Dealing With Burnout, 2022 Edition

The Truth Is Relative

If you are feeling emotionally drained and physically exhausted, these are possible signs of burnout. Dealing with the state of fatigue can start with becoming aware of those moods and emotions, and the physical symptoms you are experiencing. This will give a notion of what is your “way of being” and how you respond to stressful situations. 

Chalmer Brothers and Vinay Kumar, in their book “Language and the Pursuit of Leadership Excellence”, explain how we live in an interpretive world. We give meaning to what we experience using our own filters and perspectives. Our beliefs are the truth. But, are they really? Whatever you are going through, how you feel about it, how your mind and body respond to it, is the result of how you construe your full understanding of the situation.

Drama, suffering and disappointment can be avoided if you approach your problems with a new lens: Challenging your own ideas and perspectives, knowing that they are not necessarily true, will open new opportunities for you to make different choices and get better results. This is easier said than done. It requires your willingness to listen to other people’s perspectives, being open to advice and feedback, and finally changing your actions with the hope of achieving better results. However, if you are too hooked on how you see life today, then the pain of challenging those ideas will be greater than the promise of a better future, and thus, nothing will change. 


The Courage It Takes

By now you may have noticed that I am avoiding treating any burnout person as a victim of stress. Many of us are caught in situations where we are not the ones creating the strain, but suffering through it. Sometimes we think we can handle complex situations, but then realize the cost is too high. This is nobody’s fault.  Nobody chooses conscientiously to lead a stressful life or work in a stressful environment. However, many times, even with a lot of evidence and people telling us it’s harmful to keep this us, we do not listen. The habit takes over and getting out is very hard. But we must.

James Prochaska, in“Changing for Good”, talks about the first phase all self-changers go through called the “precontemplation phase” and cites G.K. Chesterton: “It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem”. Before you start contemplating any change you are probably denying you have a problem at all. It seems you may have a problem and need to change because of what people tell you. You are not really convinced, until you start relating the pain you are feeling to the problem people are pointing at for you. When you see the connection clearly, you move into the contemplation stage, making this abstract nuisance visible, tangible and objectivized. This is how you recover your power to change your life. Now you can do something about it. 


The Way Through

Accept the situation for what it is without feeling a victim. Do not lose your power. You are much more than your problems and you are stronger than you think.

Feel the pain, the sadness, the hopelessness, then brush them off and move forward. You cannot control your emotions, you will feel things because you are human. However, do not brood on them for too long, they will not be good guides for the actions you need to take.

Alleviate the symptoms, so you can think clearly about how to get out of this tiredness. Meditate, exercise, sleep, take a few days off, eat healthy, visit friends, do joyful things and come back to contemplate the problem with fresh eyes. 

Take steps towards creating a vibrant and healthy environment for you and your loved ones. You have the power of making those decisions. 

Do not wait too long. Things will not change if you do change yourself. Think about what things are at steak besides your health and wellbeing.


The Power of Prioritization

Prioritizing helps you think about what is most important to you at any given moment. Change requires you to invest your energy and time to modify thoughts and actions. That energy is limited and so you want to use it for what is worth. Cardone’s “The 10X Rule” proposes a very useful way of making decisions that are aligned to your goals and dreams: First you have to connect to your deepest desires. Say, you want to lead a peaceful and healthy life. Think about how you would spend your focus, time and money to achieve those goals. Now, rank those actions and invest 10 times more on those that are crucial to your objectives. Then, disinvest in those things that drain your energy and money, and are not really that important.


Deal and Win

Being attached to old and unhelpful beliefs is not productive and will keep you stuck. Have the courage to try new ways of approaching the sources of stress you are fighting. Take your time to understand what the problem really is, so you can address it using all your willpower and decision making capabilities. Feel your emotions but do not let them drive your thinking. Take steps to reverse any harmful situation quickly and deal with symptoms first. Plan and prepare your change by prioritizing what you need the most now. Acknowledge this is a process and that change is never linear or perfect.