Read the transcript
(0: 00:47.4) AS: Welcome to Season 3, Episode 4 of Insatiable: Recognize and Recover from Burnout. Today, everybody, we have a very special guest. I’m not going to tell you who it is. I’m going to try to keep the tension for all of two more minutes. My grandma was always really bad at keeping surprises and I think I inherited that from her if that is possible to be a genetic thing.
So today me and my very special guest, we’re going to talk about the mental side of burnout. There is obviously a physical component to burnout and we’ve done episodes on adrenal fatigue, your gut health, your hormones – all that stuff. But today we’re going to look at how we burn our own selves out mentally, and me and my special guest are going to talk about our own personal experiences with burnout.
I’m not going to lie, I felt a little bit of a vulnerability hangover after I shared some of the stuff, because I didn’t want it to be taken out of context. I thought like I need to explain more, but you can just listen to it yourself and hopefully my intentions were communicated.
We’re also going to talk about what I call compare and despair that often fuels burnout and thus being so busy and feeling like we can never get ahead. Lastly, we’re going to share some ideas for how to stop feeling like life is just happening to you and that you can’t keep up. I hear the word overwhelm more than I ever have in my entire practice of 11 years. So how can we get out of that pattern so that we don’t burnout and we can prevent it or we can recover from that current burnout or feeling? We’ll talk about that today. I hope you enjoy today’s episode.
(0:02:20.0) AS: Oh my God! Insatiable listeners, we have one of our favorite guests ever on the show today. Before I get to the big reveal, hint: it’s Juliet.
(0:02:33.4) JB: Hello everybody. I’m back.
(0:02:37.0) AS: It’s so good. I missed you. We’ve got to catch up. We’ve got to tell everyone where you’ve been, getting married and all that fun stuff. Before we get there, just a reminder everyone, I have a brand new website and why that matters to you is there is an awesome quiz. Juliet took it. She’s going to share with us what she learned, or at least she liked it or not, on the website called What’s Your Comfort Eating Style? It is basically telling you what your eating habits say about you. Juliet and I are going to talk about burnout today, and a lot of what we’re going to talk about is based on these patterns that you can figure out on the quiz. Go to alishapiro.com and on the homepage you can take the quiz. So definitely check that out.
Juliet, welcome back.
(0:03:17.7) JB: Thank you. I’m very happy to be here.
(0:03:19.0) AS: What have you been up to besides your beautiful wedding? I went. It was gorgeous.
(0:03:23.3) JB: Yes, Ali and Carlos were there. It was amazing. We got married in September in Woodstock, New York, and it was very fairytale. We had the most sunny, gorgeous day. Apparently, every wedding there that whole year, they said had rain except for ours.
(0:03:41.6) AS: No way!
(0:03:41.8) JB: Yeah. They said every single Saturday was some sort of rain from January, and then up until our wedding was September 9th, and we had nothing. As you remember, it was just the most beautiful, not too hot, not too cold.
(0:03:56.5) AS: It was gorgeous. Everyone, I survived a hike, this epic hike with Juliet and all of her trainer friends and most of Unite. I made it.
(0:04:08.0) JB: You did awesome. Macky’s dad made it and he’s 71 and he was like leading the pack. It was crazy.
(0:04:14.2) AS: It was, and I was like, “Oh my God!” I was like, “Please let me survive,” and I did. I did.
(0:04:20.3) JB: Of course, the morning of my wedding, guys, I make everyone go on like a crazy epic hike, which I couldn’t even finish. I was super upset and everybody was yelling at me and mad at me because they were like, “You have hair and makeup starting in 30 minutes,” and I’m like, “”But I have to get to the top.” They’re like, “I think this is more important. You’re getting married.” So I had to turn around and let everybody else finish. It was really upsetting. So I could go meet the hair and makeup person.
(0:04:47.3) AS: It was awesome though. How has newlywed? I mean I know you guys have already lived together, but did it shift anything for you guys?
(0:04:53.8) JB: Yeah. I mean, not in the sense of like our current situation as far as like living together, because we’ve been together. We just had our seven year dating anniversary this past March, but I think just feeling more secure and stable because he is now my family and there’s something really powerful about that. I did notice a shift in myself just feeling really more empowered actually. I’ve got this rock of a person. He’s not going anywhere and there’s something really powerful about that, not in a codependent way, because I always have to remind myself of that, because I second-guess myself sometimes when I think about how much I love him and depend on him, because I still want to have my independence and never feel like if we weren’t together, would I be able to like hack it? Yes, of course I would.
In fact — But having him here being my husband is actually just makes me stronger and is making me grow exponentially as a person in a really strange way. Just having, like I said, that rock, that person that you know will be there for you no matter what.
(0:06:06.3) AS: Yeah. I think you and Macky have a very similar relationship to Carlos and I and that it’s not codependent and not like, “Oh, Macky is going to rescue you.” It’s that he’s going to be there as like a sounding board, as someone who can support you through the ups and downs and really encourage you and let you see how powerful you are yourself, right? Versus having you depend on him for other things. Interdependence is healthy, right? That’s like the nuance of like being able to like depend on someone and open up is really brave and like I’m opening my heart up even though who knows what could happen? Not just like a divorce, but loss and all that stuff. So there’s that nuanced territory.
(0:06:47.4) JB: Yeah, and I think coming from a childhood of a lot of traumatic experiences and having a mentally ill mother, and I think that there is something super powerful for everybody when it comes to having someone in your life who gives you unconditional love. I think that if you have that unconditional love, you can really accomplish anything. It sounds sort of like esoteric and like what do you mean anything, but it’s like you just feel more secure in life when you have that.
(0:07:20.6) AS: Yeah. It’s almost like — I always think of it as like a playground, like life is this big dangerous playground, but if you know that you can go back to someone who’s like, “I’m going to wipe your knee.”
(0:07:30.0) JB: Exactly. It doesn’t matter what you do, what you say, what failures, what accomplishments, I’m here to love you and there’s no strings attached to that love. It’s not a selfish love.
