(First appeared in WRAL Techwire.)
I’m taking April off!
Kinda. Nineteen days ago I snatched every block of uncommitted time I had this month and held it for me! I’m treating it like recess, so whatever I feel like doing, I’m gonna do.
My “come to Jesus” happened when a friend called to download her day and I teared up. I didn’t have it in me. The straw. The camel. I didn’t have it in me to care. As awful as that is to admit.
That feeling is called compassion fatigue and it’s one of the first signs of burnout. So, I did what any self-respecting human would do who makes a career out of personal development – I finished crying and bought a slice of salted caramel cake from Nantucket.
When I finally pulled myself together, I realized this was less about her and way more about me, my lack of emotional boundaries and my season of overcommitment. Fast forward to today and I feel really good. I’m bringing more of the good stuff into my day and saying ‘no’ when it doesn’t serve me, even if it’s hard.
I’m gonna do that again tomorrow… and again the next day. Rinse and repeat.
BURNOUT’S TIGHT GRIP
Here’s the thing, I know I’m not on this island by myself. Burnout has a tight grip on many of us right now. I had the unique opportunity to speak to hundreds of women during women’s history month and share space on panels discussing mental health and self-care. The feedback and 1:1 conversations after each event were enlightening to say the least and reinforced an assumption.
Triangle executives, small business owners, members of my cohort and employees across all levels are telling me: “Jes, we’re tired. We’re crispy-crunchy burned out.”
It was in these conversations that it dawned on me… the self-awareness around this issue is high. We know we’re burned out. We’re trying to course correct. We’re all trying! But the long-term solution to burnout is deeper than a bubble bath or a walk in the park.
FINDING SOLUTIONS: MY MISSION
The things we’ve been told will fix it, often don’t. They are merely a temporary solution. In fact, it’s possible that self-care routines are adding pressure instead of providing restoration. So, friends I think we’re in the red zone now. It’s time to dig deeper – a lot deeper.
Since I have the privilege of thinking about this stuff and exploring solutions, I’m going to take the next 90 days to get in the boxing ring with burnout. My sole purpose is to uncover better resources and find new answers and support for you. I’ve got meetings and interviews already on the books. I’m scheduled to talk to psychologists, executive leadership, therapists and other experts to get to the bottom of this chronic issue.
The gloves are on. I’ll share what I’m learning soon and hopefully uncover new insights that will help us all give burnout the TKO it deserves.