I do a lot.
Now before the eye rolls begin, let me explain myself. I’m not saying this to brag about my ability to “have it all.”
I’m saying this because I’m exhausted and I know I can’t be the only one.
I’ve always been the go-getting, take the bull by the horns sort of gal. I love to stay involved, meet new people, volunteer, work a job and a side hustle, go to yoga… all of that. However, this year was different because I wasn’t able to ignore the exhaustion manifesting in my body.
By the end of 2021 I was:
- working a very busy full time job
- working a freelance community engagement/talent manager position
- frequently modelling,
- Trying to work my passion project (this blog)
- taking demanding project management classes
- trying to prioritise my physical health after hip surgeries
- attempting to maintain a relatively active social and dating life
- Ignoring my mental health by doing the above
The craziest part about this list isn’t even the fact that it’s so long; it’s the fact that I had tricked myself into believing I could juggle everything without a hitch.
This cycle of stacking on jobs, activities, side hustles and social events has been a big part of my identity. In my heart, I know I don’t have to do as much as I do, but my mind says differently. My mind says:
“Do more. BE more. Be the BEST.”
So, I do.
I’ve always put immense pressure on myself to achieve. I’ve always needed to be the best. I have always set goals for myself and it’s not enough to simply meet them. I have to meet and exceed my expectations.
Then, when I achieve my goals – whether it destroys my mental health or not – I don’t rest.
Actually, let me be very honest with you:
I CAN’T rest.
Quite frankly, accomplishing my goals has never felt like enough. Once my list is complete, I quickly make a new one. I know there will always be new skills to learn or other goals to meet, but the fear of falling behind gives.me.anxiety.
Okay. Be honest with me.. how obvious is it from my little tangent that I’ve become addicted to being “productive”?
The crazy thing is, there’s nothing wrong with having goals for yourself and wanting to hold yourself to a higher standard.
I’ve just been overdoing it for years.
Anytime I’ve tried to slow down, I’d log onto my social media and see:
- another book about “influencing people” or “making money” that I need to read to get ahead.
- more tips on how to be productive and get more out of your day
- a person my age who’s become the youngest CEO of X company
Sooo, I’d make the decision to keep going
This continuous cycle of working myself to the bone was working really well for years. Then, I woke up one day and it didn’t fit me anymore. On one particularly busy week of back to back meetings, answering email after email, studying for classes, organising social calendars and getting ghosted by boys on hinge, I hit a wall.
While I’m accustomed to feeling a little tired after my tasks, that week was different. I could feel how physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted I had become. I was having constant dreams about my teeth falling out, woke up with anxiety most mornings, was having chronic hip pain flare ups and had even become disinterested in pursuing my passion projects (in fact, this blog was originally set to launch in the fall).
It took me sitting down with my family and my friends for me to realise that I’d been burning the candle at both ends of the stick.
I was officially and unequivocally burned TF out.
When I came to realise that I was taking on too much, I’d already run head first into the metaphorical wall.
My time no longer belonged to me.
My life revolved around my jobs, school, and my obsession with being “the best.” I’d assigned my worth to my ability to produce labour for others. I had trouble seeing myself outside of my productivity and became panicked at the thought of no longer being “useful.”
So, I decided I needed to make some changes.
Part II will be dropping here on next week!
[…] To read Part I of Battling Burnout click here. […]
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