Going the distance

Even superstars need to take time off

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. August 15, 2014

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If the stress in your life is more than you can cope with, get help right away.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Go to the nearest hospital or emergency room
  • Call your physician, health provider or clergy
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

Recently I was perusing the sports section of the newspaper and came across a piece about a prominent professional basketball player who would be representing the U.S. in a world championship series. The athlete is in his 20s, an all-star, and was expected to be a major contributor to his country's effort. However, he requested a meeting with the coach and chairman of the team to say that he was physically and mentally drained and needed to withdraw from the team.

Now this is just a footnote on the sports page, but it demonstrates the power of reflection and introspection. This young superstar recognized that he had reached his limit and needed to pull back if he wanted to continue to play the game he loves.

So perhaps the rest of us can also admit that we don't have an infinite supply of energy, enthusiasm and focus. When we become drained and fatigued, we draw down our reserves. Unless we take time to recharge, we won't be able to go the distance.

Unfortunately many people ignore the signs that the tank has run dry. Some have a "superhero complex" and try to push on through. The reality is that while they may appear to be getting the job done, they're likely falling short. So, I congratulate this athlete who recognized that he simply didn't "have it to give" and made a wise decision.

I urge you to take a moment and ask yourself if you're pushing too hard. If the answer is yes, what steps can you take to rest and recharge?


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

Join the discussion at #Stress.

Aug. 15, 2014