(0:07:42.4) AS: Yeah. I also think ritual is really important. I think that’s something that the wedding process can be really powerful of If you take rituals, are just so important. I think that’s one of the things that as we’ve become less religious of a society, church and religion offers a lot of ritual that reminds us of these thresholds that we’re passing and the intentions, and I think that’s one of the best things that we could probably bring back into our everyday society. I’m not a huge fan of organized religion, but I like the sense of community and ritual and mindfulness that often take place in various — And you can do rituals outside of —
(0:08:19.4) JB: Yeah. I think just in even shifting the conversation a little bit of kind of like what I’ve been up to, is just working on my business, Unite, and creating more of an experience with it, because people aren’t going places now to just buy things. They’re not just buying a gym membership. They’re not just buying a training session. They’re not just buying a nutrition program. What people need more than anything now because of disconnect with technology and social media is they need experiences. So people are spending their money on having an experience.
So what I’ve been working on with Unite is creating a more impactful experience for people when it comes to their work out and just our delivery of it, and we’ve always had a really good experience, I think, but it’s just even refining it and fine-tuning it even more now. So that’s what I’ve been up to and it’s still working on expansion with our company. We just — We just graduated. It feels like a graduation, believe me. We just got through year one of the second studio that we had open. So that’s a huge accomplishment and it’s going really well.
We have two studios in Center City, Philadelphia and now it’s just talking about continuous growth, whatever that looks like for us. I was talking to Ali, to be honest, this shit is hard. It’s really not easy. So we’re in this place right now with my business where it’s like figuring out, “Are we happy with where we are and just continuing to have these two studios and grow them, or can we go further? Is it worth it? Is it worth the grind? Is it worth the burnout?” as we’re going to talk about today. Yeah, so that’s where I am. It’s hard and rewarding I guess all of the same time.
(0:10:10.5) AS: Right. It depends on how you look at it, which is something we’ll get into today. Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about burnout. What we want to share with you guys today is kind of our own experiences, and kind of in the old school fashion of Insatiable, we’re not saying that we’re experts. We don’t have a Ph.D. in adrenal fatigue or whatever, but I think we’ve learned some really valuable things in our own experiences with burnout. So we’re going to share that for you today.
Juliet, for starters, when did you most recently find yourself in burnout and how do you define burning out?
(0:10:43.3) JB: Yeah, I mean, very loaded question, Ali. I would say that I am the type of person that says, “Oh! I’m so burnt out,” like every other week. It’s not even like a quarterly thing or like every six months. The nature of my job is extremely — It’s an extreme grind. Being in the fitness industry is not a 9 to 5 by any means. It’s up at five and home by nine. In the day, yeah, you’re going to have breaks. Often times I’ll be able to go home from 12 to 2 to take a quick cat nap or emails and sort of de-stress from whatever classes I was teaching or whatever training I was given, but at the end of the day, I’m on from that 5 AM till sometimes that 9 PM, or even 11 PM, because I get into a bad habit of when I get home that late, I don’t just go to bed, I watch television. I unwind.
It’s interesting, because sometimes — And I’m sure a lot of us find ourselves in this where we’re not really even unwinding. We’re winding up again, like we are stimulating ourselves with the endless scroll of social media or watching Real Housewives, something toxic on television. So for those two hours that you have, you’re not really using them positively. Then I wonder why I lay in bed and my heart is beating out of my chest and I feel like I just took caffeine pill before I’m trying to go to sleep.
(0:12:15.5) AS: So are you saying that the life of a trainer is not what the Instagram feed looks like? There’s a lot of grind behind the jumping up of some of these — I see some of these fitness people, they’re like, “Woohoo! “ They’re like jumping, they’re clicking their heels up and I’m like, “That’s what running a business feels like for me.”
(0:12:33.7) JB: Yet, I have to be honest with you. Like I feel like the fitness industry often is super dis-genuine and it really bothers me, and I’m going to cop to my Instagram sometimes not even being the most genuine as it could be as far as pictures I post of me with my sports bra on, being like — I’m honest when I’m saying like I’m having a great day today and whatever, but you’re a brand, so you’re looking to get people to follow you and so you have to be on brand and so that’s posting positive pictures of yourself with your abs and your toned booty or whatever it is. There’s so much of that in our industry that it’s not even genuine. It’s just what you have to do, and we all know that like, “All right. Did you post your video today? Did you post a picture today? Did you hash tag it properly? It’s a business.
(0:13:23.5) AS: Yeah, I think that’s important for people to realize too in terms of burnout, because I think I just did an interview with — You remember Katie Hess from Flower Essences?
(0:13:30.3) JB: Yeah.
(0:13:30.9) AS: Yeah. I just went on her podcast and we were talking about overwhelm and stress, and after the episode ended she’s like, “After talking, I really feel like the digital world is contributing to burnout.” It’s this feeling of like how do I keep up? Am I ahead or am I behind? Because you like go on and you compare and despair. I just came up with that, like I was chatting with her. I’m like, “It’s compare and despair.”
(0:13:55.6) JB: I love that. It’s so true, especially in my industry.
(0:13:59.5) AS: Yeah. What happens — Or like if you’re in — If you want to be in a different industry and you follow these people out of like “inspiration,” when you’re feeling down and really — It’s the same data, but when you’re feeling down and exhausted and you’re like, “How are people accomplishing all these?” or “They’re so successful and I’m not and I’m like sitting here scrolling in my dirty pajamas.”
(0:14:23.6) JB: I know. I’m like, “How do all these women, they have full face makeup on and their sports bra and they have just the right amount of sheen on their body as far as how much they sweat.” If I were to take video or picture of me like in my real work out, it’s not a pretty sight. No, it is compare and despair for sure and it contribute a lot to your exhaustion and burnout when you’re doing that. When you’re doing that, and I call it the endless scroll, because there’s something really powerful and brainwashing about just scrolling through social media and it becomes a way of numbing yourself.
However, then it causes more pain, like your numbing but then you end up feeling like you’re in more pain afterwards because you have all of these thoughts of comparison that you didn’t have beforehand. I know this to be true, because I recently started you can do this thing on Instagram where you mute someone if you don’t want — You don’t necessarily have to like unfriend them, but you can mute them so that you don’t see their posts anymore. Then all of a sudden I’m like, “I’m a little less stressed. I don’t see that particular person’s stuff all the time,” and because it is that powerful.
