• alexandraruhl25

Are you burned out? Me too

In today's episode, I want to talk about burnout. That's right, I have been driving my car down burnout road for a while now and I've arrived at my destination. So it's time for me to take a little bit of a break and take a step back and give myself a bit of respite. So this will be the only podcast episode that comes out this week and I'll play by ear as to whether I go back to three episodes next week, or whether I keep it once a week just for a little while longer.

Read on for the full transcription or listen to the podcast episode here

So let's talk about burnout because burnout is something that I think everyone in our industry can relate to. I'm sure that you listening at some point have felt burned out, you might even be burned out right now and I'm hoping that by me talking about this, and that makes you realise that you're not alone and it's absolutely normal to feel burned out, especially during a time like this. I think for me, personally, what's interesting is, people describe burnout as the result of working too much, or having too much going on in the brain or trying to do too much in too little time and putting too much pressure on yourself and, you know, never switching off. But for me, I actually experience burnout on the other side of a very busy period.

So for the last couple of months, as the world started to come to life again, as restrictions were eased, as summer kind of allowed us to live a little bit more of a normal existence in the wake of the pandemic, I started to see massive amounts of activity in the industry. And I personally had loads of projects on and had a really massive production go ahead, and I found myself over the last kind of month or so, getting really intensely busy. You know, where you start not taking care of yourself, you can’t remember the last time you showered or you’re working until you literally have to go to sleep because your eyes are shutting, not delegating very well, sending emails with autocorrected you know, responses that make you look like a moron, all that kind of stuff. I just letting stuff slip through the net, because I was taking too much on and weirdly, I didn't feel necessarily burned out, I felt tired.

I don't know about you but I get strange buzz, like an adrenaline kind of rush that kind of keeps me going through times of intense grinding like that but as soon as I stop, as soon as the busy period is over, as soon as things are kind of off the to do list, as soon as I kind of close the chapter on those projects, that's when I feel burnout. And that's why this week has been really, like it's really hit home that I need a break and that I can feel in my body, in my mind that I just need a break.

And I think that's really important that you evaluate when it's right for you to take that break and when you when you feel burnout. There’s a fine line between going with it for a while because you've got responsibilities and ultimately sometimes it's worth persevering and pushing through just to see if actually, you were just feeling a little less motivated or a little tired that day. But then sometimes you kind know that you've crossed over into burnout territory. And it's really important to stay in touch with those feelings and if you can, and, you know, afford to both financially or timewise if you're in a position to be able to take a break or maybe not even take a break fully but just kind of switch directions or if you can look at what is a priority for you right now and just pull back on some of the things that are maybe nice to have rather than, you know the absolute priority, then that is absolutely the healthy thing to do.

I think that we are living in a culture of burnout and especially now with everyone working from home. I've always worked from home since I've been self employed and I've gone through periods of working in an office with other team members, I've gone through a period of sharing an office with my brother, I've gone through a period of working in a co working space or working from coffee shops, like I've experimented with everything but primarily I've always worked from home. The biggest problem with that is obviously, that nature of being switch on 24/7. Couple that, with a pandemic and an on-coming second wave, it’s little wonder that people are feeling anxious, people are feeling overwhelming burnout. It seems weird, right? Because even just like five months ago, a lot of us were kind of twiddling our thumbs thinking about how work has essentially been wiped out overnight. This has changed everything about how I operate and what I'm doing. And I need to pivot quickly and for me, personally, I did take a little bit of time off. So it's funny how quickly you can go from taking a break, to getting back into that cycle of overwhelm, and taking on too much. But ultimately, what I think it comes down to is just knowing yourself, and not judging yourself. And I know I did a whole episode, I think

literally the other week about this idea of not judging yourself, not holding yourself to unrealistic expectations and there is a line, there is a fine line between saying you're going to do something and staying consistent in order to achieve your goals, and understanding where when you physically and mentally need to take a step back.

I've been thinking about taking a break for a little while, and what that would mean and thinking about whether or not it was the right thing to do. And I knew that after I finished this big project that I wanted to take a break. The way I think about taking a break is making progress. Taking a break is not a detrimental thing to your progress. In fact, you can make a massive amount of progress if you take a break when you need it. Because if run a car on empty gas, you're going to really fuck the engine. Whereas if you take a break, refuel and then get back on the road, then you're going to go so much further, and it's going to be a lot more efficient, and the performance of the car is going to be better and long term, you're not doing any damage to the car. So I've really tried t think about taking a break and knowing when burnout is affecting me and when I need to take a step back. Actually taking the break sometimes is more productive, is more beneficial, is about you making more progress than actually keeping going. And I think because we live in this culture of always on, you're always having to multitask, you're always doing something, there's always more to be done. There's always more clients to be emailed, there's always more to do, there's always more content to produce, and I think sometimes we get swept up in that. And we don't, it's not that we don't know that we need to take a break from it and we need to step back, it’s just very difficult, when the whole world seems to be on that collective treadmill and it’s difficult to take a step off yourself.

I'm the worst at that and I'm still trying to work this out, hence talking about it in a podcast episode with you guys but reframing it as actually sometimes the most productive step. The ROI of taking a break is actually far more valuable than trying to keep on that constant grind at a you know, a 40% energy level. So my hope is that I'm going to drop down the podcast to once a week, just for this week or next week. We'll see we'll see how long this lasts and it might be that during that time, I actually come up with much better ideas for the podcast, or I produce much better quality or maybe it allows me time to kind of breathe and that re inspires me. It becomes the knock on effect for something huge that changes the shape of my life forever. You just don't know do you? But I know where this path leads and If I continue down and burnout avenue, or wherever, it leads to nowhere good. Whereas it would be much more beneficial for me to take a step back and then come back energised, better quality, more clarity, being able to help more of you. And I hope that you do the same for yourself, if you are feeling burned out if you need a break, or even if you're just doing some things that aren't necessarily the priority. And actually, your time would be better spent on something else. Because you'd be more passionate about it, more energised about it, and actually doing something slightly different will re energise you for the things that you need to do in life, then have a think about that and implement it. And don't be scared to implement it, don't be scared to step off that, that collective treadmill.

Because if this pandemic has taught us anything, it's that the world can stop, and it keeps spinning. You know, I feel like that sounded way more profound than it actually was. Let me re-say that…the world can stop, but it keeps spinning. What am I even trying to say that? I'm sure you you get what I mean, you can step off, the world literally can come to a halt, but we still keep living. And in some ways, we reconnect with what's important. That was something that I came to realise, when I came out of quarantine, having those moments of acknowledged, finding that I don't want to do certain things anymore, I do want to do certain kind of projects, and I do want to help people, and I want to do this kind of content and that kind of thing. It's interesting how quickly, I fell back onto the treadmill because, I mean, ultimately, we are going through a pandemic, and you can't necessarily turn down work, but sometimes then it's about having the confidence and the ability to say, you know what, no, not at the moment. I’m just dragging my heels, trying to get through this last mile and actually, I just need to take a step back. So do that for yourself. I'm gonna stop rambling now because I feel like I've just said the same thing over and over again but if you are feeling burned out, you are not alone. And let's create, you know, let's talk to each other about this, let’s not just pretend that everything's hunky dory. I feel like going through this pandemic, with you guys is all about the highs and the lows and sharing the journey, and being there to support each other through it. So let me know how you're feeling? Let me know if you're feeling burned out and what you're gonna do about it. Or maybe you’re not? Maybe you were but you're back on it. Now, give ME that light at the end of the tunnel. I'd love to hear from you.

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