Burnout: Why We Still Need to Talk About COVID (Even If We’re Sick of It)

I have a confession. When I read the CTVNews article about small business owner burnout, I realized I am in that 2/3rds group.

woman with laptop on table rubbing her head to show burnoutI notice the signs of burnout pretty quickly now from experience: I get tearier, have poorer sleep, worry about getting it all done, cannot get work off my mind, and am more distractable. I’m more demanding with my family for their support – sometimes resiliently advocating and sometimes moodily complaining. My extroverted self has been tempered, often opting to stay home to read, cook, and go for a walk by myself.

It’s a risk to share this. No one hires an “unmotivational speaker.” I’m human. And it does no good to share the shiny versions of ourselves.

So I will continue with my confessions.

We talk a lot about busting mental health stigma; however, do we do the same to break the “busy” badge of honour? When someone says, “I’m so busy,” maybe they mean, “I think I might be heading toward or I’m at burnout.”

We get so darn used to being busy and overwhelmed that burnout symptoms become our new baseline.

We need to retrace our steps. The start of COVID might be a standard anchor for us all. I know we are all sick of talking about it, and might that be part of the problem? Not speaking of the residual burnout from it?

When we look back and honestly list everything we’ve had to navigate through, we probably cannot believe it. Seriously, take a moment and list it. Most of it is invisible to us, let alone to others.

I’ll go first.

You might not have seen that 90% of my work disappeared overnight in March 2020. I built a virtual studio, recreated every keynote, launched new programs (some total flops), created over a dozen virtual courses, wrote a book, sent over 2000 thank you cards (no joke), co-launched a global recognition event, and launched a new website. Six figures in expenses later, and finally having adjusted, it’s changing again. I’m back on the road, sometimes delivering virtual sessions from a hotel room before an in-person event. All the while, trying to give my best to the coaching clients I’m lucky enough to support through their ups and downs, lead a team of superstars and not lose them in #thegreatresignation, and, oh yeah, raise teens launching into adulthood.

Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE what I do. I feel honoured to do what I do. And, it’s been a gruelling 2+ years. I will admit that I haven’t fully “bounced back.”

Two summers before COVID, I wrote Flip Side of Failing. It might have been the universe telling me I’d need some of my own lessons to draw upon, and perhaps it was a fluke; regardless, that failure resiliency framework in the book has helped. I’ll admit I lose my way from it; however, it’s my true north. When I find my way back, it rights my mindset during burnout peaks.

The other thing that grounds me is the awe I feel for my clients and the industries I serve that have had a way harder time of it than I have.  The burnout has been even more substantial for them, and I try to use my empathy from the experience of this gruelling time to serve them better.

So, we’re all in this together, even when it feels we’re not.

  • Show kindness.
  • Keep supporting local.
  • Love up small businesses.
  • Remind people when they’re struggling that they’re doing the best they can.

And remember, YOU are already Greatness!

Looking for more ideas to combat burnout? Check out these posts:

 

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

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