(0:15:33.8) AS: Oh! It’s designed that way. I have not been reading all of the articles that have come out about how Facebook basically sold all of our data.
(0:15:41.5) JB: Oh! Geez, yeah.
(0:15:42.5) AS: But a lot of these tech people are saying like we aren’t letting our own children on the stuff because it’s designed to keep you in an emotional state that will keep you scrolling. Like some of the stuff that Cambridge Analytica did during the election is like CIA level brainwashing. That’s what they said and that’s what’s happening to us on a different degree. It’s a continuum, right? It’s like keeping us in this state of fear or anger or comparison. So then it like it’s really like psychological warfare. I mean, I don’t want to get too dramatic, but it can hook us into that.
(0:16:16.4) JB: Yeah. But like getting back to it, like at the end of the day when you are looking at Instagram and you are looking at, let’s say, someone in my field who is a trainer, it’s a business. What they’re posting, those professional photos that are taken with a beautiful background and the perfect outfit and makeup, it’s because it’s marketing. That’s the marketing material right there. So you can’t really take it at face value to think that this person’s life is so perfect.
(0:16:44.6) AS: Yeah. Yeah, that’s for sure. One of the things that you are describing, and this is kind of how I describe burnout, is when you’re like, “I feel like I’m burnout after two weeks, or continuously,” is this idea of depletion, right? I think that’s when someone’s like really burnout. You can have a week where you’re like, “Oh! That week kicked my ass.” But when you keep almost coming back to the sense of like, “I can’t feel like I can get my energy back or I feel spacey or like I don’t have the same umpf I used to have.” I think that to me is like this chronic sense of depletion. It’s like even if I eat well, even if I got a good night sleep, there’s something happening that I just can’t seem to get my battery level up to like — You know how when your phone gets older? (inaudible 0:17:27.3) and it’s like you charge it, but then it like goes dead right away?
(0:17:32.0) JB: Yeah. Exactly. Like you might have a good day at work, you might have some uplifting meeting, you might have a great conversation with friends, but then the next day you wake up and you’re right back to where you were the morning before. You had to sort of pay attention to how you’re feeling.
Especially for me, I think I try to pay attention to patterns with myself. If it’s a one-off, you don’t necessarily need to put so much energy into that, which I tend to over analyze like every feeling that I have. Even the one-off’s, I’m like, “What’s wrong with me? Am I dying?” You know?
(0:18:05.9) AS: Carlos is like, “You run this diagnostic on yourself, like (inaudible 0:18:09.1).”
(0:18:09.5) JB: Yeah, that’s exactly it. Why was I more out of breath today than yesterday? Am I having heart failure? Do I need to go see a doctor?
(0:18:20.4) AS: Oh my God! I will tell you. I think it took until I really healed a lot, like 15 years after having a cancer, like every muscle, “I have bone cancer. I know it. I knew it.” I can laugh about it now, but at the time it really is terrifying.
(0:18:33.6) JB: it’s also called being like a hypochondriac Jew though.
(0:18:38.5) AS: Is that a diagnostic?
(0:18:39.5) JB: Yeah.
(0:18:41.2) AS: The doctor writes a prescription for that.
(0:18:41.5) JB: Yes. The most Jews I know. This is what we deal with. It’s in the genes.
(0:18:49.8) AS: You’re a hypochondriac Jew. What’s your description? What’s the prescription for that?
(0:18:54.8) JB: No. I’ve even said that to doctors before. They’re like — I’m like, “Well, to be honest with you, I’m a Jew. I’m a little hypochondriac. I’m a little neurotic. Probably nothing is wrong with me, but I’m here because I need to give me all the tests so that I can walk away feeling totally fine and I will come back next year for the same thing. I already know that this is just anxiety, but let’s go for it anyways. I need to have the piece of paper in hand.”
No. I mean I pay attention to patterns with myself. For example, brain fog is something for me. That is a pattern that I fall into. It will typically be in the morning when I get up and go to work. I will have this hour, two hours in the beginning of the day where I have brain fog, What I’ve learned is that it’s connected to my job and that I’m not — I’m just not feeling charged up and energized and I need some time off and it’s so energy sapping for me being in the studios or being with the clients or whatever it is, that I start to actually disappear. I start to go on a vacation. My brain starts to go on a vacation before I let my body go on the vacation.
(0:20:09.8) AS: I love that metaphor. It’s how you’re framing it, right? It’s not really (inaudible 0:20:13.7). It’s like brain fog, but your body is signaling like, “Juliet, slow down here.”
(0:20:21.3) JB: Yeah, I mean your brain is not working on all cylinders. And really, I mean, for me I’ll share as just something that I’ve dealt with from a post-traumatic stress symptom from having a lot of trauma in my life, is I have something called disassociation, and it happens when I get to a really high stress point and it doesn’t happen sometimes so regularly that I would know exactly the moment that it’s going to occur, but I’ve started especially since I’ve been — I’ve been dealing with the symptoms since I was about 16 years old right before my dad died, that I can kind of tell when it’s going to happen.
I start to have the brain fog and then I’ll go into a full-blown episode, which basically means that for almost a week straight, I don’t even actually feel like I’m really here. I’m in a dream state. Really, it’s scary, scary place to be and it’s called disassociation. What really is happening is, it’s almost as if your brain has the flu. For a week or two, my brain has to rest and I have to rest and meditate and make sure that I’m not overdoing it physically, mentally and there’s a possibility that that I could have never gotten to that point if I don’t always go so hard and so crazy. I’ve actually had a long time now where I haven’t had it, because I can kind of see when it’s coming.
(0:21:51.2) AS: Yeah. I love what you’re sharing, is like you know what it looks like in your body, and I think that’s really important, because it’s going to come up different for everyone. I know a couple of years ago I was starting to experience burnout, and I had had it once like when I was in grad school, actually right before I got married in 2011, and I worked with Dr. Racquel. She was like, “You need to take a semester off grad school.” I had hypothyroid. Actually, that was like my symptom and I was able to reverse it at the time by just slowing down, and it was easy. Like that time I was able to compartmentalize. I was like, “Oh, okay. I’m getting married and I want to enjoy this time.” So it was easy to kind of slowdown of like going to grad school and pulling back a little bit, because it felt like this once-in-a-lifetime type of period of my life.
