What is burnout?
Let’s be real, slackers don’t usually burn out.
It's the high achievers, the ones who say “yes”, the ones who want to go above and beyond, the givers and people pleasers out there.
As noted in Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski, PhD and Amelia Nagoski, DMA, in 1975, Herbert Freudenberger first described workplace burnout. He identified 3 components:
- Emotional exhaustion - the fatigue that comes from caring too much, for too long;
- Depersonalization – the depletion of empathy, caring, and compassion; and
- Decreased sense of accomplishment – an unconquerable sense of futility: feeling that nothing you do makes any difference.
They continue, “In the forty years since the original formulation, research has found it’s the first element in burnout, emotional exhaustion, that’s most strongly linked to negative impacts on our health, relationships, and work – especially for women.”
Everyone who goes through burnout experiences different symptoms. What’s true of everyone’s burnout experience is that there is a deep exhaustion that impacts everything else, and once you realize you’re in burnout, you’re either already burning out, or like me, totally burnt to a crisp. By this point, self-help is basically impossible, you need others to help you. You need connection and compassion, guidance, and eventually, a way to rebuild.
When we deal with the stressor, like the big project that had too short a timeline, we still have to deal with the stress that has built up in our bodies. The only challenge is we’re sometimes really bad at doing that. We’re too busy, there’s 10 other projects lined up just waiting for us, the person that cut us off in traffic, the bus/train that was late and packed, the kids need new shoes, etc. etc. etc.
According to the Nagoski sisters, to resolve all that built-up stress in our bodies, we need to reconnect with our bodies through physical activity, breathing exercises, have positive social interactions, laugh, experience affection (physical or spiritual), a big ol’ cry, or creative expression. Depending on how many years we’ve been holding in our stress, it can take time to work it all out. Incremental progress is what eventually works out all that old stress.
Rebuilding after burnout
Let me help you work through the emotional exhaustion and other areas of burnout you may be experiencing. Our work will include:
- Identifying your core values
- Becoming or deepening your self-awareness
- Finding ways to reconnect the mind and body
- Learning how to interrupt the burnout cycle
- Setting new boundaries based on values and self-awareness
So what now?
Knowing is the biggest part of the battle. Once you know what you’re dealing with, there are ways to address it. While I recommend all the self-help out there for burnout survivors, there also comes a point where we need help to make progress. That’s where I come in. I’ve been through this. I’ve been at the bottom of that well and I had to find help to climb out. I’m offering that hand to you now. It’s time to rebuild your confidence and bring that sparkle back into your life!
- Imagine what it will feel like when you’re alive and energized and ready to take on the world!
- Imagine what it will feel like to be at your best again, doing the things you love to do!
- Imagine what it will feel like when you have control over your work and your schedule!
- Imagine what it will feel like when you are able to eat and exercise and sleep in ways that are loving and caring for your body, creating a healthy place for you to live in!
- Imagine what it will feel like when you are doing what you want to do, and your heart is overflowing with confidence, love and compassion!
- Imagine what it will feel like when you are excited about your job and are filled with enthusiasm and kindness for your coworkers!
- Imagine what it will feel like when you’re back to yourself and able to participate in family life and enjoy being with friends!