About Me

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Kicking Burnout's Ass

I have always been a workaholic and to some extent I still am. I am currently suffering from extreme burnout. I try to hide and mask it because I feel that it's a sort of weakness, but deep inside I know how burned out I feel and I realize that I have lost some of my productivity. Over a decade of working twelve hours a day, six or seven days a week, and having my private life revolve around nothing but my work field has finally caught up to me.

The burnout manifests itself in a number of ways. Lately I have been sick all the time-since January I have suffered from three colds and I have currently relapsed with another. I am irritated, impatient, and constantly lose my temper. Sometimes I feel depressed, overwhelmed, and emotional. My body constantly aches and I always feel exhausted. I can't concentrate. Sometimes I want to change careers, although I adore my job. I know that something is just drastically wrong and something needs to change.

About four years ago, I went through an extremely hard time at work. I lost close friends and two mentors who I cherished and adored. People who I trusted turned on me. I became a manager and didn't have a secretary for the first year. I was forced to work overtime because I had no secretary, people turned on me, and one of my workers stole important content from me that I had to replace myself in order to save face. I had to work my ass off, and since then I have never felt the same.

Those who know me well also know that before I became a manager that I also overworked myself. It was in large part a defense mechanism of being in a relationship with someone who got himself into a little bit of trouble and served time in prison. In order for me to deal with the pain, humiliation, and loss, as well as coping with staying in a faithful relationship with someone who served a significant amount of time in prison, I turned to my work to maintain my sanity. I worked so that I wouldn't worry about him. I worked so that I wouldn't get lonely. I worked so that the time would pass by quickly, that I would become successful, and so that I wouldn't perceive the time that he was gone as being wasted time. And then I got slapped in the face when I became a manager with a tough year and a half of my life. And since then I have never been the same.

The habit of overworking myself has stuck with me and I even turn what should be relaxing into a chore. If I'm going on vacation, well, then I've got to start a blog about it. If I am reading a book then I feel like I have to blog about it. It's a hard habit to break. I'd even say that it is a severe addiction. Do they have a workaholics anonymous 12 step program??

Today on the positivity blog, I read the article 5 Simple Ways to Not Be Overwhelmed and Drained By Your Work. The article hit home to me and inspired me to set more boundaries in my life to come out of the rut that I am currently in. It reminds me that I need to take time out to take care of myself and sometimes rest is the best thing that we need to do. As I am at home sick this weekend, I am going to make sure that I:

  • Take a nap each day and get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. 
  • Go to the gym tomorrow if I am not feeling too sick, or go for a walk if it isn't raining.
  • Watch a silly movie on television.
  • Read a book for fun.
  • Talk on the phone to a friend that I haven't spoken with for a while.
I feel like the first step that I must take is admitting that I have a problem. I also need to come up with action steps of things that I am going to do just for myself that aren't related to my profession. I'm going to try to blog about some tangible things that I am going to do, just for me, to make me happy and make me feel rested and at peace. I am going to kick burnout's ass, once and for all. I am taking my life and health back. I can do this!!

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