Mental burnout is a very real thing and something that many people seem to be dealing with right now, myself included.

The website, Verywellmind.com, categorizes 'burnout' as a reaction to or symptom of chronic stress at your job or in your life. It can often cause a lack of interest in your job, lack of creativity and, in general, an inability to deal with daily life tasks. With an ongoing pandemic, drastic world events, fires, floods, hurricanes and so much more going on around the world I'm surprised more people aren't feeling the burnout.

If you are, you're not alone. Over the weekend, I took some time to seriously consider what gives me joy, brings me peace and restores my 'soul' if you will. Based on that, I'm going to list things you can do around Kalamazoo to, hopefully, bring yourself some peace as well.

1. Get Out in Nature 

The Kalamazoo area is rich with nature trails, preserves and state parks. A quick Google search of "nature trails Kalamazoo area" produces several results:

via Google Maps

When I'm feeling depleted I'll take a Saturday morning, find a new trail I've yet to explore and spend about an hour or two ignoring life. It works surprisingly well and, like I said, we have plenty to choose from in our little area. But, if you need some ideas check these out:

And for when Winter arrives:

2. Get Your Body Moving

I am the type of person who needs a motivator to get me to the gym. And I'm surprised how much I miss my old gym (pictured above). Whether it's a friend waiting on me, a class I've signed up for, or a personal trainer I've paid to make me workout...it's hard to find the motivation on my own. Obviously, with the pandemic getting into the gym has been a bit difficult.

However, I do notice that once I've gotten myself up and moving I feel better. If you don't have the money to join or re-join a gym there are still ways to keep yourself moving at home. There are apps, like FitOn, that provide classes like yoga, HIIT training and more for free. As well, I like to check the 'Events' section on Facebook to see what is being offered around town. For example, today under events I found a Rooftop Pilates Class scheduled for September which sounds delightful. Downtown Kalamazoo also hosts Workout Wednesdays featuring a different fitness organization each week. And it's free. Find more details on Workout Wednesday here.

3. Treat Yourself to Something You Love 

My go-to is a day at the spa. There are several in the Kalamazoo area including Blush Salon and Spa in downtown Kalamazoo, Massage Green Spa on Stadium, and Design 1 Salon Spa in Portage just to name a few.

Again, if money is what's stopping your from having a spa day you can always do it yourself at home. Most of my "spa days" are at home. I turn down the lights, find a favorite face mask (you can find paper masks at any major store for less than $5), light my favorite candle and put on a "Zen" playlist to help me wind down.

The great thing about 'treating yourself to something you love' is that it can be literally anything. Go snag your favorite milkshake, go see a movie, whatever will bring you joy!

4. Cultivate Your Creativity 

Have you ever thought to yourself, "Yeah I'd like to try (insert activity here) but I don't think I would be good at it"? Well, it's time to throw that thought out the window.

I never thought that I could paint. But, through the pandemic I learned that I actually liked it even if I wasn't that good at it. On days where I feel overwhelmed I find it helps to practice something that requires most of my focus like painting. The great news about being creative for ourselves is that it doesn't have to be perfect. It's just for us!

However, if you want to make it an event, like a girls night out for example, there's a great spot in downtown Kalamazoo. Colors and Cocktails hosts painting classes for both canvas and glass painting as well. Find out more on their website.

5. Therapy 

shironosov

This is the one on the list that may not be the most comfortable. For the sake of full transparency, I recently started therapy and let me tell you it is not easy. Confronting the instances in my life of grief or anger or resentment feels uneasy. However, my mental health now compared to a year ago has noticeably improved.

You have to be ready to participate in therapy and no one can determine that but you. If you're ready to start therapy to help with burnout, stress, grief, minor issues in life, or anything else I would encourage you to check with your provided insurance through your employer. Mine cost about $30 a session which is well worth it in my opinion.

If your employer doesn't provide insurance or mental health services there are options that are free or low-cost. It may just require a bit of calling around to find out what the best fit would be for you. Find more information here.

Please note:

I am not a mental health professional. If you're experiencing dark thoughts or ongoing feelings of hopelessness please contact a mental health professional or call 800-273-8255. There's never any shame in getting help.

If you've been feeling the mental burnout, like so many people have been lately, just know you're not alone. If you decide to try any of the suggestions on this list I hope they help!

Now, onto something adorable....puppers dressed in Halloween costumes!

Dog-O-Ween 2019

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Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.