“Sounds pretty clear to me”, the doctor said. “It’s just a burn-out.” Just a burn-out. Like it was something you order at a cafe. As if it’s normal to cry buckets every day enough to feed your plants for weeks.
The remedy? Rest, quiet time, and especially no stress.
In this world nowadays, that’s easier said than done. Before breakfast, I need to make at least ten decisions. And don’t even get me started on going to the supermarket. My phone is constantly blinking at me, a silent scream that’s almost impossible to ignore. And the tv is so large there’s no way around it.
Distractions seem to be the norm. Multitasking is a required skill for any day job. And single focus days have become extinct. No wonder a burn-out is no longer special. It’s ‘just’ a burn-out. So many people nowadays have it. Millennials especially. And as much as I hate that word – millennial. It is what I am. Barely, but still.
Years of expectations have primed me for this moment. I’m sitting in a chair, in a grey square office facing a doctor who’s going to determine if I’m really ‘ill’ or not. That alone has caused me so much stress I didn’t sleep last night. Sleep I desperately need because come 9 pm I’m fast asleep on the sofa after a long hard day of trying to relax.
Yes, trying to relax is harder than it seems. As much fun as a Netflix binge may sound to you; it’s not my idea of fun. Mine is reading a good book, going on a long hike, or writing that piece of content I’ve been dying to write. All of which I don’t have the energy for anymore.
I’m lucky if I can read a page without my thoughts wandering all over the place. Hiking means getting out of the house and into the real world. And writing requires a form of concentration that is so rare; I doubt it even exists.
The fact that you’re reading this 3-minute article doesn’t mean this was easy. In between the last three lines, my thoughts have wandered six times. I clicked over to Facebook at least two times, checked my phone twice and answered a text from my sister.
I want to work. I want to be able to read, have the energy to go dancing at night and to write every day. Being an A-type personality means I put that pressure on myself to do these things. Making it impossible to relax, which is what I should be doing.
Doing nothing is hard work.
But it doesn’t matter. It’s just a burn-out.
Everyone with some form of mind knows how to ‘solve’ a burn-out.
Relax for a while, and you’ll be fine. Right.
Follow this step-by-step guide, and you’ll beat it in no-time. Ooooookay.
Why don’t you focus on finding a great new job that will do it. Really? I mean, seriously, really?
The sad truth, however, is this: deciding what to eat for lunch takes all my mental energy — going shopping on a busy afternoon results in a panic attack in the sock aisle — and forgetting to buy crackers for the BF results in a sobfest. When that happens, you know you’re in serious trouble.
A burn-out is not something that can be dealt with overnight. And it’s not something to brush aside and piled together with the flu and an ear infection.
Yes, burn-outs super common nowadays. But it’s never just a burn-out.
It’s cause and effect. And it’s never an easy or quick fix.