I honestly never thought this would happen to me but mid last year, a few months shy of my 30th birthday, I hit a wall. A burn out wall, to be precise.
I have always prided myself on being a “hard worker” and with the way the world works these days, we tend to see that as a good thing. Or at least we think if we don’t look busy and work 12 to 14 hours per day, we’ll be replaced by someone else.
(FYI, this is not true and if that is the feeling you get at the company you work for, it is probably time to look around for another job somewhere that values their employees’ wellbeing more.)
Anyway, this is what happened when I experienced my burn out, and I’m sharing because I hope that it helps you (or someone you know) to spot the warning signs before it is too late.
Phase one: Physically exhausted.
After returning from a particularly hectic work trip with barely any sleep, jet-lagged and stressed, my body started feeling very tired and sore. Every day I would walk to and from work and one day my body could literally not make it up the hill to my apartment.
I couldn’t work out what was going on as this is a walk I had made five days per week for nearly three years. I figured it must have been my extra classes of Pilates and kept pushing on with my busy schedule, working 12 hours per day, hitting the gym and going out for some sort of social engagement every night before hitting the sack, too exhausted to even wash my face sometimes.