My recent post on burnout got a substantial response, so I’m writing a follow up to dig further into the situation.
I hear about burnout from at least one person a week. It’s rampant in the nonprofit industry, but it’s not limited to nonprofit professionals. My friends who are tech executives, sales reps, and other professionals are talking about experiencing burnout.
Here are some additional questions to ask yourself if you’re experiencing burnout:
- Who do you feel you need to prove yourself to? Your board chair? Your spouse or partner? Yourself? What story are you telling yourself about what that person thinks of you? If it’s a negative story, what leads you to think they may see you in a negative light? Do you believe that person already sees you as skilled, talented, and knowledgeable? How do you think that person would react if you admitted to feeling burned out?
- How — specifically — have you kept working harder and harder to prove yourself? What activities have you done, like accepting a promotion, leading a big project, or taking on more volunteer roles?
- In what ways are you neglecting your own needs? Lack of sleep? Lack of rest and fun? Lack of time with friends and loved ones? Working until late at night? Working on Saturdays and Sundays? Working on holidays? Sending or answering emails and texts at night and on weekends? Skipping vacation, telling yourself that you can’t possibly get away because you have too much to do?
- Who do you blame for the burnout you feel? Your board chair? The CEO? Your manager?
- What problems caused by stress have you minimized or denied? Lack of sleep? Waking up in the middle of the night? Frequent headaches, backaches, stomachaches, or other physical symptoms?
- Have you withdrawn from family life or social life to work? If so, what was the result of doing that?
- Have your family members, friends, or loved ones commented on or been upset by your overworking? What was the result of that? Is there more stress in your relationship because of your overworking?
- Do you feel like you are “going crazy” or losing control? Have you felt disconnected from your thoughts or feelings, like you’re watching a movie of yourself?
- Are you using more of any type of substance, including alcohol, marijuana, caffeine, food, prescription, or illegal drugs than you were previously using? Are you overusing that substance? Are there certain events or feelings that cause you to use more?
- Are you feeling or have you felt depressed, lost, overwhelmed, or completely exhausted? Can you pinpoint a time when this started, or an event that triggered these feelings?
Recover from burnout
Burnout is not inevitable, and you can roll back your actions and attitudes to reach a healthier place.
Speaking to an outside, neutral third party like a professional colleague, minister, mentor, or coach can help you assess where you are now and move to a better frame of mind.
If burnout is an issue you’d like to explore, please reach out to me to book a complimentary coaching call.