Burnout is a THING!

Anyone who knows me can attest to how busy my life is. Yes, my plate is VERY full with my 8 to 5 job, building a company, speaking at various events, hosting a radio segment, writing a weekly column, part lecturing, and studying towards a postgraduate diploma (to name a few ). And to think I only have 24 hours in a day. This is madness!

Over the years, I’ve mastered waking up early; YES… at 4 am to do a number of things such as writing, reading or listening to podcasts. Experts do say that the world’s wealthiest people wake up at 5am right? So I decided to try this by waking up an hour earlier, but to my dismay I don’t see this wealth they speak of as yet. Well they also say it takes time and consistency, so maybe it will come with time.

I love my busy schedule. I love achieving my milestones, but I’ll also admit that it takes a great deal of energy to manage a schedule of this nature. While many wonder how I juggle so many things at once and see my level of commitment as inspiring; this comes at a cost. It takes a lot to always show up in high spirit, even on the days when you don’t feel like it. In this blogposts, I want share whats it’s like- the good and very bad of managing a schedule as hectic as this. Of equal importance are the dangers of burnout, which many like myself tend to ignore.

According to Herbert Freudenberger in his book, ” Burnout: The High Cost of High Achievement” he describes burnout “as the extinction of motivation or incentive, where one’s devotion to a cause fails to produce the desired results”.

This has been my life in the last few weeks, walking around with almost no energy or drive to do anything. I’m frustrated, angry, sad, happy and uninspired like a bad cocktail of emotions. It feels like my motivation to do anything has vanished. I have no willingness to do any of the projects that used to excite me. This is very scary, even for me. I look forward to 5pm everyday, ready to drive home and jump into bed. When my alarm goes off in the morning, I’m too exhausted to get up and face the world. Guys, opening my curtains suddenly seems like a mammoth task. Physically, I am in pain- my back hurts all the time and my eyes bloodshot- I’m not even exaggerating.

I’ve had to admit it to myself that I’m tired. NO! let me correct this…I’m actually burnt out. And it is at this point that I realized that I may not be the only one going through this. So how does one deal with burnout? How can I change this?

As much as I don’t like this, but I need to get back to being physically active. I need to start cycling and running to stay physically active. I’ve even considered starting yoga just to find a way to deal with this back pain. My daily workouts at home aren’t as effective as I’d like, so instead of complaining I’ve decided to do something about my burnout. If you are experiencing this, the best thing you can do for yourself is to stay active. So get out and do something.

Talk to someone you trust

Talking about how we genuinely feel, whether good or bad is increasingly becoming hard. When people ask ” How are you?” we respond with a weak smile, nod and pretend we are fine. This is crazy! Talking to someone you can trust about how you are feeling, the emotions you are experiencing can really help. It’s also important to get a different perspective on the things you are going through- we aren’t always right! Getting an objective opinion comes in very handy.

Take time out and recover

Taking time out, although temporary can help. A change in environment can also help give you perspective. Take a day off, take leave just to sleep, relax and get back to the grind. I’d be lying if I said I am fully recovered , but being able to write this blogpost is reassurance that I am going to be fine. If you are going through this episode in your life, know that you are not alone. What’s important is to acknowledge, accept it and do something about it. Burnout is real, but if managed well in time it can be reversed. Take care of yourself, rest and get back to doing the things that motivate and ignite your soul.

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