"I know a lot of people are feeling this way." Tanya Hennessy on why "burnout is a b*tch".

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. 

Video via Mamamia. 

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. 


I'm sorry if I ever made you feel like you weren't working hard enough, because I was working to the point of ridiculousness which is now poisoning me. 

I'm sorry if I added to hustle culture. Now, I'd like to add to the burnout culture conversation.

Listen: How to know if you're suffering from burnout. Post continues below. 

Brené Brown says, "If you want to avoid burnout, stop living like you're on fire". I've been on fire for over 12 years now. I gotta get into some water stat. 

Burnout is something so many people experience because you're your own boss or if you're a motivated person, you don't ever say no and you push past your limits. I've done that for over a decade. So, to me and to every other burnt-out human: stop. Try to stop. Take time off. This busy culture isn't good for us. The 'no lunch break' culture isn't right! It isn't productive either. 

I'm here to say: Normalise not working on weekends. Normalise working work hours and being off after those hours. Normalise work boundaries. Normalise not answering work emails on weekends and when you're on annual leave. NORMALISE prioritising joy and happiness. Connecting to art, music and people. And having fun!

Stop normalising burnout and downplaying its effects on humans. Until it's fully acknowledged in workplaces and society, it's up to the individual to put personal boundaries in place. 

To let colleagues know you aren't available 24/7.

To prioritise joy and happiness. 

To switch off more, to breathe more, to find space for fun. Because it we manage this, other generations hopefully won't have to know what burnout means. 

This post originally appeared on Tanya Hennessy's Instagram and has been republished here with full permission. 

Feature Image: [email protected]/Mamamia.

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