Ennnnoouuughhh…is that your burnout talking [again]?
Is that your burnout calling your name?
Ugh, yeah…I am going to answer for you and say yes, it’s highly likely you have gone beyond the point of wanting to be productive and proving yourself…to that place where you keep on plowing and pushing and well…it doesn’t feel good anymore.
Could working during crisis times and recessions and with shoes dropping every other day ever feel good?
The answer is: it depends…
… on you and what you make of it.
What if this iffy feeling was just a messenger to slow down a tad, and smell the roses?
It doesn’t mean dropping everything to sail to the Caribbeans (although if you can, good for you!). You can still keep the demanding job, the upward career, and take good care of your most important resources: your body, your health, your energy, your time.
It all starts with one first step: acknowledge the signs of ‘it’s enough’ (and some can be pretty subtle..); and do something about it.
Yay! to working from home and bummer! with the multitasking out of control…
Yeah, working from home (WFH) was fun at the beginning, right? No more commuting, no more dealing with traffic and subways and whatevs.
You can wake up 15 minutes before the first conference call of the day, and no one would know.
Better even, no smarty pants to tell you ‘thank you for showing up today’ when you are 10 minutes late or ‘have a nice day’ when you are the first one to leave work…right?
All was well and good until …until all of the above became an excuse to shove in more work in between tasks.
Not to mention sharing what seems now like the smallest place on earth with a partner and homeschooling…(and the house chores that go with all of the above..)
Oh and…to make matters worse, while you know how to get all of it done, not a newbie in the multitasking department here…; but this time, it’s everything, everyone, right here, right now.
Solutions: boundaries!! Seriously…boundaries
- Set times for certain tasks, that include meal times; and put your calendar as busy, unless really there is a hugely important thing that cannot wait…this would be a one-off…
- Set time aside for yourself, throughout the day. Commuting and lunch breaks were a form of buffer. Replicate these ‘me space’ at home. Not negotiable!
- Ask your spouse and kids to be part of the solution. They can only interrupt at certain times. And are encouraged to participate in meal preps, house chores, homework.
- Detox! From news outlets, from mind-numbing scrolling, from anything that is not giving you important information that you need, or a solution, or making you smile.
Yay! to being on top of everything, and bummer! as demands have gone lofty crazy
Oh! that hamster wheel was not going to stop, covid or not. The interesting part was that, after the first few days of adapting, everything went back to as they were before.
Work-wise, there was no break; only ‘pivoting’ what needed, and reallocating tasks as companies started downsizing.
Many have been left to pick up the extra work, without warning and sometimes not even an appropriate training.
What keeps you ‘motivated’? Staying employed.
Unfortunately, sometimes, that’s not enough.
Without a positive reward, the body and mind can soon run from depleted to empty to heavily in deficit.
Frustration takes over, and we end up living on borrowed energy for an extended time…the perfect recipe for said burnout.
Solution: communicate, communicate, communicate!
- Ask for a discussion with your manager, with a clear agenda, so that you are not creating additional stress for them either. Whether you’re looking for an informal review or feedback after a project, or talk about your workload – be clear in your intentions and go for it.
- Be an agent of change by participating in the solution. Companies are changing their ways, and whatever happens, it’s in the interest of your manager to work with you. Bonus if you come up with several ideas or solutions for the problems you are bringing. It will feel more like a co-creation and co-collaboration for them too.
- As for the WFH part, here too, establish healthy boundaries. Ask for help, tell the fam when you are about to go bonkers (with kindness on this one!), and please please please, learn to accept outside help, even if no one else can do it as well as you do, it will be just fine (tell them how you usually do it and trust them to do it without you hovering…).
Bummer! To be waiting for the next shoe to drop, and yay! To get more clear about what YOU want
And now that one…battling with your own worst enemy and your best friend…your mind.
OK, so this is a big one for me too…always waiting for the next catastrophe, a.k.a. living in a mental hell.
Let’s start with something quite simple: you cannot control your environment.
And possibly now is a good time to accept that it has always been the case.
In reality, any attempt at wanting things to go our ways will result in added frustration, stress, resentment, and all sorts of unhealthy behaviors.
Our minds like a good story: they are quite the creatives when it comes to explaining something that doesn’t ‘make sense’.
Here comes the string of assumptions, expectations, projections, and all sorts of stories that will make us boil on the inside, for no reason whatsoever …déjà vu, no?
Solution: what do YOU want?
- YOU in big caps because this is really the time to put yourself first.
- You have put boundaries between you and what is not bringing you anything good (i.e. the news, the social media, and the rest).
- You are practicing the art of communicating with kindness and purpose. Good, great, fantastic!
- Now it’s time for a more difficult ask. Be selfish (in a good way) and accept that you have needs and wants too.
- Make an inventory of everything you’ve been wanting to do and couldn’t so far. What can you do about it? Choose one small easy step to take towards it.
- If you are into goal making, this is another good time to start making projects. Remember that while you cannot control the outside world, you can still do plenty to take things forward, and adapt as you go.
- Do something nice for yourself every day. At least one thing, if anything, for the sake of your brain. The more you show it that you are in charge of your own happiness, the less it will feel out of control.
Time to smell the roses, don’t you think?
I am curious, what is your form of roses? What would they look like? How would they smell? What texture?
Stay here with this image for a minute. Do you still feel tired and foggy?