I'm burnt out.
I've been through it before, but this is different. This foggy state of COVID burnout that many of us are experiencing. And if the stress and anxiety of living through a pandemic wasn't enough, now throw 'normal' forms of burnout - like work, family/parental or caregiver burnout just to name a few - into the mix too.
Burnout is ultimately a feeling of emptiness, mental exhaustion and lack of motivation. You know, when your brain just feels fatigued and lethargic, and you're in a headspace where you're beyond caring.
If you know, you know. Burnout is a b*tch.
Watch: How to spot and combat burnout. Post continues below.
I'm writing this because I know a lot of people are feeling this way. I know I'm not alone. It's human. And given the state of the world, it's inevitable.
We're the generation of no hobbies, all hustle.
No balance, all work.
No family time, all emails.
We're the generation that's anxious about work 24/7. It's the 24-hour news cycle. It's our phones always being on. It's emailing on weekends. It's the lack of 'real' annual leave. When you finally do take annual leave and don't answer your emails or phone calls, it causes you more stress.
It's never ending, because social media never sleeps. It's a demanding beast that is never full or satisfied. It screams 'MORE MORE MORE'. It's overwhelming.
But if you don't create more, you are de-prioritised. You are fighting with an algorithm for a mental health break. It's a machine that doesn't care for art, breath, curiosity or creativity - it just wants MORE and it doesn't care how. There is no finish or end date; it's just forever rolling and rolling.
I can't give more, no one can. I heard someone say the other day, "I don't have TikTok. It's just one more thing I have to keep up with." And I felt that.
The news is more intense and awful than ever, and the empathy you experience reading it is palpable. It feels like we're struggling to get air for ourselves, while still trying to be kind and serve others at the same time.
So how do we manage burnout? What's the solution? What can we do to avoid or overcome it?
The thing is, burnout isn't something you can recover from quickly because it doesn't happen quickly. There isn't a pill you can take to make burnout instantly disappear.
For me, I'm using a combo of therapy, meditation (I'm finally trying it), having breaks in nature, and filling my cup where I can. But long-term, I think I need to do less, because what I've been doing the last 10 years isn't sustainable. I need to do less. Far less. But it will be a process, because I have to unlearn so much. It will take some time.