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  • Writer's picturealexispjordan

Bourgeois and Burnt Out!

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

Burnout is Real , Self Care is Necessary...How I Extinguished My Burnout to Bring Forth My Best Bourgeois Self


Photography provided by Debonair Visuals.



LET'S START WITH THIS...


“Protect your energy”, they said, and I’ve heard it so often I’ve even repeated it to friends, family and colleagues, but I can’t say that I’ve always followed this mantra accordingly to do just that…


To burn your energy in a productive and impactful way is actually imperative to more than just your physical health, but also to your entire wellbeing.   Recently I found myself in a place where I’d been exerting energy in ways that weren’t for my best good; I’d been so overwhelmed and over worked that I was starting to feel incompetent in my own abilities, rather than realizing I cannot take on EVERYTHING, particularly in the small timeframe allotted.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I was feeling so drained by the end of my day and found myself not having the energy to do things that needed to be completed after my 9-5 and even on my days off.  Tasks that seemed simple enough, like picking up my suit from the tailor or deciding a layout for my newest article, were put off to “later” so frequently that it stressed me to even think what the result would be when I finally did get a chance to address it.  Trying to effectively display my bourgeois tendencies with events like hosting the perfect bubbly tasting for girls night at my place (and it had to be perfect chile) or a wine and cheese tasting for two for date night in, and juggling my heavy, sometimes seeming impossible, workload from my career, all while managing all the other events that life has thrown my way felt like I needed a "me' for work and another "me" for play; There just was not enough of “me” to go around for all of the needs that I had to meet.  Something was battling inside of me to put out, what I felt was, the bare minimum when I wanted to put out so much more. My energy had been depleted, leaving me frustrated, exhausted, and so over it, with my issues still unresolved despite my efforts.  It was then that I realized, “Girl, you’ve been doing the most, you are burnt OUT!”.




WHAT IS BURNOUT?


Burnout is one of those terms you hear about in all genres and fields.  You can be professionally burnt out in the workplace whether you’re completely bored with or completely overwhelmed by what you do. In fact, in a 2018 study, nearly half of participants in a survey of approximately 8,000 employees working full time contested that they had felt burnt out at times, while nearly a quarter of those employees indicated that their burnout was often and consistent.  You can be burnt out from personal interactions as well, resulting in less time for meaningful relationships, and a sense of detachment from those who usually can lift your spirits for a guaranteed good time, but you may feel completely unbothered and unmotivated to rush to the next girls' night out. So what is this ailment that can literally be manifested in any aspect of our lives? 


Burnout, in any sense, is when an individual is over-exerting themselves whether in a work or personal capacity, and in feeling fatigued internally or externally.  It can be crippling; Burnout can completely alter your mental state to manage stress in ways that may not be best fitting for your situation.  The ailments can affect your personal and professional life by exerting that energy inappropriately, causing you to blow things out of proportion or take that aggression out on someone who doesn't deserve it. Those feelings of “I literally cannot” or “I need a vacation from life” are valid, and time away from the cause of your stress or repetition can be incredibly helpful.  In all things, once you understand the issue, you can defeat the issue, and by gaining knowledge of what triggers your burnout, you gain control of your environment and can extinguish any unnecessary flames that try to tear you down.



CAUSES OF BURNOUT


Often we hear about professional burnout onset from the workplace, but personal burnout is prevalent as well. Some of the causes can be easily identified, such as a heavy workload with little time to accomplish all tasks, while others may require self reflection. Burnout is so prevalent but so often not properly identified until the individual is hitting their limit.


According to HelpGuide, burnout can be brought on by:




Work:

  • Little to no control over your work

  • Your efforts unrewarded or unrecognized

  • Inability to meet expectations; reasonable or not

  • Feelings of complacency or stagnation

  • Uncomfortable work environment


Lifestyle:

  • Working more than playing or relaxing

  • Distance from support systems, or lack there of

  • Being overworked, maintaining too much responsibility

  • Sleep deprivation


Personality:

  • Need for perfection or high achievement

  • Need for control

  • Negative outlook on life



Of course some things are easier to change than others, but your perspective can play a huge role as well. Take ownership of the items in your control, and review the external items to determine how they can be resolved. Remember how important it was for my girls' night in to be "perfect"? How many times have we been stressed in a school or work assignment because it wasn't done to "perfection" or our absolute best? Sometimes, done is better than perfect, and we're hindering our own growth due to putting our completion or release on hold. This is by no means indicating that you should give half effort, but maybe your effort is enough! It is important to put forth your best but don't allow fear of failure of that to be the only thing standing in your way, just get it done! Perhaps that troubling time at work is putting you in opportunities to show how you manage conflict and challenging situations. By reviewing and looking for resolution as well as positives, your outlook may adjust your stress levels so that you can manage in the best methods possible.


This is not placing blame on you for your burnout, but indicating that you do have power in your situation. Do not take your power lightly, you've got this! Attempting to push through instead of work through your burnout can lead to further damage and additional stress, and it is incredibly important to identify and navigate to the best of your ability how to resolve the items disrupting your inner peace.


