Friday, April 20, 2012


For those of you who are not aware of what burnout is, it is basically a psychological term for exhaustion that is extended over a long period of time and leads to decreased interest and motivation. In the further stages it can also lead to depression. I learned about this concept after attending a presentation by Dr. Joan Borysenko, who wrote a book all about. She was a wonderful speaker and had many personal examples to share about burnout. At this presentation I ran into one of my friends, who I imagined was feeling similar to myself, exhausted and unmotivated by things that used to drive us.

There is nothing more frustrating than not being motivated to do anything (especially the things you care about the most) because you are burned out. I used to want to do this, this, and this, but now I’m just so tired.

Burnout offers the opportunity to step back and look at what is really important in life. Of course, this can be done far before burnout actually happens, but hitting rock bottom sometimes can help. For myself, I found that writing was important. I miss my creative writing class from several semesters ago, and I miss talking to people about what I am writing. When I am writing I feel awesome. There is joy to be found from weaving a story and creating characters. When I am not writing (no time, no ideas, no support to start) I feel miserable.

This might seem contradictory to people who know me as someone who doesn’t like to sit down or stop moving, and it is true that I like to have a “go” and “do” attitude. What’s lacking is a balance. In one of my classes my professor said, “If you don’t have at least ONE hour to yourself a day, then you are too stressed.” Unfortunately, that has happened so often to me that I can’t count the times I have still be awake in bed, answering text messages and emails in the dead of night.

The best way to stop burnout is to stop. Stop what? Stop everything. Turn off the phone; turn off the television and computer. Go take a nap. Go take a walk. Relax. Eat some fresh food. Take a deep breath. Stop. Now, what is really important? Do it.

Here is an article from Dr. Joan Borysenko with some more remedies: This is the link.

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