Oh the lovely burnout we often experience with work and other activities that keep us on the move at a constant. I’m no life expert, but I have hit burnout many times. This last time was different, and I want to share why. I hope this will reach someone who finds my own experiences helpful. I will go over the last two. One that didn’t work out, and one that did.
Burnout #1. I had been a non-stop volunteer for several years at a nonprofit. I was constantly on the run. Very little sleep, wasn’t seeing my doctor, wasn’t eating right (I gained about 100lbs thanks to fast food), and generally was running on caffeine and fumes every day. No amount of sleep helped, because my soul was tired. I was also a full-time college student, with four kids, four dogs, and a household to manage. I was hitting 100 hours a week most weeks, and not seeing my kids or dogs. That was hard. I ended up crashing and burning HARD when the burnout hit, I couldn’t stand the thought of doing one more hour. I trudged on until the dread in my chest absolutely collapsed my whole schedule and world I had built all around me. I was powerless to stop it. I quit. I slept for almost two weeks, and I don’t remember a thing about those weeks. After some R&R, I felt better. I became myself again, started eating better, spending more time at home, and my soul was recharged! I have not gone back yet. I plan to, but now is just not the time.
How does this fit in with my work now?
Well, I will tell you! In May-June-ish, I started feeling that same overwhelming feeling. I felt the weight of the whole world I had built resting on me. My soul was tired once again. I thought, “Man, I need to take a vacation!” So I planned one for July. It fell through. Now what? Well instead of letting everything crash around me and quitting again, I took a long, hard look at why I felt this way. After I established that time was once again the culprit, I sat down with a pen and paper and mapped out a schedule. I also looked very hard at why I do this job every day. I looked at what all has gone on in my life the last couple of years that has led me to this place of burnout.