But a couple of years ago, I was waking up like not just feeling like I wasn’t even rested, and I’ve always prioritized sleep. I’ve never been someone who can skip sleep, and I was waking up just tired again. I remember I would get on my phone in the morning and just like scroll on my email, on Facebook. I’m like, “Why am I doing this? This is just making me more tired.”
For me — And then I was like craving coffee. Whenever I’m craving coffee, I have to stay off of it because it just makes me too anxious. But when I know that I’m like waking up without feeling energized or like I’m doing things — When I’m doing things that are further depleting me, that’s how I’m — Instead of being like, “Why am I doing this?” and trying to do hacks not to be on social media. I’m like, “Okay. I’m burned out. I’m in some experience of depletion and I need to pull back.”
For me, I don’t necessarily get brain fog. I have something different. So I think it’s —
(0:23:25.0) JB: It’s interesting that you bring up that whole thing about working and going to school. Recently, I know somebody who I’m in social circles with and she was getting her master’s degree and she was running a business, and then she was also teaching a ton of fitness classes on the side, and then she started to have these fainting episodes. Went to see a bunch of doctors. There’s nothing wrong with her heart, thankfully, but it turns out that she has Grave’s disease, which is autoimmune disease and —
(0:23:58.4) AS: It’s hyper- thyroid. It’s the opposite.
(0:24:00.5) JB: Yeah. It’s hyper-thyroid, but these symptoms came out of nowhere. It doesn’t run in her family, and the first thing I thought to myself is just like, “You’re running yourself into the ground. Running a business, getting a master’s, teaching a ton of classes. You’re never slowing down. You’re never getting recharged.”
Even though our bodies are machine, any machine — Machines can break down. Your computer gets overloaded, right? And that a virus happens, and then you need to go put it on sleep mode, rest it. You have to think about your body in that way too. I think sometimes we try to outrun ourselves.
(0:24:39.2) AS: Yeah. I would even argue, challenge the metaphor that our bodies are technically machines, but they’re much more like artificial. If we’re going to use the machine metaphor, they would probably have to be artificial intelligence and that they respond to things other than the direct inputs we’re trying to control, right? Because like you have a history of trauma, that trauma lives in your body. So even if you don’t want to be thinking that, like a situation triggers it, or different stages of life, like we all have hormonal issues or whatever. Based on where we are, our bodies are also giving us feedback that we may or may not want to do it.
(0:25:16.8) JB: Yeah. I think a really, really important thing is when your body is giving you feedback to have a level of acceptance around it.
(0:25:23.3) AS: Yes. Can we talk about that? Because I think that’s the biggest — Because I’ve learned in burnout that time is one of your biggest healing tools, of like just giving yourself time.
(0:25:35.7) JB: But I don’t have time, Ali. I mean, this is how people operate, like, “I don’t have time to slow down. I need to make money. My kids need to get from place to place. I have all these responsibilities. What time do I have?”
(0:25:50.1) AS: Yeah, I love that you say that, because that’s why I created the quiz, What’s My Comfort Eating Style? It’s also these patterns that we put on ourselves that are creating a lack of time. I also want to put an asterisk here, because there are some people based on your level of privilege who really don’t have time. They’re working three jobs. They have to take public transportation. They’ve got kids. I mean, there are some people who really do not have time.
(0:26:14.5) JB: 100%.
(0:26:14.3) AS: Then there’s those of us who do have the time, we’re just choosing not to take it. So one of the things that I realized for myself, and you were talking about how hard running a business is. I used to tell myself that all the time, and I was in grad school, and I was running a business and I have had no — I’ve had a tremendous emotional support, okay? But I have no financial support in my business. So I’ve had some privilege and I also haven’t had some privilege.
I was telling myself, “I have to make money. I have student loans that need paid. I have a mortgage,” all the stuff. One of the things that really shifted my own mindset, and I hope this will help other people, is I read the study two years ago. This was actually when I oddly give myself permission to slow down. I read this, it’s out of Dartmouth University, and they studied entrepreneurship. They said that everyone has this idea that entrepreneurs are huge risk-takers, and some of them are, but 80% of entrepreneurs get family money, friends, and family money. So they’re not quite taking the risks they thought that we all think they are and they have a really big safety net, right?
When I read that, I was like I went from feeling like, “Why am I so behind? Why is this taking so long? Why am I working so hard?” To being like, “Holy shit!” and it gave me so much compassion for myself. It wasn’t to demonize that other people get money and financial and family, friend support. That’s great. If I had it, I’d take it. But it went from me being like I have no time and I have to — I was basically competing and comparing myself to these standards that basically were unrealistic, because I didn’t come from the same resources.
So it gave me a tremendous amount of compassion for myself, and I went from feeling like, “Why is this taking me so long? Why am I so behind?” To like, “I’m awesome! I’m making this work without family money.” It was this huge lesson of like when we compare ourselves or try to keep up with what the kids are doing or what success track, but comparing ourselves to our friends and not just we’re in, and that creates a lot of the business, and that was a huge like, “Oh my God! I need to keep my eyes on my own paper, and trust myself and my path. That didn’t happen overnight, but the amount of energy and the permission it gave me to slow down was monumental.
(0:28:43.1) JB: And it’s funny you say it creates the busyness, because it might not even be the actual busyness and you doing something, but it’s the busyness of your headspace and what you’re telling yourself all day every day and the tape that’s playing on replay, because that is really — Just like emotional eaters and thinking about food all day long, “What am I going to eat? How many calories is this?” That takes up so much headspace and mental space that you’re exhausted. That’s burnout right there.
(0:29:12.0) AS: Yeah. It was creating such energy, and it was also like talking about like I didn’t know that you can mute people in social media, but all of a sudden I —
(0:29:20.4) JB: You’re going to mute a lot of people after this one.
