“Burnout happens, not because we’re trying to solve problems but because we’ve been trying to solve the same problems over and over and over.” Susan Scott
If the word burnout is familiar to you, I hope it’s just familiar because you heard it from others…not because you are experiencing it yourself. However, if you are, indeed, experiencing it yourself, that doesn’t surprise me either. I, too, fall into this urban trap.
According to studies, more than three-fourths of the Americans and more than half of Filipinos admit to suffering from burnout. The sources of this urban stress comes from work, family, romantic relationships (or lack thereof) and business. It also doesn’t help that modernization demands a lot from us, yuppies, nowadays. We are pressured AND EXPECTED to have a great career, a great relationship, great taste and great looks. When we fall short of these “great” stuff, we are deemed underachievers. Worse, stupid.
These demands can overwhelm even the most amazing achievers. Come on, there are only 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and our bodies have physical limitations. We must never forget what we usually hear from Nutrition month jingles: that we must drink 8 glasses of water a day, sleep at least 6-8 hours every night. Even these things get easily forgotten due to the pressures that engulf us lately.
Perhaps the first thing that we have to do is to admit to ourselves that we are not Superhuman. We must always keep realistic expectations and slowly let go of the unnecessary pressures that we bestow upon ourselves. This way, we banish one of the deepest sources of pressure: guilt. When we feel like we are not doing enough, we feel guilty and then we overcompensate. If we banish this guilt, we will slowly begin to accept that it is not our fault that we cannot do all the things that we want to do in a certain period of time. When we accept that it is not our fault, that is when we can move forward.
Moreover, it’s also helpful that we accept that yes, we can be stressed and pressured but there has to be a certain amount of stress and pressure that we can take. When we realize that we are stressed, we must hit the brakes and distract ourselves for a while. A little change of environment wouldn’t hurt. For example, if you are having a tough day in the office, you can simply switch your PC’s monitor for a while, close your eyes and listen to soothing music. Or you can take a short walk in your office block and take in a deep breath of fresh air. A movie a week is also helpful. And when your wallet gives its green light, take time to go on a short vacation.
As a writer, event organizer and an independent PR consultant, a lot of people expect me to be really busy. In short, I am one o the best candidates for a burnout. However, I don’t let busy-ness and exhaustion take over my life. I take time to distract myself. I indulge in little vacations, at least 8 hours of sleep everyday (yes!), DVD marathons and malling. After all, these activities help me gain inspiration from even the most unexpected things. At the end of the day, it still contributes to my career. This doesn’t mean I have never experienced getting burned out though. I remember coming home crying from exhaustion. Sleeping for 18 hours straight after a week-long event. Splurging on a 4-digit spa treat. But that was long ago. And boy, ain’t I glad.
Give yourself the R&R it deserves and trust me, that always ends up in greater productivity. 🙂