The Burnout Myths

The Burnout Myths

Burnout is a system problem manifesting in individuals

Have you ever felt burnt-out?

I hit my peak burnout about three years ago.

It started with jaw pain & insomnia, a creeping feeling of cynicism for work I cared deeply about.

Then came the anxiety, the exhaustion, irritability and a sense of being always on-edge.

I felt completely lost.  I knew something needed to change, but everything was so overwhelming it was hard to see a way out.

This time has deeply informed my work with burnout now.

Changemakers & activists (along with caregivers & healthcare) disproportionately suffer from burnout.

It derails our goals, careers, relationships, movements & of course our health.

But despite how common it is, there are still so many burnout myths that we hold.  Here are a few of them:

#Myth: That we can heal burnout with a vacation or weekend off.  We think “I’ve just got to get through till the weekend/semester end/holidays” or “I just need a week off and then I’ll be fine”.

#Truth: Burnout will return – probably worse – if we don’t address the underlying causes & ways of working.  Time off is great, and probably necessary, but it needs to be part of our healing, and not just a bandaid.

#Myth: Burnout is a sign of weakness or a personal failing

#Truth: Burnout is the result of ways of working that do not support us.  It’s a system problem manifesting in individuals and so there is work to do at two levels.

First, within us as individuals – our bodies, hearts and minds. Secondly, within us as a community, in how we come together, the working styles we embody and our relationship to conflict, scarcity and belonging.

#Myth: Burnout & stress are a part of life… and part of being a changemaker

#Truth: Stress is natural & healthy to a degree, but chronic stress, which leads to burnout is not. Stress & burnout do not make you any more impactful as a changemaker, and in no way is burnout part of ‘adulting’ or ‘life’.

You can view more burnout myths over on Instagram.

Starting October 10 is Internal Revolution: Ending Burnout Cycles & Culture. This is a four-week online course for changemakers & activists.


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