Mindful Movement During Seasons of Burnout

Lauren Shaffer
December 23, 2022

When it comes to fitness, many can have an all or nothing mindset. Unless a workout is an hour long or we burn a certain number of calories, is it even worth it?

I argue that any movement is good movement.

Let’s shift the mindset to how movement makes you feel. Do you move better throughout your day? Are you able to get on the floor and play with your kids, nephew and nieces or grandkids? Then no matter what the stats say on your watch, it counts for something. Let’s make the ultimate goal of fitness be allowing us to do what we love most—whatever that may be for you.

Seasons of life can also have an impact on our movement practices. When we are in a season of growth, exciting life milestones and overall optimal quality of life, movement may come more easily. But what about when the going gets tough? It can absolutely impact our dedication to daily or even weekly exercise. Emotional and mental health is powerful in our behaviors, and when they aren’t where we’d like them to be, our practice of movement is often the first thing to go.

So, what do you do in those seasons? First, have grace with yourself. If your body is telling you to slow down, do it. If you need rest, take it. By taking the time and space you need, you will be in a better position to get back to exercise.

If you are in a long season of burnout and stress, here are some tips to bring movement back into your routine:

  • Perform some morning stretches
    If time allows when you first wake up in the morning, take about 10 minutes to take some stretches. Moving the spine in all directions and getting the blood flowing in your body can give you a boost to begin your day right. Here’s a sample sequence if you’re not sure where to start: Morning Stretches: 7 Simple Moves to Start Your Day (
  • Find opportunities to stand throughout the day
    Are you finding yourself in a seated position most of the day? This can result in tight hip flexors and, if not in optimal alignment, can result in a compressed spine. If available, work from a higher surface or a standing desk to unload your back and hips. If this isn’t an option, set a timer to get up from your desk and walk to get the mail (if working remotely), grab a refreshment or take a phone call while walking.
  • Take breaks in your day to get outside
    If you have an opportunity to step away, getting outside for a short walk or even just a breath of fresh air will do your body good. Don’t dismiss a short 10-minute walk as “not a real workout.” Again, any movement is good movement!
  • Listen to your body and what movement it is craving
    In different seasons of life, your body might be wanting different types of movement. In times of stress, it is not uncommon to crave something a little slower like active dynamic stretches or a yoga practice. Check out yoga videos on YouTube for a no-cost way to incorporate yoga into your life.
  • Get back to or start an active hobby
    Do you have a hobby or have you wanted to start one that involves being outside or getting movement? From gardening to water or snow sports, taking a step back in times of stress and burnout can be beneficial for your mind and body.

Remember, the most important thing you can do in seasons of burnout is to demonstrate self-acceptance. We can have the tendency to be critical of ourselves. One of the best things you can do for yourself in this season of hardship is to tell yourself that this is temporary and you can take this one day at a time.