Let’s talk about burnout. Not the, “Oh I’m tired and don’t want to do this” kind of burnout. The kind that drains you. Ryan Blair says this looks like life just sucking, more work equals less results, no gratitude, don’t like people or your job, asking why you have to do the work, you’re looking forward to end of day/weekend/vacation. Don’t buy into working yourself to death for a mediocre reward. We need to get away from the culture of thinking working ourselves to death is productive. It impacts so many areas of our lives and diminishes the quality of life. Burnout leads to destruction of the relationship with self and our relationship with others as well.
One of the key points is gratitude. We need to be grateful for what we have. When things start feeling too heavy we have to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t and the best place to figure out what you can carry is when you get to the bottom. When you simply don’t have the energy to move forward because we are in the state of “too much.” Suddenly the material isn’t so important. But faith is. Suddenly proving yourself to others doesn’t mean diddly. But finding those who are always there is. 10 years from now isn’t as important as right now. The reports your boss needs can wait. Your mental health cannot. We look around and all we can do is breathe. That is something to be grateful for. We know then what we can leave behind and we find the strength to do so. We surprise ourselves and we prioritize what has real importance in our lives.
It’s easy to glamorize the busy life. We talked about the busy-ness sickness last week. Most of the time the act of staying busy is an avoidance of something. We fear we can’t get the job or we can’t do something or that we won’t achieve our goals so we distract ourselves. We find ways to convince ourselves we are happy with how things are going. And then one day we aren’t. We find dissatisfaction with what used to bring us joy. We aren’t content having the same conversations. We feel like there is something more or we feel dulled to what we are currently doing. That isn’t where we want to be. So when we get to that point, I encourage all of you to embrace it. Take the leap and look at what really causes those feelings because that is where you will find the need to wake up.
Burnout is a good indicator that there is something out of alignment in your life. It’s time to take your foot off the gas and look around. We are so often told that we can’t do that. That we aren’t allowed to slow down. We are forced into perceived obligations in order to keep up with whatever we feel we need to. We aren’t trained to be in touch with the idea of what we need based on feelings. We don’t know what it’s like to feel full and be content with it. We are trained to consume and do more and more and to keep going. That is the fastest way to literally burn it from both ends. So when we feel that way, rather than continue to push and take on more, we need to learn to stop and figure out if what we have is what we want and if that is actually enough. It’s ok if it is and chances are, more often than not, you have more than enough with exactly what you have. So. Live for now. Be ok now. You have nothing to prove. We can stop glorifying what is killing us—it’s not a badge of honor, it’s a sickness. Be brave enough to slow down and to know what you have is enough.