IDENTIFYING BURNOUT


I’m constantly growing to learn how to properly deal with situations when they get overwhelming, but admittedly I’ve noticed patterns that are clear illustrations of being burnt out.  Burn out can be manifested by a multitude of events, but can be presented in several ways as well.  Per Psychology Today, some common indicators of being burnt out can include but are not limited to:


  • Fatigue, both mental and physical

  • Physical impairment, such as loss of appetite or increased illness

  • Trouble with falling asleep or staying asleep

  • Lack of motivation to complete tasks in both work and personal settings

  • Forgetfulness or a lack of focus

  • Frustration and increased irritability

  • Difficulty enjoying things in the moment

  • Insecurity and self-doubt of one’s own abilities, feeling a lack of accomplishment

  • Anxiety for any challenges to come

  • Depression or sense of worthlessness


I can trace my tendency to be forgetful when there’s a lot on my plate all the way back to high school.  By being so worried about my loved ones' wellbeings while maintaining my grades and working part-time put a ton of added stress on me that I couldn’t, at the time, properly process.  Leaving for college was even more challenging to carry all that same weight and be in a new environment trying to engage and be social with people while maintaining my scholarship, that was a task!    I cried every day during my graduate program because it was the only way I knew how to release some of that tension while working with strict deadlines for both school assignments and while working in public accounting, an already stressful profession.  Being in an environment where I could not comfortably maneuver through my tasks, I felt incapable, replaceable, and in times, valueless.  The issue is that no one wants to feel like a failure, but we see the inability to complete something as that, when in reality, it may not be our task to complete.  Not to mention carrying all of this while trying to maintain a toxic relationship.  My anxiety was through the roof!  Crying was great for temporary relief, but the only way that I could have overcome that burnout was by identifying what was causing it and determining a permanent and healthy resolution.  At one point I would be so booked and busy with work, school, and social life that I depended on my calendar for everything, which was super helpful for maintaining, but the best thing I could have done for myself was say no to some of those invites and take the time to rest and recharge.  You may be known for being the light of the party, but after a time of being social you may need a time out and to not socialize for the next day or two.   I would go out on a Friday night for a community open mic, then a Saturday afternoon brunch followed by a Saturday evening social event to support a friend, and by the time Sunday came I’d be home “recovering” from such an intensely packed weekend.  It wouldn’t help that I’d be anticipating all the work to come the next morning from my day job.  It was an endless cycle that left me wanting nothing but to be in my house by myself with no worries from the outside world, completely detaching myself from my reality until it came time to do it again.    In times of feeling burnt out, it is best to identify the signs as early as they are recognized to avoid the potentially damaging results to come.


PROBLEMS WITH BURNOUT


Burnout brings forth an entirety of issues in our lives, ranging from minor mistakes to significant health concerns.  Major problems with burnout can cause huge delays in your progress overall, and everyone knows the hardest part of any project is starting it.  You cannot allow yourself to be so overwhelmed that you stay “content” in your journey, in fact, it’s creating additional discomfort being in the same place after all this time.  There’s this constant battle between relax and take your time vs. get it off of the to-do list and get it done!  My struggles started with my education and career workloads, then aggressively obtruded into my personal.  I couldn’t develop my brand because so many things just weren’t "good enough", couldn’t go backward to correct it because there simply wasn’t enough time, couldn’t recreate photos that didn’t come out as intended due to changes in weather or location.  I became so mentally exhausted that I thought it may just be best to put it on the shelf and try again next year when there was maybe more time, but man if not now, then when?  Do I really want to put this off for another month, season, year?  Will I ever see the result of my hard work?


Depression, anxiety, insecurity, sense of worthlessness, all are disorders that can be brought on from being overworked and strained.  Feeling worthless is problematic because it sets the tone for all that you do, and if you are unmotivated in your task, it most likely will not produce an impressive result.  Thoughts of “is it going to matter anyway?” and “they won’t see my value just like they didn’t before”, are all nonsense using your imagination for your detriment.  Your efforts do not go unnoticed.  We all have gifts and talents that make us unique, and we should find happiness in those things; how unfair and upsetting is it to allow our pressure to take joy away from our purpose.  It isn’t just being mentally drained that is harmful when suffering from burnout, but physical impairments can manifest as well.   Stress brings forth changes to our body that our cells respond with by releasing chemicals into our system that can incite serious medical conditions.  Studies have shown that constant headaches or migranes, strokes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and other life changing ailments can be attributed from stress. 


One of the biggest struggles of burnout is, no one wants to admit when they’re burnt out, and if they do, they rarely seek the help available.   It’s almost as if there is a stigma for asking for help, because it doesn’t keep you “in charge”.  Like, what?  As Jon Acuff puts it, “Don’t accept burnout as the price or definition of success”.  Everything is not meant for you to carry on your shoulders with no assistance at all.  Getting assistance from others is not going to diminish your “self made” title.  There is strength in leveraging and delegating to those who may be able to carry some of the weight, whether it requires relinquishing little or total control.  It’s OKAY!  Phrases like “Life is hard, suck it up!”, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead! ”, and “Your generation doesn’t know hard work”, are all mantras detrimental to our success as well as quality of life.  As Christian Mills of The Surrendered Life puts it, “Sometimes self care is giving yourself breaks to rest even though we live in a society that praises a no days off mentality”.  It shouldn’t be expected to work consistently with no opportunity to rest, recharge, and enjoy the fruit of the hard work emitted.  To ensure that you are not at risk of suffering from burnout, look for healthy practices to reduce levels of stress and that will instead make you feel empowered, your life may depend on it.



