10 signs the internet taught me about being burned out.

Lately, I’ve haven’t been myself.  To be honest, I haven’t been myself for many years now.  You see, I have been developing projects in Peru since 2011.  I left a nice job with a great work environment to venture out on my own and see if “I can make it.”  The results have been mixed.  In the past 5 years I’ve been an English Language Teacher, A Tourism Blogger, a Movie Blogger, a Marketing Manager, a Business Development Manager, a Digital Marketing Manager, and lastly a CEO.  Some of these jobs, I’ve done at the same time.  Some of these jobs I’m still doing now.  And in all this time (since 2011) I have had a total of 3 weeks vacation.

As I said, I haven’t been myself lately, that person circa 2010.  I can’t even conjure a thought of my own anymore.  I had to Google, Am I burned out? to learn that I am burned out.  According to The American Psychological Association’s David Ballard, PsyD describes [job] burnout as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.”  

Here are some signs about being burned out and I detail how true they are about me and explain my experience with it:

  1. Exhaustion: True. I’ve been exhausted… but I usually just sleep it off, drink some water or coffee, and get back to it (work).  The bad thing about this is that I’m just a zombie staring at my computer screen for hours – and as soon as a creative thought pops into my mind, I grasps at it like a child chasing bubbles just to get anything done.
  2. Lack of Motivation: This is unfortunately true… and I’m not proud of this.  It’s weird because I know I’m totally unmotivated at times and I really have to pull myself together to get complicated tasks done in a timely fashion.
  3. Frustration, Cynicism and Other Negative Emotions: True.  I believe that one shouldn’t get frustrated, they should get challenged.  But lately, I have allowed things that I have no control over frustrate me.  Could be something as dumb as politics or others behaving in a way that I don’t qualify as productive, often ignoring my own faults.  Shame on me.
  4. Cognitive Problems: True.  So, I’ll be asked to do the simplest of tasks – and I find myself being very latent, sometimes taking a few more moments to comprehend what is going on around me.  It’s become so common of me to behave like this that I’m sure my colleagues at work think it’s part of my personality.  It’s not.  And realizing this saddens me.
  5. Slipping Job Performance: This is utterly true about me and I feel like I’m doing a great disservice by not being honest about this.  Tomorrow, I’m asking for a vacation.  I can’t continue like this.
  6. Interpersonal Problems at Home and at Work:  Very true.  My wife wouldn’t be happy about me discussing arguments we get into, but suffice to say we have had a few arguments that in the end, didn’t matter.  This is probably normal for many married couples, but the frequency of it at home as been sometimes absurd.  Same with co-workers or even with friends and acquaintances.  I find I get upset over the dumbest things like who people are voting for in the Presidential Elections. Recently I deleted about 100 from Facebook just because I didn’t like their politics, or were haven’t chatted in a while.  I could have left it alone… but now, when I friend them again sometime in the future, I’ll have to come up with some excuse.  Maybe they’ll understand if I link them this blog.
  7. Not taking care of yourself: True. Here they say not taking are of yourself is when you cling to coping mechanisms.  In my case it’s been food.  I eat an egregious about of food.  Also, I don’t sleep more than 4 hours a day.
  8. Being Preoccupied With Work … When You’re Not at Work:  YES!  I’m always thinking about work.  I bring it up when I’m going to sleep, when I’m at the movies, when I’m meeting up with friends, when I’m talking to my parents, when I’m chatting with my friends.  WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK!  I’m worried that I’ll never get anything done.  Shoot, I’m wondering about why I haven’t set up my Mailchimp list and writing this post.  All I know is that I need to write this… or I’ll forget that I am not well.
  9. Generally Decreased Satisfaction: True. I have been generally unhappy about my career and home life.  At least, that’s the perception I have been carrying with me for some time.  I have some how let this go on for way to long.
  10. Health Problems: True.  I think the only health problem I’ve been suffering from is chest pain and weight gain.  I’ve been combating this with running at least twice a week.  Chest pain usually comes on after thinking a lot about work.  Oh, here it starts again…

According to this Forbes article about burning out it suggests that I do the following:

  1. Take relaxation seriously: they suggest meeting up with friends, talking to family, reading a book or going for a walk.  This I think I can do.
  2. Cultivate a rich non-work life: here they recommend I find something challenging to do outside of work that I’m passionate about.  Though I don’t think anyone really has a passion… I am thinking of getting into an adult tennis and basketball league.  I have also thought about giving digital marketing workshops to expat entrepreneurs in peru, a project I started in 2015 that I haven’t been keeping up lately because of my prolonged burnout.
  3. Unplug from technology: I have been doing this by turning off cell phone notifications after 8 pm… but actually unplugging, yeah that’ll be hard.  Maybe if I just listen to music.

Well, this is what a simple Google search taught me about the 10 signs of being burned out.  What I miss about my old self is smiling and laughing without reason.  What activities do you usually do for relaxing, cultivating a rich non-work life, or unplugging?  I’m sure I’m not alone on this.  Looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

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