This Kind of Movement Can Be the Key to Healing Burnout

Coping with any degree of burnout can leave us feeling stuck. Sometimes, what we need to begin healing and to rediscover joy is to (literally) move our way through it.

Adobe Stock/Danai

“Look at all these beautiful bodies,” the instructor shouted over the music. The beat of the song made my whole body vibrate as the bass swelled in a rhythmic crescendo. I concentrated on the instructor’s movements, mimicking the flawlessly choreographed blend of international dance. All around me, bodies gyrated, a wave of arms swinging in unison, and joyful shouts echoing off the gym walls.

I swallowed hard, blinking away tears. It felt as though I was giving my body a chance to catch up to the sadness I’d been suppressing throughout the pandemic. I had recently dusted off my gym membership after the worst of the lockdowns, and it was my first in-person Zumba class in almost two years. I had forgotten what it was like to dance in rhythm with a roomful of people, and months of tension melted away with each boom of the bass.

“Burnout” is a tame descriptor of what many of us have been coping with since early 2020—an overwhelming feeling of “drowning” may better exemplify our collective experience. I’ve faced job loss, a long search for work in a global pandemic, and the unattainable balancing act of working from home and parenting…