(0:29:25.2) AS: I stopped — Like the people I was comparing myself to it made me realize, like, “Oh my God! They’re in a different business. They’re in this like lifestyle business that’s all about the prestige — Like these prestige signals of wealth and beauty and all that stuff.” That’s okay. We all have our different —
(0:29:43.7) JB: I don’t know all these people, but I have a feeling that they’re in the same place that most of us are. They’re not happy either. They just have more resources, a better camera, better outfit, so you know, it’s a façade.
(0:30:03.0) AS: Yeah. It helped me because you still — I still want to be inspired by people, but it totally shifted who I started following and who I started admiring. I started being like, “Wow!” It doesn’t mean that anyone who has money I didn’t admire, but what I started to look at is like, “Wow! I want to start looking and admiring up to the people who have traveled the furthest.” Where did you start and where have you ended up, versus where am I in comparison to you. It just totally shifted these metrics, and I started to learn a lot from really smart people, from really greedy people, from people who had similar values, and I’m still doing the same work, but I’ve slowed down, and I’ve given myself permission to have my own path, because I’m just doing something different, not better or worse. It’s just different.
(0:30:48.7) JB: Yeah, I think accepting where you are is really important. It’s funny, because that is exactly where I am with my business right now. Talk about comparison, it’s really challenging having a business for going on 11 years, which I know, Ali, yours is around the same ages as ours.
(0:31:11.1) AS: Yes.
(0:31:13.6) JB: To be there where we are in 11 years, it’s hard to not feel grateful and just like Ali said, to think about what we’ve done with the little resources that we’ve had. If I actually think about it in that perspective, it’s incredible what we’ve been able to accomplish. However, the comparison trap has really grappled us for a long time now, especially because our industry has exploded. A lot of brands that are similar to ours have outgrown us exponentially in half the time, a quarter of the time. For us it’s like, “Oh! We missed the boat,” but they knew — They had someone with a lot of money. We never had someone with a lot of money. We’re in the process of trying to fundraise right now, and we just haven’t had the access to those resources. Yeah, in a nutshell, where I am right now is right there where I am getting into reality and less fantasy.
Fantasy is nice and all, but —
(0:32:20.7) AS: (inaudible 0:32:20.5)
(0:32:21.6) JB: Yeah, but it can also be really — It can really hurt to never actually be in the moment, in reality of where you actually are.
(0:32:30.4) AS: Yeah, and I think you know, for people listening, especially around your health, with weight loss, right? I mean, there is also health privilege, right? Like certain people have genetics that have whether — If you’re comparing based on weight, faster metabolism, or some people didn’t grow up, exposed to air pollution and pesticides or some people, they’ve had health struggles in their life. For us to compare, I know some people who really struggled when they break a bone and they can’t exercise, right? Then they’re like, “I’m behind. I can’t keep up my workouts. I can’t —” Our bodies are going to be these imperfect processes, and it’s like you get sick when you don’t want to get sick. You get the flu when you don’t want to get a flu, whatever it is, and learning to deal with that so that you don’t set yourself further back and furthering into burnout. I really think is where the challenge is.
When things are going well, it’s easier to be like, “Oh, I feel good about myself,” and all that stuff, but having the compassion and like really trying to learn and have mindset shifts I think around the stress that we’re creating, because a lot of it is self-created. Not all of it. I don’t want to deny it. There’s real — To your point, and some people really do have more access to capital and access to a network, because if you have access to capital, you also have access to a really powerful network, and by power I mean financial — Everyone knows people and stuff.
When it comes to health, burnout, whether you’re exhausted or comparing yourself or even if you found a partner or not or whatever, it’s like no one is right or wrong, no one is ahead or behind, and that’s why one of the big comfort eating patterns is the competitor, right? It’s like am I ahead or am I behind, am I winning or losing, and we do that when we’re not clear of our own values and we’re not able to discern what’s really important to us.
(0:34:19.7) JB: What was your comfort eating pattern?
(0:34:21.7) AS: Oh, well. So what I realized is because I don’t really comfort eat anymore and I’m really comfortable with my body, but I was competing in my business. That’s what I was doing. For what I realized, is that instead of comfort eating or like worrying about weight, I was doing the same metrics, except with like social media following. I discovered this several years ago. It took a while to work through it, but I realized that, and this kind of came back to — I didn’t realize it at the time but I put my own methodology on me. I worked my own process. I was bullied when I was in fifth grade, like really badly. So I realized I was in this unconscious way feeling behind, because I wasn’t popular.
The metrics I was focusing on were popularity, not anything that actually matters to me. Like popularity actually doesn’t matter to me. I actually like being outside the box. I like being fringe. So I couldn’t figure out why this was affecting me, right? It was like anything we’re doing things that make no sense, there’s always an emotional story or a reason behind it.
So what I started to do is like, “Wait, is it really important to me what my list size is? I think it was Tara Gentile. She calls your list size, like, it’s like your internet penis size. How big of a following do you have? Part of why I cared about that is because the people that I was learning from were saying like, “That’s the most important thing.” You get in this echo chamber, kind of like when we follow people who are like, “It’s about calories. It’s about how long you’re doing your work out.” We tend to, in the beginning until we get stuck enough, we follow the people that are confirming the view we have and confirming these negative or these unhelpful patterns that we have.
So I was finding people who were telling me that popularity did matter, right? Then I was like, “Wait a second.” It took some learning, peeking behind the curtain and seeing that a lot of people who have huge social media followings actually don’t have a business. It was like, “Oh my God!“ That was mind blowing to me, right? I was like —
(0:36:27.4) JB: Yeah. I’m also thinking you could have a hundred thousand followers of which how many are actually paying attention to you or engaging with you. You could have 100 followers of which all of them message you or engage with you and your community thought, really like want to hear what you have to say. Yeah, it’s interesting.
(0:36:45.4) AS: Right, but if you don’t know what works or what matters to you, you’re just going to be looking at conventional metrics. It’s like the scale. If people don’t understand how to balance their blood sugar or what stories are tripping them up or how to heal their gut, they’re just going to be measuring calories, because you think that that’s — Because that’s what everyone tells you. We all start — When we have no context, we start with what’s “normal”, and I want to put in parentheses conventional wisdom, because it’s not usually very wise, right?
