just enough time helps to be able to internalize that work, or sport, is only one area to which one can devote attention, but not the only one.

Developing personal projects outside of sports is a good alternative to combat burnout.

Perhaps for this reason the most professional athletes embark on personal projects beyond their discipline. These projects can range from practicing another sport to becoming an entrepreneur and setting up your own business. In any case, what these actions tell us is that enthusiasm, determination and effort are put into things that have nothing to do with the discipline itself, and, therefore, to continue feeding the loop of burnout.

Act before you get burned

Even though that him burnout It is a negative emotional state that can have negative consequences, the good news is that you can act effectively to end it. In addition, this action can be approached from both prevention and intervention. It will always be better to start by learning how to prevent itbut it also helps a lot to be attentive to the first symptoms and thus act as soon as possible.

Finally, it is also worth opening new horizons and thinking about new projects or facets to which you can also dedicate part of your time. We hope that all this has helped you to learn how to face the burnout in the field of sport.

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