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What is Burnout and What is Just Life?

Photo by Nick Kenrick

It seems silly to be here talking about burnout. In some ways, the term seems such a first world invention. We don’t live in a country ravaged by war or environmental disasters. We have the money to feed, clothe and house our family. We have opportunities to learn and prosper. 

Burnout is self-inflicted, isn’t it? An inability to get off the hamster wheel of life, not pushing back against the forces of capitalism, the inability to say no. 

And yet, burnout is real. 

I see it in the faces of loved ones. I catch glimpses of it in parents on the school run. It flashes on the faces of strangers in the supermarket. I recognise it in myself.

Last new year didn’t feel like a renewal for me. It felt like a continuation of the same weariness. Like being in a downward dip that is taking too long to even out. Like the people around me are fighting for time and the Earth is too. Like when the Earth suffers, pockets of suffering expand in response. 

Photo by Angela Marie Henriette

A symbiotic death spiral. See what my creative brain did there? 

My head can take things too far. It’s a gift, creatively speaking, but perspective is everything. 

Sometimes we make things hard for ourselves. Sometimes we are tired and disappointed. Sometimes we forget to celebrate the wins. Sometimes we need to ask for help. Sometimes, we just need to step off the carousel.

For me, I needed to stop juggling too much. I’ve scaled back my expectations of myself. I’m saying no more often. Be honest with yourself about what you need.

Here’s my pick me up recipe:

Simple moments, bottled in gratitude jars and remembered. 

A news and social media detox.

Conversation that lingers.

Good music and food. 

Being present. 

Journalling.

Nature. 

Sleep.

Sex.

You can try these in any order. Let me know how you get on. 

Burnout is real. 

Be good to yourselves x

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