(0:37:17.2) JB: I would say to your listeners if you haven’t taken that quiz on Ali’s website, definitely do it, because even though it’s what your comfort eating style, how you eat is a lot of how you approach a lot of things in your life. Myself, just like Ali, I’ve worked a lot on my relationship with food and my body where I don’t have really a comfort eating style anymore. I had dill pickle popcorn for lunch toady, and I don’t care.
(0:37:45.1) AS: Carlos hates pickles. Whenever they bring an order or burger and like there will be a pickle on the plate and they deliver it, he’s like, “Take that off!” I have to put it on my plate. Like a five-year-old.
(0:37:56.6) JB: I had dill pickle popcorn and a half sour pickle, actual pickle with it. Clearly I’m pregnant, just kidding guys. I’m not pregnant at all.
(0:38:07.5) AS: You’re pregnant with possibility.
(0:38:09.6) JB: There you go. Yeah, I’m birthing some businesses, guys. I’m birthing the business, so lots of pickles for me. But when I took your quiz, it was so perfect, because even though this isn’t how I eat. This is definitely how I am in life. Even going back to me saying the brain fog and my dissociative episodes that had happened when I hit a real tipping point, my style is the Avoider.
So when I have brain fog, what am I doing? I’m escaping. I’m avoiding. I’m not even — I’m not there anymore. I go away. So this is how I am when things become too overwhelming or I don’t want to face the — Like a said, right now my business, I’m trying to stay in the reality and not the fantasy, because the fantasy is, again, a way of avoiding something, the actual where we are, and when I’m avoiding things, I’m not necessarily really wanting to look at our profitability. I might have to look at quarter one statement and I’m like — I had Macky look at it. I’m like, “You tell it to me.” He’s like, “What? You can look at the piece of paper? I’m like, “I’m trying to avoid it.” That is just how I approach a lot of things in my life. But when you know that about yourself, you can start face it. You really peel back the curtain. You’re like, “Okay. I see what I’m doing here.”
(0:39:36.9) AS: Yeah, the metaphor that just popped into mind. Do you remember — I don’t know if you ever gone bowling, but like they have the bumper lanes where like when you’re learning to bowl, like you can put the bumpers in the — Again, for me to get out of this competing pattern, it took like I had to reach out to a couple of business owners who are also coaches that I admire. We actually all started meeting once a month. We call them our sanity sessions, but it keeps us grounded in reality, because it’s so easy when you’re on a learning curve or you’re unsure to look to other people, and that makes sense, but it’s easy to then try to follow their path, because it looks successful but you don’t really know what’s behind the curtain for anybody wherever they are.
So that was super helpful. The same with how you reached out to Macky. I had to find people who were in the same reality that I was. They had to be self-funded and they were also doing really research-based work in coaching, which is not the norm. So I had to find people who aligned and were similar and have support from them. Then learn for me. I had to learn like a marketing sales style that was really in alignment with me, which is more education based, which is what this podcast is about, because a lot of people in our industry play on fear and they manipulate, they use scarcity mindset, which scarcity mindset is huge for people who struggle with eating, because it’s like the same way you think you’re — Like you can never get enough of your favorite food, that mindset is the same mindset you bring to other things. A lot of marketing does prey on other people, and that’s — I didn’t want to do that. So it’s a territory. It’s not just like —
(0:41:13.6) JB: It’s so easy that you could’ve done that, because, well, I see it works for all these people. I want to make money. I want to have a successful business, but at the end of the day, if you’re not living out your passion and actually feeling like good and having what — I love to use the word integrity. If you don’t have integrity with yourself and what you’re doing, then it just feels wrong. Then you’re not experiencing contentment or happiness, which I don’t even like those words, because I think they’re very loaded words, because what is happiness? What is contentment? But I’m going to use them to describe what you’re just saying. It’s like if you’re doing something because is the status quo or it’s what everybody else is doing, but it doesn’t feel like it’s right for you, you’re not going to be getting out of your current state of — You’re not going to grow. Yeah, you might grow your list. Yeah, you might make some extra money, but you’re not actually going to feel better.
(0:42:12.3) AS: Right, and you’re not going to learn. I mean this is something really important. When you were cohosting, we had an episode on Growth Mindset with Carol Dweck, and Growth Mindset is really taken off in certain industries, and Carol Dweck had to write another piece, because she said people are taking growth mindset a little bit out of context, and that it is about learning and learn as you go. Success is an instant. However, you have to learn the right things, right? And that’s what she was saying in the sense that like one of the things, this sounds so silly, but like — Again, I want to step back and say I also had to learn similar to you saying so grateful. I had to be so grateful, because I have the best clients. They get amazing results. Everything that actually matters to me was happening. I was just bringing myself out in comparison.
As I started to learn like, “Okay. Now I want to grow. Now I know I have something really that I want to share with everyone.” I mean our businesses are in similar stages, right? Ready for growth.
(0:43:10.3) JB: Also, you have to ask yourself, “Why do I want to grow?”
(0:43:12.5) AS: Yes, and in what way.
(0:43:13.6) JB: Do I want to grow because everybody else is growing? That it’ll make me look better and that’s what I should be doing? You know what I mean? Yeah, in what way do I actually want to grow? Because when I think about it, I want to grow as a person. I want to learn more. I want to experience more. I want to reach and touch more people and make more impact, and that’s not necessarily meaning that I need to have a hundred Unite studios, and that’s been really important for me to start to wrap my head around.
(0:43:45.4) AS: Yeah, me too. Some of these business models, like people are managing tons of people. I’m like, “I don’t want to manage tons of people.” That’s just not why —
(0:43:54.2) JB: And you need to know that about yourself. That’s so important to really ask yourself questions. When you’re not in comparison mode, then you really can say, “Well, what do I actually want to do day to day? What is going to make me happy? If you don’t want to manage a ton of people, then okay, that route isn’t for you.
