When You’re on the Verge of Burnout

When I experienced complete and total burnout over seven years ago – and I’m talking the kind of burnout where I swore I was quitting my job if I was ever going to survive – that year leading up to my burnout, I blamed everyone. I blamed my boss for giving me the promotion that I swore was the ultimate cause of my burnout. Then I went on to blame my co-workers who appeared to not have as much work as I did, or I even blamed stay-at-home moms for posting fun trips at Disneyland while I was stuck in an airport.

And of course, I blamed my husband. He had a business from home where he didn’t have to get ready and commute like I did. I blamed everyone for my burnout. Well, almost everyone! I forgot to blame one really important person – me! I never once blamed myself, like it wasn’t even a consideration that I was responsible for my burnout.

But of course I was; I was the one who was saying yes to what was being put in front of me.

I was the one who was making choices to put myself in the center of these circumstances that were causing burnout. If you are experiencing symptoms of burnout or you’re getting closer to it, I’ve got to tell you: it’s your fault. You are the person who’s causing the burnout, the burnout is to be blamed on you. Look, I’m not here just to point fingers at you today, I’m going to actually offer some tips about what you can do about this.

The first tip is to acknowledge that you are the person responsible for the burnout – but here’s the good news. If you’re the person who made the choices to get you to the burnout, you’re the same person who can make choices to get you out. You have the power to get out of this situation. Now we’ll talk about some tips on how to do that.

If you’re looking to get out of burnout, first of all, you’ve got to start saying no. All of these opportunities, all of these requests that are coming your way, are you saying no to any of them, or to at least the ones that are really pulling at you? And I get it; in a professional environment you can’t act like a little kid, stomping your feet and saying, “No, I won’t do that!” Of course not.

But are you having a professional conversation, an open dialogue where you could potentially say, “No, thank you,” and evaluate what’s on your plate, or see if these requests align with the company’s priorities or your professional development? If not, you need to go have those conversations. The second piece is, if you can’t say no, if you do need to commit, then are you asking for help? Look at what’s in front of you. Are there resources that you should be tapping into, to get some assistance so you don’t burn out?

A little side tip on this: don’t assume people know you need help; you have to ask.

Don’t assume that your boss has any clue what’s really on your plate. Don’t assume your spouse is going to help you with a household chore. You have to ask; again, the power is yours. Go out and ask for help. The third thing I’d like to call to your attention is, are you focused on perfection? Do you have things that you’re working on, things that you’re doing, responsibilities that you have, where you’re trying to make it perfect?

Is that perfection, whether it’s draining your resources for time or energy, one of the things that is leading to burnout? If so, I’m going to invite you to go back to one of my videos about four or five weeks ago that addresses perfection. That’s the video for you, to help you get ahold of this burnout! If you have any other tips on how to either avoid or get yourself out of burnout, please post those in the comments below.

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