The problem with glamorizing burnout

Trigger warning: mention of burnout

This Free to Spiel guest feature has been written by Jasmine Rowland: radio presenter, journalist, CEO…the list go on!! You only have to see a few photos on Jasmine’s IG page to realise how much of a busybody she is, which is why I’m super grateful that today’s piece is all about her experiences of burnout, the need to achieve balance, and some valuable top tips to help prevent burnout phases!

“In all honesty, I do have a problem with glamorizing burnout”

‘Burnout’ is a term used to describe a state of stress and exhaustion, which can often leave a person completely deprived of energy.

To say that I’m completely unfamiliar with the state of burnout would be a lie. I try to be as honest as possible in what I write and speak about, and so I want to reiterate that as much as speaking out about this may help others, it will equally benefit myself. 

There are a lot of myths surrounding productivity, a major one being that business equates to a productive lifestyle. However, it’s so important to have balance – when we deny ourselves of that, we become at-risk of experiencing burnout.

In all honesty, I do have a problem with glamorizing burnout; periods of time when I associate the idea that I’ve completed an acceptable amount of work and hence, have reached the state as a result of productivity.

These are thoughts I want to change though, as burnout periods are something that I know have been affecting my physical health just as much as my mental. These periods affect my day-to-day life, coming home completely drained only to pass out on the sofa, or not being able to sleep because of being bombarded with thoughts like “I could be doing this,” or “I should be doing that”

“…put your mental wellbeing first – even if it means saying ‘no’

Taking action against burnout is the most important thing we can do to be kind to ourselves.

Prevention of burnout starts with not just scheduling ‘me time,’ but acknowledging what ‘me time’ is. Essentially, it’s the notion of completely unplugging, taking a moment out of any work and placing yourself as top priority.

In one of my severe burnout periods last year, I took myself to the countryside for a day out; the outcomes of this spontaneous trip left me feeling refreshed and recharged.

Something I’ve also come to realise is that I’m not aware of my limits; I become so disillusioned by work that I don’t acknowledge the point where it would benefit me to switch off. Scheduling ‘x’ number of hours is something I have started doing to help me combat these periods – not switching off when the work is done, but when I have surpassed the number of hours I have set for my day.

Here are some other ideas to help avoid burnout periods:

  1. Exercise helps dedicate the ‘me time’ you need whilst energizing and stimulating the brain for the day.
  2. Drop the perfectionist attitude, and allow for mistakes and the days where you may not get as much work completed as others.
  3. Talk to those around you, whether it’s friends or family. In the hardest of my burnout experiences this year, I opened up to my housemates about the problem and this significantly helped me get back on track whilst knowing that I had support when I needed it.
  4. Give yourself a break – switch off your phone and stop checking those e-mails.

Ultimately, you need to take control by setting rules for yourself and put your mental wellbeing first – even if it means saying ‘no’. 

Thank you Jasmine, for sharing your story! Readers can connect with the author via Instagram (@jasminerowland_).

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