(0:44:13.2) AS: Right. It eliminates choices, which is nice, because I think sometimes when people are feeling burned out, it’s like, “Oh my God! It’s like I can never do enough. Am I choosing right?” There’s so many choices, and it’s like discernment, like that’s always what I’m working on with my clients, is like not only what foods work best for you, but what emotional choices work best for you. In relation to burnout, I think a really good question is like what replenishes me? What replenishes me? I realize with working out when I do like a really hard-core work out for an hour, I’m exhausted afterward. It’s just not good for me.
Interval training actually fires me up. So I do that, or yoga or a long walk, but I think that metaphor for exercise is the same thing for emotional choices. You shouldn’t get done with the workout and feel like, “Oh my God! That was amazing, because I’m exhausted.”
(0:45:02.5) JB: Let me go take a nap right now. Yeah.
(0:45:04.3) AS: Right? You shouldn’t get through social media and be like, “That was amazing, because now I feel like shit.”
(0:45:11.1) JB: Yeah. Also, I’ve been really thinking about this a lot, because pertains to me, is like I’m always like, “Oh! When is my vacation? When is my medication? When can I take time off?” That is also a sign of burnout, is when you can’t wait to escape and take your vacation and I fall into that trap a lot too. It’s like I’m working so hard and the reward is I’m going to book 3 nights away at blah-blah-blah. That’s no way to live your life, is living your life for the weekend or living your life for the vacation.
(0:45:44.6) AS: Yeah, and I do — I mean, that’s a great point, because before we got on, we were kind of talking about mindset and I realized like part of me did have to slow down and I realized like I love the business I have. I love what it’s growing into, but I was starting to not enjoy it because of the time pressures I was putting on myself. So that was — For the most part, I create the timelines, but that competitor mindset, the finish line is always moving and theirs isn’t big timing, that you have to trust your own timing.
For people on the call, like think about your timelines, are those creating stress in and of itself. So it’s like if you have three things to do on your to do list, you can approach those a little bit more suspiciously, a little bit more exciting, versus if you have 10. It’s like, “Oh my God! How am I going to get through this?” and you don’t have time to enjoy any of that stuff, right?
(0:46:36.6) JB: I think there is something that people get off on, on like how much can I do in a really short amount of time. The multitasking in our culture is honestly out of control don’t you think?
(0:46:48.2) AS: Yeah. Of course, but again to what end? What are you working towards? I think when I was in this kind of competitor mode with my business I was like — I had to step back, like “What am I even competing towards?” But I couldn’t see the pattern at the time. So I was telling myself all of these things like, “Oh my God! You have to make money,” and all those things were true, and though the comparing wasn’t helping. It’s like nothing changed. But to kind of circle back about being able to learn effectively about ourselves, in our patterns and everything and also in the areas of our life that we want to improve, I learned that like I get barely any traffic to my website because I don’t pay for ads, I don’t do any of the stuff. It’s like, “Okay. Instead of comparing myself to other people, why don’t I start seeing it like what I can work on for myself?” It was like, “Okay. I just need to learn to increase traffic to my website.” That’s something I can do that isn’t dependent on whether I’m better or ahead of someone else. You know what I mean?
I wanted to circle back. For people, it’s like if you’re feeling burnout in your career, in your health or whatever, let’s keep your eyes on your own paper and say like, “What about my situation can I figure out for myself?” and go on that path, because I don’t think any of us want anyone else’s lives. Even part of why people watch really bad TV is to feel better about themselves, right?
(0:48:10.8) JB: The grass isn’t greener.
(0:48:14.3) AS: I know you have shared that you like really bad like reality TV. Is that part of it, that it makes you feel better about your own life?
(0:48:22.7) JB: I wouldn’t say that that’s it for me maybe on an unconscious level. On the most conscious level, from what I can think, why I watch it is because it’s me avoiding my reality.
(0:48:34.5) AS: Okay.
(0:48:35.4) JB: It’s a numbing tool.
(0:48:37.8) AS: Okay, but some people watch this stuff and they judge the other people.
(0:48:43.3) JB: At least I’m not 16 and pregnant. Yeah, exactly.
(0:48:48.6) AS: The flipside of that is we’re still comparing, right?
(0:48:51.2) JB: The flipside is like, “Oh! Look at these fucking people, 16 and pregnant and they’re getting money off this television show and they’re getting all these sponsors and they have hundred thousand Instagram followers.”
(0:49:04.4) AS: They’re geniuses.
(0:49:05.6) JB: I swear. I’m a really positive person, guys. Before Ali and I got on the call, I said the biggest thing that I’m learning about burnout is it’s a state of mind and the reason why I don’t feel so as burnt out as I have in the past with even having less on my plate. To be honest, I feel like I have more on my plate now than ever and it’s actually energizing me, is because my frame of mind is really good right now. I’m feeling really empowered as far as, “Okay. This is where my business is. Trying not to compare it anymore. This is where my life is. Having more gratitude of just being in the moment of saying, “Look how much I have; a beautiful husband, a beautiful apartment, friends, connections, my health.” These are things that I’m focusing on now more and the more I’m focusing on that, the better I’m feeling the more energy I have to actually even do more.
(0:50:07.6) AS: Yeah. I’m glad you shared that, because when we are comparing or competing or avoiding or one of the other styles — remember to take the quiz – it actually over time creates a self-fulfilling prophecy because it burns us out, versus reversing that spirals, which is what you’re saying, and I’m so glad that you said that.
The big shift here that Juliet is describing, good listeners, is that she now feels like she’s making choices versus life just happening to her.
The same thing happened to me. Rather than feeling like, “Why can’t I figure this out, why? What am I doing wrong?” It’s like, “Oh! Now I have choices.” When I actually face this, I have different choices and that just gives you energy to know that you have choices. Wouldn’t you say that, Juliet?
(0:50:48.4) AS: Yeah, and I think also — I hate even using these words, lean in. I’m leaning in.
(0:50:56.6) AS: You’re defining it in a different way.
(0:50:58.1) JB: I know. That’s like my cynical, like New York person coming out. I don’t want to use the woo thing, woowoo terms. Everybody else sees as I’m on a journey leaning in. No. The best way to describe it is like I really am leaning into the possibility that there are multiple choices and paths that you can take, millions that you could take. You know what I mean? Your life is in your hands. Nothing is really happening to you. For the most part, yes, there are extenuating circumstances that do happen and that’s the resiliency that you create and work around when things happen. You take them and roll with them.
