The Truth About Burnout: It’s Not Always About Hating Your Job.
The concept of burnout is often associated with doing work you dislike or being stuck in a profession that fails to ignite your passion. However, the reality is far more complex. Turns out, we can face burnout despite being in a role we love and feel passionate about. This article delves into my personal journey with burnout recovery and explores the misconception that it’s solely linked to disliking one’s job. Instead, it highlights how burnout often stem from an overwhelming commitment to helping others and overextending oneself.
The Love-Hate Myth
Many people believe that burnout is a direct consequence of doing work that doesn’t align with their interests or passions. In my case, this couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was fortunate to be doing precisely what I loved, and I had even achieved something remarkable that filled me with excitement. So, why did I experience burnout?
The Care Factor
The pivotal factor in my burnout was my deep commitment to helping others. Over time, I had extended my support to a select group of individuals, dedicating an extensive amount of time and energy to their needs. As my professional responsibilities grew, so did my private practice and the number of individuals who relied on my support.
In addition to my professional commitments, I also cared for my family and my children. I had set high expectations for myself, striving to excel in all aspects of life. This constant juggling act between my career, family, and personal well-being added to the strain.
Burnout is a multifaceted phenomenon with numerous underlying causes. It’s not as straightforward as saying that doing what you love guarantees immunity from burnout. In reality, many individuals who experience burnout are passionate about their work. The common thread among us is that we care deeply about our roles, about others, and about doing an exceptional job.
We often become so engrossed in our desire to make a positive impact and be there for everyone else that we inadvertently neglect ourselves. This selflessness, while admirable, can be a slippery slope towards burnout. To put it simply, we burn out not because we work too hard, but because we care too much.
The Road to Recovery
Even though I knew all the tools and thought I had a good self-care routine, there was a difference in actually implementing it. My journey out of burnout was a prolonged one, requiring significant effort and introspection. However, it has been a transformative experience that I’m profoundly grateful for. Through this journey, I’ve learned how crucial it is to honour myself and understand that “no” is a complete sentence.
One of the essential lessons I’ve gained is the importance of setting healthy boundaries. I no longer overextend myself, and I make it a priority to establish a clear separation between my personal well-being and the support I provide to others. This separation allows me to be 100% present for my clients and those I support while also being 100% present for myself.
Reconnecting with Lagom: A Path to Recovery
In the process of healing and rediscovering balance, I stumbled upon the Swedish concept of “lagom.” Lagom doesn’t have a direct English translation, but it embodies the idea of “just the right amount” or “everything in moderation.” It’s about finding harmony and balance in all aspects of life.
Relearning this concept allowed me to reevaluate my approach to work, family, and self-care. Instead of constantly striving for more, I began to aim for better. I sought equilibrium in my commitments, ensuring that I neither overextended nor neglected myself. Lagom became my guiding principle, reminding me that it’s okay to pause, reflect, and find the balance that works for me.
Looking back at my recovery journey: This was the race I had to STOP running to win.
Reflecting on my journey through burnout and recovery, I can’t help but emphasise the pivotal moment when I realised that to truly win this battle, I had to stop running. It might seem counterintuitive in a world that often encourages us to keep pushing forward at all costs. But burnout taught me that sometimes, the most significant victories come when we pause and reassess our approach.
In the midst of burnout, it’s easy to become entangled in a relentless pursuit of success, constantly striving for more accomplishments, more recognition, and more impact. It’s a race that can consume us, leaving us physically and emotionally drained. In my case, it wasn’t just about my work; it was about my family, my commitments, and my desire to excel in every facet of life.
But it was precisely this ceaseless sprint that led to burnout. I had to stop running because, in my pursuit of being there for everyone else and making a difference, I had forgotten the most critical person in the equation: myself.
Stopping wasn’t a sign of weakness; it was an act of self-preservation and wisdom. It was the moment when I realized that I needed to reevaluate my priorities, set boundaries, and embrace the concept of lagom—the idea of finding balance and harmony in all aspects of life.
As I stepped back from the race, I began to understand that aiming for better, not more, was the key to a fulfilling and sustainable life. I learned to incorporate self-care, establish healthy boundaries, and prioritise my well-being without compromising my ability to make a positive impact on others.
The misconception that burnout is solely a consequence of disliking one’s job needs to be dispelled. My own experience, along with countless others, demonstrates that burnout can affect even those who are deeply passionate about their work. It’s the extent of our caring, the dedication to doing a good job, and our selflessness that can inadvertently push us towards burnout.
In the realm of burnout, the journey to recovery often involves not just external changes but internal ones as well. By nurturing yourself, setting boundaries, and understanding the value of self-care, you can navigate burnout more effectively and continue to be a positive force in the lives of those you support without compromising your own well-being. Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish; it’s essential for sustaining the meaningful work you do and ensuring your own health and happiness in the process. Prioritise self-care, embrace the concept of lagom, and shift your perspective from aiming for more to aiming for better, finding balance and harmony in your life.
As we wrap up this exploration of burnout and recovery, I’m curious: Where are you on your own journey? Are you currently feeling the wave of burnout, and if so, how could you incorporate the principles of self-care, balance, and lagom into your own life to ensure your well-being while continuing to make a positive impact on others?
I Frid (in peace), Madelaine 🌿
If you want to read more about the concept of Lagom you may wish to read this article next: