self-care leadership burnout

3 Ways to Work Through Burnout

By Lindsay Martin-Bilbrey, CMP on November, 11 2019

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Lindsay Martin-Bilbrey, CMP

Lindsay is the CEO of Nifty Method Marketing & Events. A lively event professional armed with a very diverse background in the events industry and specializes in topics such as inbound and event marketing, attendee engagement, and so much more.

You ever find yourself thinking, "If I have to sit through another ..." or "That person just makes me..." or my personal favorite, "I'm so tired, please let this next cup of coffee get me through it"?

You're not quite there on the "I'm never coming back" but you are close to tears, close to exhaustion, close to Just.Being.Done.

You're close to burning out.

What is burnout?

Burnout syndrome is the fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. The Association for Psychological Science tells us that there are 3 types of burnout prevalent today that you might be facing:

  1. overload burnout : the frenetic employee who works toward success until exhaustion because she's worried she's not good enough
  2. boredom/lack of personal development burnout: the under-challenged worker who tends to manage stress by distancing himself from work
  3. worn-out burnout : the worker who is just trying to cope and get through because she's close to giving up

Burnout Is Not Uncommon

More than 64% of North American employees report high levels of stress, professionally and personally, with 74% of people saying that it contributes to anywhere from 15 minutes to up to more than one hour of lost productivity. When you start looking into certain professional fields, these percentages, already at a record number, spike even more.

Women, in particular, are facing high levels of burnout. From all ages, millennials to boomers, we work hard, we play hard. We overcommit to be present, go further, work second (and sometimes third) shifts. We please partners, bosses, perceptions, people, our kids, our family, and maybe if we remember to, ourselves.

Over the last fifteen years in my career, there have been times that I've been all three types of burnout. Sometimes I could see it; sometimes I was just too close. Thankfully, though, my support network helped me through it to get to my next opportunity that breathed new life into my career and goals.

If you're facing burnout, hear me when we say, YOU'RE NOT ALONE and YOU'RE NOT WEAK.

Hopefully, your support network is intervening to get you to the next place where you'll succeed. In the meantime, here are 3 tips I'd love to share that always re-affirm me when I'm thinking about how to manage and get beyond the burnout.

Take Some Space

I have lots of responsibilities: my companies, employees, freelancers, clients, plus 4 kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a husband. I get it, it's so tough to take some space. But even if it's you going to the back of the closet with the door shut, take 5 minutes to just breath and have space.

Send up light, send up a prayer, light a candle (though maybe not in the closet), meditate, or chant the serenity prayer or from the upshanids.

Take the space you need and be.

Surround Yourself With Light

Light comes in many forms. This last week, I threw all care to the winds, jumped on an airplane not having a clue of where I was going (literally and figuratively) and in doing sound, found myself surrounded by so much light my business and person life has not just lit up, but created an inferno of ideas.

But it doesn't have to be quite that drastic. A few months ago, I had the opportunity to go to two powerful networking events centered on the accomplishments and advice of local Fort Worth women. I didn't even realize that I was searching for many of the things I found. And I found it less than 5 miles from my house.

Sometimes, we get so focused on outcomes (make money, make impact, make change happen, etc), we forget that the environment around us can feed and support us in ways we didn't plan for.

Let the light come in and be a part of your day to day.

Write Down and Speak Out Loud What Matters

If you had one day left, what would you do? Maybe it's not a full bucket list like Richard Branson's, but would you spend it focused on the priorities on your plate today?

Take a few moments and write down what matters to you. Then speak it out loud to affirm it. It'll feel silly. Close the door if you need to. And then do it.

If you really are a 95% work/5% personal life balance person and are struggling with the world's perception that's not appropriate, take this time to say again to yourself, it's okay.

If you hate your job and you can't see yourself there next year, take this time to say, where could I go? Don't worry about how to get there. That's the next step. Allow yourself to see beyond.

If your personal song resembles a Guns and Roses hit, find the thing that you're balancing in the midst of the jungle and make peace with the rest of the ocean around it. Allow yourself to acknowledge the crazy train and say, it's just a moment in time and there's more beyond this.

And on and on.

It's not easy. And it sucks.

But it can and will get better.

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