OVERCOMING BURNOUT


My burnout didn’t clear out until I took full charge of everything that was in my way and determined that it was only getting to the hardest parts because I was on the verge of my breakthrough, so I had to fight against the feeling of incompetence and make it happen; It was finally time.


METHODS TO OVERCOME BURNOUT

  • Rest -  Take some time for yourself.  You are allowed to get tired, but that’s literally the physical representation of you needing rest, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, etc., you need to rest, relax and recharge.  Rest is necessary.  Even if simply a change of scenery or a mini staycation, do something that will allow you to relax.  Just remember that you cannot allow yourself to get too comfortable.  Rest, reset, and get back to work as a new and improved you.

  • Take Care of Your Self - Speaking of new and improved, sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to treat ourselves to something special and do some self-care.  Take the time to be refilled, you cannot pour from an empty cup.  Sometimes self-care is simply saying no.  As James Altucher states, “Every time you say yes to something you don’t want, your fire starts to go away.  You will get burned out.”.  Do something that makes you happy, whether a hobby to allow your creative side to come out to play, a new purchase for some retail therapy, a massage, facial, or even just a self-given mani/pedi for some pampering, we always feel better when we’ve been taken care of, and what better way to feel refreshed than to take care of you.  See our post on Self Care Sunday (coming soon!) for a detailed listing of ideas and DIY projects!

  • Make a To Do List - Sometimes when we’re feeling burnt out, it’s because there seems to be so much to do and no time to get through it all.  It’s super helpful to create a list of everything you need and want done, whether for business or pleasure, and see everything in a physical representation of steps to take.  I’d become so burnt out that I began to self-sabotage; ultimately feeling like there was so much to do but no matter what direction I started in, I’d be unable to complete any task.  By creating a to-do list, you can establish your method in how to get things done and determine what items are priority, then create a plan to start knocking these things off you’re list one by one.  It may help to get the smaller, easier to complete tasks off of your list first so that your list doesn't seem so long, and you have more time to focus on the more challenging tasks. Identify tasks that need to be done, and if these can be delegated to friends, family, or hired help.  Remember, sometimes done is better than perfect, so don’t wait because things aren’t perfect by your standards, start creating something and get it DONE with what you have NOW!  Strategizing a plan can lift a huge weight from your shoulders and can absolutely aide in the resolution of being burnt out.

  • Talk to Someone.  Making time for yourself as well as making time for others are both so necessary.  Don’t be afraid to let your friends or family in when things are bothering you, most likely you aren’t alone in how you feel.  Vulnerability can be a tool. Utilize your resources; Don’t be fearful in speaking to mentors, attorneys, pastors, etc., and be open to therapy as an outlet as well.  There are plenty of professionals who are available for assisting in times of need, and a lot of insurance programs are available to pay for most if not all the costs.  Check in with your HR team to see what your options are, you may be pleasantly surprised!

  • Burn Something!  Not in a violent or damaging way, but productively!  Always practice safety first, but fire always seems to be helpful when times get overwhelming.  Whether it be candles or an actual bonfire, seeing things lit can be incredibly relaxing.  Try some of those Pinterest recipes you’ve been saving for “one day”.  Stay tuned to check out our post on Four Things to Burn When You’re Feeling Burnt Out for some ideas!  We’ll be sharing our next article soon, but you can join our mailing list for a sneak peek in the "Bourgeois Contact" section of our homepage here.



SO NOW THAT WE KNOW HOW TO EXTINGUISH, WHAT'S NEXT?


After a huge stressful period I take time off for myself to enjoy, rest and recharge in this newly emerged version of myself.  Burnout can absolutely be reduced by taking the time to yourself, but the issue at hand needs to be identified and resolved before results will truly be seen.  Burn energy by doing something that makes you feel empowered.  As Women on Topp puts it, don’t allow your creative side to become dormant and have your day job as the reason.  “Whatever it may be, I hope that you don’t ignore it because you feel like you are too busy”.  Gain control over your burnout by identifying the causes and implementing a plan to burn that energy productively.


You have to stay strong, not just for you but for all of the other “you”’s out there.  Imagine if you gave way to the fire instead of gaining control of it, and all of the chaos that would ensue?  You have to do this for yourself and all of the other versions of yourself who would be looking to you to be the example of how you are supposed to raise from the fires meant to consume you.  Keep pushing and putting forth the time and effort and hard work for all the other young women who dealt with trauma from others taking advantage of them, or the other big sisters who wanted to create a better opportunity for their siblings, or even the employees to come into your role after you.  You have so much more power than you think, and your fire burns stronger and brighter than you could even imagine.  So what are you going to do to keep that flame lit?


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