In business, in friendships, in what ice cream I’m going to eat that day, I have the choice. Whatever I end up choosing, you just have to lean into it and go with it. Having too many choices is hard. I know we live in a world where there are so many choices and it’s completely overwhelming, but I sort of resigned myself to this idea that whatever I choose, I’ll just go with it and we’ll figure it out as we get there.
(0:52:08.5) AS: And you can course correct.
(0:52:09.5) JB: Yeah, and you can course correct, because nobody knows what we’re supposed to be doing on this planet. Why we’re here. It’s all a mystery. It’s all an experiment. I mean, if you just accept that, then you can have a little bit more carefree attitude, a little bit more of a carefree attitude towards what happens in life.
(0:52:32.5) AS: Yeah, and also what you’re describing, Juliet, it’s kind of like you have to rise. You kind of need that grounding and safety so that you can roll with things and finding out what you value and your own discernment of what’s important to you can give you that compass so that you’re heading in the right direction, because you’re going find no choices or right or wrong. It’s just like overall heading in the right direction.
(0:52:57.1) JB: There’s something to be said for really getting to know yourself. You’re in a relationship with yourself your whole life and it’s a growing relationship, just like I’ve learned more about — I learn more about my husband every — We’re together. I learn more about him. We’re growing together as a unit. I learned more about myself too as I age. There are some things that I know about the core of myself and what helps me to stay grounded and thrive so that even among all these choices, there is definitely — Maybe we call it the soul part of myself that stays grounded and understands myself a little bit and what I need to just stay grounded, which is regular exercise, routine. When the house is in disarray, my brain feels in disarray, so I need to make certain things are organized. Those things you can have control over, and they can help you so that the external stuff, whatever you choose, doesn’t have to be as scary, because you know yourself and you have some base, like a base to go off of.
(0:54:02.0) AS: I love that you brought that up, because in the work that I do with clients, ultimately what they start to uncover is that, fighting food in our bodies is about not feeling like we belong. I know that seems a very big stretch, and there’s like a lot to discover to figure that out. We’re actually doing this in Truce With Food this week. I talk about you can’t belong or connect with other people or with what you want most in life if you don’t first belong to yourself. You have to first — Because that’s why people feel alone around other people, or you can feel really fine being “alone” by yourself, but you have to first understand what is important to you and what grounds you and all that stuff.
I think in wrapping up, we can almost say burnout is an invitation to know yourself more deeply, and we often learn by what doesn’t work. So it’s like having compassion and realize, “Okay. I figured it out. That doesn’t work.” I think those difficult times really sift and help get your values clearer, right? It’s like, “Okay. I was trying that. I was trying to —” Even though I didn’t realize I was trying to be popular, I was and that’s actually doesn’t do it for me and I’m so glad I know that now, because I can unhook from a lot of things.
So burnout can be really an invitation to knowing yourself on a deeper level and feeling that choice and the freedom that comes from choice rather than thinking you’re missing out when you choose something differently.
(0:55:25.3) JB: Nobody is impervious to pain and suffering.
(0:55:28.7) AS: No! I’m hanging up.
(0:55:32.0) JB: Nobody is. We’re all human. We’re all experiencing life in that way, lost, love, all of it. So just bring a level of acceptance to that things are going to come your way that might be painful or they might be wonderful and if you just know that now and you you’re not trying to escape that, avoid that. You know what I mean? Compete with, to go around that, and then I feel like you can, not to say avoid burnout, but know how to deal with it when it comes up.
(0:56:04.6) AS: Yeah, or to your point, like we both still have so much going on, but I just feel so differently.
(0:56:11.5) JB: Exactly. The attitude is different.
(0:56:13.0) AS: Yeah, well because also now that we’ve change the pattern, we’re were getting replenished as we go rather than burnout as we go, right? I mean life is a lot of work, no matter who you are, and so it’s like as long as we get a return on investment from our choices, it doesn’t mean that we can’t work hard. It just means that we’re — To use a financial metaphor, we’re getting a return on our investment in terms of meaning and like, “This matters to me.”
(0:56:37.6) JB: Yes.
(0:56:38.6) AS: Thank you so much for coming back. Actually I think I’ve discerned that I want to have — Will you come back a couple of more times?
(0:56:44.3) JB: Oh! 100%. I missed this. I’ve brought out my good old microphone. It has some dust on it. I was very excited to come on the show today.
(0:56:53.8) AS: Good! We’re going to have to have you back. Everyone, welcome Juliet back. We’ll have her as a special guest, but I hope you got some things today, some key takeaways or knowing yourself and what is really important to you. What will replenish me? That’s a great question to start thinking about, and I hope we gave you some insights about comparing, avoiding and etc. Again, you can take the quiz to know your type and then you can learn all of the different types as well, and there’s a secret Insatiable episode that you get as a gift for taking the quiz. So you can take that at alishapiro.com.
If you can remember to leave a review, I always forget to ask, but that will help people find the show. Until next time, thanks again Juliet for joining us.
(0:57:33.5) JB: Thanks, Ali.
(END OF INTERVIEW)
Original cohost Juliet Burgh is back to catch up with the pod and discuss how to recover from burnout.
In today’s episode, we share personal experiences with how to recognize and recover from burnout, how “compare and despair” causes burnout, and mindset shifts to stop feeling like you’re falling behind and powerless to overwhelm.
More About Juliet Burgh
Juliet Burgh has been active in the fitness community since 2008. An expert in her field, she came to Philadelphia after working in New York City as a personal trainer at a prestigious sports club. She is a partner and nutrition director for Unite Fitness Studio franchises, a rapidly growing group and personal training studio, helping to craft Unite’s trademark Heart.Muscle.Mind workout methodology. Juliet appears as a regular contributor on Fox and ABC news, helping educate people on the topics of fitness, health, and nutrition. When she’s not in the studio, Juliet loves to connect with nature and frequently takes trips to the Woodstock, New York area to hike and relax.