Burn Out 101

Burn Out 101

Today was rough. The work wasn’t more difficult, but my strength and patience to deal with it, was just not there. Tbh, it’s been like this for a couple months now. I’m burned out.

What is burnout?

According to Psychology Today, burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to:

  • Physical and emotional exhaustion including chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, anxiety, and forgetfulness/impaired concentration and attention
  • Cynicism and detachment including pessimism, isolation, and detachment
  • Feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment including apathy and hopelessness and lack of productivity and poor performance

Is this you?

I knew I was burned out when I started dreading Monday morning. If you know me at all, you’d know that I am super uppity about people who complain about the Monday blues. In my mind, you have a job, you have the ability to search for a new one, figure it out. But that’s who I was becoming. My weekends end around Sunday at 5ish when I start getting anxious about Monday morning.

So I turned to, you guessed it, Psychology Today.

How to prevent burnout:

  • Increase your self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is having the belief in your own ability to accomplish (and exercise control over) personally meaningful goals and tasks.
  • Identify what you need from your work. Harvard Business Review recently published an article identifying the six virtues of a dream company, as compiled from a list of hundreds of executives. The six virtues are as follows:
    1. You can be yourself
    2. You’re told what’s really going on
    3. Your strengths are magnified
    4. The company stands for something meaningful
    5. Your daily work is rewarding
    6. Stupid rules don’t exist
  • Take care of yourself. Self-care for dayyyys.
  • Creative Outlets. I am so grateful for The Idea, Inc. It is mandatory to have a (paid!) full morning or afternoon of creative time. This is where the best out-of-the-box ideas come from. Whether you use it for napping, reading, writing, designing, having some type of creative outlet will keep you engaged and motivated.
  • Get support where you can find it. It takes time and effort to maintain social connections, but supportive people are the best inoculation against burnout.
  • Increase your diet of positive emotions. Every evening I ask my husband what the best part of his day was. He doesn’t necessarily have the anxious tendencies that I do, but this little question has become sacred in evening ritual. The more I increase the gratitude – even when talking about the good things in someone else’s day – the more positive emotions take over the negative.
  • Get real and go there. Lastly, cut the bull and start asking the hard questions.
    1. What do I dislike? What can I do about it?
    2. What do I enjoy about this job?
    3. What habitual perceptions do I have? Is there another way to look at it?
    4. What are my options?

This is so much easier said than done, but I’ll check in with you in a month or two and we’ll see what’s happened!

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Too many people die with their music still in them.” After finding this quote in another article I wrote, one of my readers asked me, “What if the problem is that people are still alive but their music has died?” And that my friends, is what burnout feels like – being alive but feeling like your music has died. My work involves making sure that never happens to you. – Paula Davis-Laack J.D., M.A.P.P.


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