Underestimating the Effects of Burnout
On July 24, 2016, I left my comfortable full-time corporate job to start up my own businesses. After one full year of creating, refining and executing my Master Plan, I proactively and courageously made a positive change in my life. (This differs from my usual method of waiting for change to strike.) It surprises me how difficult it was to overcome the “being stuck” mentality and just get on with what I needed to do, systematically removing the chains of society.
After working so diligently to bring my dreams into fruition — finally being able to walk into my boss’ office with the good news, the last thing I expected was to feel absolutely drained. I am not talking about needing a long overdue nap, I am talking about wanting to curl up in the fetal position for days recovering. Was office life really that bad and unhealthy for me? I think it will help me to creatively analyze this temporary transition period.
Firstly, what is burnout and why am I burnt out?
Burnout comes when you have been holding things together for a long time that are less than fully rewarding or satisfying — essentially when you are expending more energy than what you are in-taking and the sum is a deficit. It makes an appearance when you have been holding down a job mainly for the paycheque. Perhaps it is a job that does not highlight your strengths and instead forces you to constantly battle your weaknesses or regularly perform tasks you dislike. Sometimes, it can feel like you have sold your soul for money.
A recipe for burnout is when everything on your daily to-do list is truly a chore, things you dread doing and feel passionless about. Some long-term ingredients on my own burnout list include feeling like I can never finish a thought or complete a project because of interruptions, obligations and chores. This comes from being conditioned to place others’ wants and needs above my own stemming from dedication to service, which turns into some sort of twisted co-dependent thing. It is a small kind of torture holding my breath for when I get to work on my own stuff, and those moments never seem to come. Additionally, I have found when I start working on something brilliant and am forced to put it off to work on something else for someone else, when I return to my project, it has lost its rhyme and rhythm — its momentum — and instead goes onto a growing pile of unfinished items.
Add up all the small injustices, delays and wasted time, and it turns into prolonged mental self-abuse.
So what causes burnout?
- Doing something that drains your energy instead of infusing you with energy, especially for long periods of time
- Constantly denying your inner desires or needs
- Not using your strengths
- Not being creative or creating something
- Being used by other people or constantly compensating for others’ weaknesses or laziness
- Not having quality time with loved ones based on traditional values, like sharing sit-down meals with the family
- Not have the time or energy to make and eat nutritious raw-food lunches
- Becoming detached from your body due to lack of exercise
- Limited time to enjoy the outdoors, fresh air, and being in nature with animals, plants and bodies of water
- Not having any mental breaks due to always being occupied, busy and distracted
Recovering from Burnout
Taking a closer look at my burnout has led to a breakthrough and allowed me to uncover the root cause of my suffering. It turns out the root cause is hidden in plain sight. It is simple and goes like this:
Time is a commodity.
Simply put— working for someone else in a job tells us to equate every minute with a dollar value. In turn, the dollars are converted into things we can buy. The more we work, the more we can buy; for example, if I work overtime or get a second job, my worth goes up. Likewise, I allow myself to take a vacation when I have earned the time off and am getting paid for those days. Otherwise, taking time off is not acceptable.
Living like this in tuned with today’s fast-paced world produces some harmful effects and misses the boat. In essence, it removes the meaning of life from our days and puts it into a cage where we can come and visit it now and then, but never own.
Our time deserves more respect than that.
So despite the fact that I have worked hard to escape the grind of 8 to 5, I need to shift my mind into a new space and raise myself above the entire “time = $” system. I suppose this is phase two of my master plan coming into vision. My new affirmation goes like this:
I am a creator. As a creator, I remove the limiting belief that time equals money. I replace this concept with working to the flow of my own energy. Time cannot even compete with creative energy, which can accomplish far greater things for much less sacrifice.
I actually completed something important to myself!
There, I’ve done it. Finally. I have posted my first real article on Medium. The day has arrived when I have been able to put my mind to my own projects and goals and actually complete them.
This is only the start. Now onto what’s next on my creator list!