Are You Suffering from Wellness Fatigue?
Right now, you might be thinking to yourself, WTF is wellness fatigue?
Let me explain…
Wellness fatigue happens as a result of constantly thinking about and tracking your health stats. Whether it be through simply keeping a daily log of what you eat or tracking a wide range of elements, like your daily steps, your sleep quality, your calorie intake, etc.
The best and simplest example of this is using an activity tracker like a FitBit.
The fatigue part? Well that comes into play when you become tired, overwhelmed or disheartened with constantly and relentlessly logging all of these details.
If you’re a huge FitBit fanatic or you love sharing your workouts on social media (like me), maybe this idea seems silly to you.
Wellness Fatigue Feelings
I’ll admit, it is a little bit silly, but not entirely because I actually recently experienced it while using an app called Rise — it pairs you with your own personal dietitian and they rate your meals on a daily basis. (There’s actually much more to it than that, but that’s the basic gist.)
You can actually read more about the app and my thoughts on it here: Can A Virtual Nutrition Coach Actually Help You Lose Weight?
Anyway, while I found a lot of value in the app and my coach Katie (yes, she had the same name as me) taught me so much and I actually felt like I was making progress and my eating habits were improving, after about three months of literally logging every single thing that I ate, I was suddenly starting to find that I just didn’t want to do it anymore.
Here’s part of what I wrote to Katie to let her know what I was thinking:
“I’m feeling like I’ve become overwhelmed with keeping track of everything I eat. I think I may need a break from it for a little while. I hope you already know that I’ve valued your feedback SO much since I signed up and I feel so much more confident in my ability to eat healthy and to do it consistently. I just have grown weary of photographing all of my meals and tracking everything I eat. Sometimes I feel like I can’t eat something just to enjoy it because I’m worrying about what kind of rating I’m going to get. And I love that you understand that there needs to be a balance and “treats” are allowed, but even knowing that, it still takes a mental toll when I log something and get a poor rating.”
And that my friends, is wellness fatigue. As least as I’ve personally experienced it.
Light Bulb Moment
Have you ever experienced anything like this? Am I just overreacting or do you think this whole wellness fatigue thing is actually a legitimate concern?
One reason I really do think it’s legitimate is because just as I was experiencing all of these feelings, I came across a pretty interesting tip that I included in a story I once did about building healthy habits that last for life.
I wrote it back in February, and my job is to write, write, write and write some more, so I had kind of totally forgotten about it. But I was going back through it for research on Friday and found this:
“Due to the accountability trends of fitness with wearable trackers, social media support groups, and post-workout selfies, we feel compelled to be working on our bodies every single day,” said Julie Stubblefield, a fat loss coach and founder of Fit Mom Revolution. “This can seriously contribute to wellness fatigue.”
She says these things can sometimes serve as a healthy form of internal pressure to keep working hard, but that it’s important to disengage when tracking, counting and reporting starts to become mentally tiring. “Yes, it is truly okay to take a week or two here and there to not stress about what’s going in your mouth or if you nailed your workouts,” Stubblefield said. “That time away from accountability is a mental and physical relief. Additionally, those brief breaks won’t set you back or cause you to gain all that you’ve lost. If anything, they can bring fresh insight, remind you that your body feels better when you are eating well and moving, and allow you to appreciate how far you’ve already come.”
Light bulb! Thank you Julie for helping me (and others) recognize this! As soon as I read this I thought, “She hit it right on the head. She nailed exactly how I’m feeling. It’s time for me to take a break.”
Just like your body needs rest and recovery after exercise, your brain needs some time off from begin SO engaged with healthy habits. Especially in this day and age when we’re constantly connected digitally and not to mention, frequently bombarded with images of seemingly “perfect” fitness personalities.
A Few Tips for Overcoming Wellness Fatigue
So, if you are experiencing wellness fatigue, what can you do to overcome it?
Here’s my (amateur) take in a few simple steps:
- Identify the source. Is it a specific app or tool? Is it a certain goal that you’re working toward? Figure out what exactly it is that’s making you feel overwhelmed.
- Once you’ve identified the source, vow to take a break from it.
- Establish parameters for that break. Determine how much time you would like away from whatever it was that’s making you feel overwhelmed. If you still feel like you’re not ready to go back to it after that period of time, maybe you either need to extend the break or if you’re really not enthused by the idea, maybe it’s time to find a new approach–something you’ll enjoy more — or, maybe you don’t need it at all. Explore all possible options!
- If and when you do reconnect, be mindful. Pay attention to how you feel and make sure that you’re feeling good about your health and fitness routine as a whole.
Would you all add anything else to this list? Let me know!
As for me, well I’m still on my break from Rise and I’ve vowed to make it indefinite as of right now. If I feel like I want to go back, I will. But if not, then I won’t. It’s really that simple.
Now, I want to hear from you! As I mentioned earlier, I want to know if you all have ever experienced wellness fatigue? If so, what, if anything, did you do about it?
I think this is an important topic, so leave a comment and let me know what you’re thinking!