Oh, burnout. How much time do you have because I could go IN about this topic.
I’ve been experiencing burnout since high school but didn’t realize it was a word for it until my second full-time job. Wow, right? In my defense, you don’t really notice you’re burnout because it will always sneak up on you when you least expect it.
There are so many instances where I look back and think, “Wow, in high school, I pushed myself to do XYZ like I had all the time in the world.” And then I think, “Wait, I still do that to myself. What changed?”
That’s when I realized I need to pump the brakes and reevaluate what the hell I’m doing. I felt I was running on fumes or like I was The Flash losing his ability to run at lightning speed pace. (Anyone caught up on the latest season? C’mon.)
If you want to put an actual definition to burnout, Help Guide defines burnout as “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.”
This is me (and you too, nodding your head) to a T! I know so many of you can agree that burnout went to an all-time high once the pandemic hit since we were now struggling to figure out the work-life balance. Where was the line when work was literally a computer away?
I’ve done so many interviews lately and caught up with so many friends letting them know flat out, burnout is what pushed me to quit my job and reevaluate my life. Why was I burning myself out to the point of crying every single night if it did nothing good for me?
The funny thing is, I didn’t realize I was burnt out until the moment the tears hit, and I questioned my mental health every single night. “Am I normal? Am I OK? Should I be crying this much?”
Ooooooh, you’re normal. You’re 100% normal. You’re just noticing your emotions, and now you’re going to do something about it.
Burnout literally sucks the life out of you. I experience no creativity, living in a constant cycle, hopelessness, helplessness, and all the meanwhile, I felt like I needed to show up to prove I’m a team player. You know how f*cked up that is?
I’m always open to talk about this because this feeling shouldn’t be normal. We shouldn’t just brush this off, “Oh, this too will pass.” It’ll pass but at what cost?
I decided I needed to take it into my own hands to stop this never-ending cycle I’ve put myself in since high school. This repetitiveness was no longer cutting it for me. (It took me long enough to notice!) But you know what, I’m fortunate that I could catch on and finally figured out when to scan how I’m feeling.
The list goes on and on, but you get the point. Once I notice a number of those flags, I try to off-load things or reevaluate their importance. If there’s anything I learned in 2021 so far, it’s that no one really cares if you do something right away or if you do something on your own timeline. (Unless you work for a major corporation and are on a strict deadline, but…)
You gotta go with the wave, and if things don’t happen, that’s to no one’s fault. There’s always another day.
To all my burnt-out friends out there, know that I see you, I get what you’re feeling, and you’re not alone. Take that break because you deserve it. You’ll truly be thankful for that moment of clarity, even if it’s for a day or ten minutes. Any amount of time for a break counts.