Why This Burnout Feels Different
As a career counselor, one thing I’m always doing is listening for patterns and recurring themes among people I work with and those in my network. When many people express similar feelings and experiences, there is likely a societal or cultural force at play rather than (in tandem with) personal factors.
Lately, one theme that’s been emerging on all channels is burnout. We had a collective reprieve from societal burnout when things started to open back up, and schools went back to in-person learning. But lately, I’m seeing less the survival-mode burnout that happened during Covid and more of a permeating exhaustion and doubt that things will get better.
What’s different about this burnout compared to the one during Covid? This one feels more chronic than acute. We collectively felt that the worst was over, but now we’re faced with high-profile layoffs, a potentially looming recession, inflation, and a dreary, storm-filled winter season. This is not the ‘normal’ we thought we were returning to.
So what can we do during low periods to cope with the exhaustion and salvage some sense of positivity?
Connect, connect, connect.
No, I’m not talking about doom-commenting on all platforms. I’m talking about spending time, ideally in person, with people who understand your situation. This could be colleagues, a therapist, a networking group, or even a supportive slack channel. Share what you’re feeling, if for no other reason than to show someone else that they are not alone.
Ask for help.
So many people are afflicted with the compulsion of taking on every. Single. Little. Thing. Don’t do this — work on strengthening your help-asking muscle. You’ll find that people are more than willing to share resources and ideas and to make an accommodation for you if they know you need it. This is what self-advocacy looks like.
Slow down and take care.
There’s a common tendency to try to power through tough times, perhaps thinking that hyper-agitated energy and overdoing things will make change happen more quickly. But the truth is that hard times are more like the overflowing rivers we’re seeing so many of. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is slow down until the circumstances around you have changed. Carve out time to do small things for yourself that help you to feel better.
The combined stressors happening right now are unprecedented, and the factors are not your fault. If you find yourself in a dark place, please text MHA to 741741 to speak with a trained crisis counselor.
Resume Scripter offers a limited number of free and sliding-scale services to people experiencing hardship. To learn more, please email us at email@example.com.
January 17, 2023