Signs it's Burnout
There was a time in my life where I could not figure out what was wrong with me. I was constantly exhausted, felt hopeless, anxious, and didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. It sounds quite dramatic, but I felt doomed, and couldn’t understand how I could possibly feel this way after working so hard to achieve this life.
I worked a lot…. full time in a school district, and then three evenings a week in a private practice. I also had some side hustles. Our mortgage payment, car payments, and so forth were crushing.
I wanted to help people, liked the majority of my co-workers, and cared deeply about my clients; however, something had shifted. It felt terrible. I was confused, felt really guilty about my feelings, and thought I was drowning.
I needed to get out.
Is it burnout?
Or is it just stress? There are three dimensions of burnout, which are: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced motivation and performance.
I was exhausted all the time, and could not get myself out of bed. I dreaded the day. How could this be life?
I wondered if I was depressed. Should I go on an antidepressant? Or was I just really a happy person who was stuck in a pattern they didn’t like?
Ironically, this is the time I started using Instagram, and noticed that there were people out there who were living very differently than I was. I began to learn about minimalism, took a yoga teacher training, began learning more and more about photography, and saw a glimmer of hope.
I got into psychology because I loved helping people, and over time, found myself dreading the work. I felt detached, and incredibly irritated most days unless I was going to yoga or grabbing coffee with a friend. Why was I not the happy person I used to be anymore?
Reduced motivation + performance
I was constantly late, embarrassingly so. Reports and projects were written up at the last moment possible. Forget doing above and beyond. I did the least amount of work possible to get by, and felt totally ashamed of myself. There was no motivation to improve.
This went on for a really long time. When I had my son in 2015, I knew I couldn’t go back. I could not leave him to work a job that was making me so miserable to pay for a life I didn’t want. He gave me the strength to move on. Within a few weeks after I made the decision I began to feel incredibly better.
Entrepreneurship + Lifestyle Design
Entrepreneurship and creative businesses are not going to solve all of your problems. You can also get burned out from them. That saying, do what you love and you won’t work a day in your life? That is BS. You’ll work a lot.
But for me, building a business has given me the freedom to build a life that I really love, and I wake up each day excited to do the work. It’s very hard to find that freedom when you work for someone else. Some weeks are really challenging, and I can easily bite off more than I can chew, but in general, it’s been the most liberating experience for me. I like being on my terms. I like the idea that anything I dream of is possible if I get creative.
It’s never too late
You don’t have to live your life a certain way because of choices you previously made. I know it’s terrifying. I went to grad school for a really long time, and then did a 180. Many people still believe I’m nuts for this.
But my skillsets are not lost. I believe that everyone is capable of taking their skills, knowledge, and passions and turning it into a profitable business on their terms if they are truly dedicated.
It won’t happen by accident, as none of the good things in life are ever by accident. It’s never too late to build a life and business you love.
Can you relate? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
Hey! This is super important: If you are stuggling, think it may be burnout, or feel hopeless, seek the advice of a psychologist, doctor, or other mental health professional. You can easily find a therapist at Psychology Today. Do not diagnose or treat yourself. This blog post is intended to provide information only.