Updated: Feb 25
We have all been through a huge amount over the course of the last two years.
And an interesting phenomenon, which has been noted by the media, as we go into a new phase of living with the pandemic, is that droves of people are quitting their jobs.
And some of them are doing this even without the benefit of a comfortable fall-back plan or nest egg, because they just don't want to, or feel they simply can't go on, in their present circumstances.
While in many countries, lockdown led to more time for physical self-care and rest, because we were forced to stop our normal frantic lies, this was replaced by emotional and mental overwhelm in other ways.
While we were not as physically busy, many people found that they were mentally and emotionally overwhelmed, having to deal with the breakdown in boundaries between home and work and having also to look at the reality of their relationships when in close proximity to their loved ones.
So while on the one hand, it may seem surprising that we are collectively experiencing burnout when we have been incapacitated from working at full capacity, when you actually look at the total levels of stress, anxiety, uncertainty and brewing conflict in society and in our smaller tribes and communities, it is no surprise that people are reaching breaking point.
I am sure there are many factors that have contributed to the feeling that we cannot go on in our jobs and lives as they are currently set up - and we need to find a different way, a way that works for us both economically and mentally.
And it's probably the case that this has been accumulating long before the tipping point of an international crisis in physical and mental health.
But now that we have actually reached that breaking point, we have no choice but to confront the brokenness of our way of life. We are forced to look at how to make life more sustainable in every way.
I truly believe that, as well as going through life and spiritual lessons as individual souls on this earth, we also go through lessons in the collective consciousness and as humankind, and this is what we are going through now, evidenced in part by this mass-quitting phenomenon.
We, as a society, are saying through our actions, that we need to ascend to a new model for life and work. As we go through this change and upheaval, we need to target the sources of burnout and overwhelm and deal with the mindset, on which our whole society and economy is built, which is overly focussed on too much 'doing' and not enough 'being'.
There are many facets of burnout.
One of them is feeling mentally burned out. This manifests in not being able to access as much creativity, dynamism and analytical processing energy. Thinking takes energy. And thinking in ways that equates to a competitive edge, which is what is demanded of us nowadays, requires even more energy and focus.
Being forced to perform in jobs where you are expected to maintain that level of creativity, focus and energy over years and years, is unsustainable, without having an adequate and strong support structure, that takes into account your emotional, mental and physical wellbeing, and which also feeds you, so that you are not being constantly depleted.
In terms of your emotional life, burnout can look like feeling as though no one cares about you, feeling disconnected, but also feeling as though you don't have the reserves to be able to form new relationships or invest in your existing relationships.
Relationships are worthwhile, and healthy relationships are life-enhancing, but they take time and energy to build from both sides and when we are burned out we just cannot be the person the other party deserves.
For a relationship to thrive, both parties need to engage in individual self-care so that they are fully charged up to give their best and not drain the other person. And this pandemic has shown us that very clearly. We can't give our all, day in and day out, unless we are also getting emotionally fed from an outside source, as well as from our partner or closest loved ones.
Putting all our emotional needs on one or two other people, when these people are also burned out, is a recipe for disaster.
There are many ways of dealing with burn-out, and it is not as simple as getting more rest.
There are so many more reasons for fatigue than just the physical and often the heart of our feelings of burn-out is emotional and mental fatigue, rather than physical tiredness.
It is often caused by a lack of true meaning and purpose and a fundamental imbalance at the core of our life and relationships.
In order to find our sense of joy, vitality and purpose again we need to get to the heart of the larger issues and tackle the big questions, such as: What is our purpose? What do we want out of life? What are our values? In which ways do we lack boundaries in our relationships? What circumstances are not in alignment with our spiritual development and stage of maturity right now?
These are questions that require you to go within and think rather than do. They require you to be present with yourself and engage in self-reflection and may also need to include guided reflection as provided by mentoring, life coaching or personal growth coaching services.
Answering these life-altering questions can sometimes involve having to work with someone to be your additional strength and support, guide, ears and inspiration when you are lacking the resources to do this for yourself.
Performance coaching, personal development, self-reflection, personal growth education and mentoring all provide us with the added ‘extra’ that we so desperately need in these challenging times
The problem that burnout highlights is that fundamentally your life at the moment is built (at least to some extent) on faulty foundations and the problem is structural, not superficial.
But this comes with the opportunity to rebuild again, much stronger, so that you are able to withstand challenges at a greater capacity of resilience, while also knowing which challenges you can sidestep and don't need to continue to face and battle against.
Let me know if you have or are currently experiencing burnout? Comment below - I would love to hear about your experience.
And if you need support in these challenging times, click below for my coaching service.