“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”

— Lou Holtz

Break. So often we use this word in quotes, song lyrics, on pinterest images to describe the emotions we are feeling. It’s synonymous with our attitude towards break ups, breakdowns, and just an overall feeling of being somehow broken.

I am willing to bet that we all have encountered a time in our lives where we have felt a sense of brokenness. That can come with an end to a relationship, after a failure, or associated with a long list of circumstances. You, my friend, are not alone!

Recently I have been experiencing symptoms of burnout. I have felt broken in spirit and almost mentally drained. It can feel quite frustrating when you feel like your brain is not operating as usual. You spend hours trying to think of ways to counter this struggle, which funny enough just makes you feel more tired.

I have tried searching for more things to do for self-care in my free time. Of those things, I have made it a priority to exercise daily as I know this helps me tremendously. Today I confided in a coach that mentally I just need more strength. One could argue my upper body needs that same strength, but that’s a whole different story! Ha. I hope I did not insult him as I asked if there was MORE I could be doing in my workouts. In reality, I was just looking for a mental escape. Exercise provides me that opportunity and I have a strong work ethic. But what I also was trying to communicate is that I want to get better, stronger at certain exercises more quickly.

And that is when I realized that break does not always mean fragmentation.

We can catch a big break. We can take a break. Breakfast…Okay, that one is a stretch, but you get what I mean. Ultimately, we can experience great BREAKthroughs!

I heard a song on the radio recently that helped change my perspective on what breaking means.

“Break! Away from everybody. Break! Away from everything. If you can’t stand the way this place is, Take yourself to higher places.”

Take yourself to higher places. That one got me! Ultimately we have to choose to maintain a positive mindset. Life is hard and anything that’s worth something won’t come easy. So if we don’t like where we are – feeling unhealthy, in a bad relationship, feeling stuck in a dead end job – it is up to us to take ourselves to the next level and start changing our lives.

It’s a choice friends. And here is your reminder that you are powerful beyond measure and capable of achieving anything you are willing to work for! (Okay, I stole this last line from Ascent Protein’s Monday Motivation Instagram post today, but it is so true!)

One final thought. Have you ever asked yourself why you feel broken or burned out?

Sometimes our habits and daily tasks can seem monotonous. For example, I have little free time throughout the week so on my days off I do the laundry, meal prep for the week, workout, clean the house, etc. etc. etc. Things we all do, ESPECIALLY if you are a mom, right? BUT I do those things to make my life easier and to set myself up for the best chance to succeed in my goals each week. When I have my meals ready to go, then I am less likely to crave something that will only make me feel like junk because I was too tired to cook. Maybe you are experiencing breaking because in reality you are putting your heart and your soul into the things that matter! Into your relationships, into your career, into your family time. When you work hard and put in the extra work to the details, it is only natural to feel some kind of burnout because you care…and your effort demonstrates that. Chasing excellence is not easy, but I believe it is worth it.

Next time you feel a bit broken, remember this: After you workout, your body repairs or replaces damaged muscle fibers. When you lift weights microscopic tears occur in your muscle fibers. It is only after you workout and this “breaking” occurs that your body begins to repair the damage and that is how you experience muscle growth. It is through the breaking process that you actually get stronger!

Furthermore, have you ever seen a lone flower out of place – growing from a crack in the ground? As the plant grows, so does the root system. As the plant continues to grow, it can crack, break, or buckle the surrounding surface, even concrete! Continued growth is an unstoppable force.

You’re not broken. You are simply breaking through to something new and growing stronger. Bigger and better. Higher places.