Healing for veterans takes a great deal of hard work. While Hawaii Island Recovery’s Hawaii recovery center provides a myriad of new therapies, support, a sense of community, and opportunities for self-care and personal exploration, the healing process can still be difficult as veterans are tasked with overcoming trauma, addiction, survivor’s guilt, and many other challenges. All of this hard work can occasionally lead to feelings of burnout. Avoiding burnout in recovery is difficult, but there are always options to help each person continue their healing journey and reach their next recovery milestone. 

What Is Recovery Burnout?

Burnout of any kind is difficult to overcome. Those experiencing burnout may experience several profound challenges that can make it difficult to continue their effective recovery journey. Some of these challenges include:

  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Doubt about their ability to see recovery through or doubt that sustainable recovery is possible
  • Physical exhaustion and fatigue
  • Pervasive pessimism or cynicism
  • Difficulty sleeping, insomnia, or nightmares
  • Constant feelings of stress or anxiety
  • Depression
  • Changes in appetite
  • Low resilience in the face of stress
  • Pervasive irritation or sense of frustration

Veterans experiencing burnout can also compromise otherwise practiced and effective strategies for navigating stress and pursuing personal goals. Depending on the individual and available support, burnout can be accompanied by regressions in their recovery efforts, either returning to the use of addictive substances as a coping mechanism or through a belief that their recovery is impossible to begin with. 

Burnout can also have many causes. Continuous stress informed by unhealthy or unrealistic goals, lack of self-care, lack of emotional support, feelings of isolation, and exposure to toxic environments can all play a role in veteran burnout. Avoiding burnout is difficult, and developing a plan to ensure that each veteran can effectively continue their healing journey and make the most of their practiced recovery skills is necessary. 

Strategies for Avoiding Burnout

Burnout can be difficult to overcome. Not only can slips or relapse present a challenging situation, but it can be difficult to shake feelings of doubt or regain motivation to jump back into the hard work of recovery. However, there are always ways for veterans to overcome these challenges for a healthy veteran life and recovery.

The Power of Community

Burnout is most dangerous when paired with a feeling of isolation. Feelings of doubt and a lack of a trusted and established support system can quickly compromise even the most committed veteran’s recovery efforts. Hawaii Island Recovery’s dedication to a living and active veteran community can be instrumental in avoiding these feelings of isolation among veterans. 

Having peers who understand the challenges and difficulties of overcoming addiction, trauma, and mental health disorders in tandem while also sharing a culture and unique life experiences is an invaluable resource for avoiding burnout. Not only can these communities provide a place of belonging to challenge feelings of isolation, but the perspective therein can also be important in overcoming feelings of doubt that may affect each veteran’s recovery journey. 

Engaging in Effective Self-Care

Stress can be a constant challenge for anyone throughout the healing process, not just the stress of overcoming the daily challenges of addiction, trauma, and mental health disorders but also navigating professional stresses, delicate relationships, and more. Self-care is paramount in processing and balancing these stresses, with burnout quickly manifesting when this balance is disrupted. 

Prioritizing dedicated self-care outlets, eating healthy, maintaining sleep schedules, and simply enjoying a hobby carry great therapeutic benefits. Veterans should never feel selfish or as if they aren’t allowed to put themselves first throughout their healing journey. Making self-care a scheduled part of each day can ensure that veterans provide their minds and bodies with the time to rest. 

Restructuring Goals for Avoiding Burnout

Another strategy for effectively avoiding burnout among veterans is looking at the goals that each veteran has set for themselves. This means not just pursuing dedicated recovery goals but also personal ambitions. Yet, goals set too high without having time to develop the skills and stepping stones necessary to achieve them can quickly lead to feelings of defeat or make a person’s goals seem impossible. 

Thus, working with professionals to set effective daily and short-term goals can instill a palpable sense of achievement and progress that is instrumental in pacing oneself and setting fair expectations to quell feelings of doubt, pessimism, impossibility, and more while preventing unnecessary stress. 

Break the Routine

The constant building of smaller stresses can also cause burnout. Veterans engaging in their comprehensive healing journey have no shortage of stresses to overcome, from navigating addiction recovery to challenging trauma and PTSD, culture shock, and more. While routines can provide a great deal of structure and support, if burnout manifests anyway, it may be time to explore options for a new routine to better cope with these building stresses. 

Getting out for an afternoon with friends or family, trying a new hobby, meeting with peers to explore new options, and more can all be great ways of keeping recovery fresh and progressing without feeling “stuck” throughout recovery. 

Recovery burnout can be difficult to overcome, and finding a new approach to healing is necessary to continue focusing on recovery goals throughout your continued healing journey. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we embrace a varied approach to healing, empowering you to explore not only a plethora of new ideas and experiences alongside dedicated treatment professionals but also work alongside peers to set goals, engage in spiritual healing, and embrace new daily practices for self-care and treatment. Our Hawaii recovery center houses an understanding community and trauma-informed professionals who can personalize each program to your needs as a veteran and prevent recovery burnout at any stage. To learn more about our programs, call to speak to us today at (866) 390-5070.