What Is Burnout?
Fuck it, I quit. Is the way I felt in December 2020 when I entered my boss’s office telling him that I could no longer handle working full time. Forty-plus hours a week for a private health company whilst building my online coaching business, podcasting once per week, creating content for my audience, training for a powerlifting competition, and engaging in social activities to stay sane. It felt like something was about to give. I could tell because I was no longer engaged at work, and it took its toll on my performance. I knew if I wasn’t to create a change, then my mental health would suffer.
It wasn’t anyone’s fault. 2020 and 2021 were tough years for everyone. The uncertainty around lockdowns made it hard for businesses to project cash flow. Therefore, cutbacks were made, and it created instability for many. However, when staffing is cut low on numbers, then personal workload increases. Suppose the workload increases for people who already feel they lack energy or resources. In that case, you’re destined for performance and culture issues. I told my bosses that I felt as if I could no longer give my best to being a senior inside the business and provide a high-value coaching service outside. They were very understanding, and opening up about it actually made me feel much better. For a while, I had been struggling. However, my ego didn’t want to cave in. I had high expectations of myself and my ability to take on as much as possible, continually pushing for that promotion. Still, after chatting with close friends and doing some more profound reflection, I concluded that it wasn’t about my capacity. I had been getting up at 5 am and working late until 9 pm for 18 months straight. I had 200+ annual leave hours accrued because I had taken hardly any holiday and couldn’t handle the office anymore; this was the first time I was experiencing burnout.
Burnout is a reaction to prolonged or chronic job stress. It is characterized by three main dimensions: exhaustion, cynicism (less identification with the job), and feelings of reduced professional ability. I noticed all three. I was often tired and requiring to close my eyes at the desk for 10 minutes or needing a short nap between patients, even though there was fear of getting caught and fired. My attitude towards the business had changed, and I was struggling to see a positive future. Finally, I did not believe I could do what was necessary to fully support my team members. I stepped down as a leader, asked to work part-time, and focused on patient activities only. Within a month or so, I was feeling much better. My sleep improved, and I started to implement other habits to support my health. My trajectory in business shifted towards helping people with stress and anxiety through breathwork programs, and suddenly, I felt there was some momentum. The additional time I had to work on my own projects was excellent. Before I knew it, I quit my job, moved to Bali, Indonesia, and decided to go all-in as an online coach.
That brings us to today. Sat here thinking about all those people suffering from what I went through without the support they need. According to a recent report by Indeed.com, 52% of employees have experienced burnout in 2021, roughly 10% up from pre covid surveys. That’s over 100 million men and women in the US alone waking up feeling tired, exhausted, and on the verge of breaking down due to inadequate rest or lack of focus being placed on burnout prevention. There’s not much difference in Australia. It’s become too familiar for people to wake up feeling uninspired to be productive at work. With minimal personal rest days, a lack of health and wellbeing promotion, and education on appropriate stress management techniques. It’s no wonder we see these poor workplace statistics. If you’re reading this blog, then maybe you’re looking for help.
Does this sound like you, or could this be a challenge you’re facing with your team at work?
“You get into work in the morning, catch up with your colleagues to then sit at your desk unable to motivate yourself to get into your tasks or to find the energy to continue working towards your KPI targets because you feel overworked and underappreciated. So you go about your day dragging yourself through mundane duties, and by the time it comes 2 – 3 pm, you’re checked out, clock watching and struggling to stay awake sat at your desk.”
The problem with burnout is that once you’re suffering from it, it feels a burden to try and do something about it, i.e., create the habitual changes you need to maintain a healthy and sustainable way of living. I’ve witnessed clients, peers, colleagues, and friends all going through the same issue. That’s why I’m writing this blog. To highlight what is burnout. I have released a FREE e-book on simple habits you can use to prevent burning out in the future. I wanted to write something easy for you to read and implement into your daily life. I want you to start feeling more like a human and less like a robot going through the day on autopilot with no energy or time for yourself. By giving you some easy-to-apply habits, you can create your day so that you not only prevent burnout but you wake up bursting with energy, ready to crush your day. My goal is to go past providing you with the tools for extra power at work. I also want to leave you with something left in the tank at the end of the day. I want you to go home and spend time being present with your family or friends. To smash your health and fitness goals or have the motivation to act on that idea you’ve been putting off until the time is right.
That occasion is now because time and energy are relative constants meaning it does not change as we age. In fact, subjectively, it gets worse as you mature and have further responsibilities such as children, businesses, or health concerns. In my experience, unless the daily practices, habits, or rituals are put in place early. Then, the suffering becomes more of a burden until you eventually break, and your life becomes chaotic. So to go with the Chinese proverb,
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now.”
It’s the same with habits. A good example is Conrad, who was only in his 30’s when he moved away from his nightshift swing into a more senior role in mining management. However, because of his lack of consistency in solid sleep habits and poor health choices whilst working fly in fly out, he struggled to stay awake throughout the day and, by 2 pm, was ready to cut it short and go home. Conrad knew if changes were not made soon, there would be issues with his performance, and he would probably not make it through the probation period of his new role. Conrad reached out to me as he knew things would only worsen with a child on the way. We worked together for a few months to implement some of the habits I will outlay in this book. Because of these strategies and our work together, he said he felt ten years younger and can now remain focused in the workplace. His productivity increased to the extent that he could leave the office at 5 pm, allowing him to switch off completely satisfied with his performance. The rewarding thing about this was that he came home from work ready to spend time with his newborn daughter.
So if when reading this, it resonates with how you’re living, or you’re concerned about your energy levels, please book yourself a consult here. I don’t want you to suffer alone. I want to help. If you’re not taking any action to resolve this, then you’re only going to get worse. If you’re already burnt out, I want to help you feel as if the load in life is getting easier. I promise I’m not going to force you to do anything extra, only things that will make life much more straightforward. That said, if you’re not quite yet at the point where you are burnt out, however, you feel as if you’re stress levels are high. Then perhaps it’s worth you taking a look at my stress relief program.
Sailesh is a Lawyer, and after approaching me to learn how to manage his stress better – here’s what he said following the eight weeks program.
” I approached Martin after seeing some of his material on social media and I was intrigued and somewhat skeptical about how much effect breathing could have on a better lifestyle. Through my own poor health and stress, I knew that poor breathing while sleeping really affected my energy the next day. I signed up for Martin’s course and stuck to a regiment and felt much better from the 3rd week in. Stress levels were much lower, I could sleep better and think with clarity during the day. The most crucial thing for me was that I wasn’t spending money on one-off programs, but rather to learn skills that last a lifetime. Really glad I found Martin and will be back for his next level program.”
As you can appreciate coming out of law school and into 15 hours workdays it’s important for his health and performance to ensure he knows how to regulate his stress. I was proud to work with Sailesh and what we achieve. I only hope that others will benefit too. If you’re keen to find out more about the program, drop me a message on social media, check out my services or look at the program for more details.