The danger of burnout is real for women. After years of the pandemic and lockdowns, home schooling, working from home, and being on devices around the clock, burnout has become a common problem.
Burnout happens when you say yes too much and you think you can juggle everything, at the cost of your wellbeing, your health and even your quality of life. Burnout is often associated with the workplace. But it can happen to anyone of any age including those who are stressed-out and career-driven, celebrities, to employers and home-makers.
In burnout, everything feels overwhelming, it is hard to think clearly and every day is a struggle and full of too many responsibilities – whether they are perceived, or real. You feel exhausted, and usually have negativity or cynicism towards your situation.
A counsellor based in Australia, Bev Aisbett has just released a book to help, called The Book of Burnout: What it is. Why it happens. Who gets it. And How to Stop It Before it Stops You.
Her new 200-page book is a quick, easy read and full of her own signature illustrations. It is also full of humour.
The author has published many books (over 20 books). Titles include Taming the Black Dog, 30 Days 30 Ways, and Worry Proofing Your Anxious Child. She has sold over half a million books. She works as a counsellor too, helping clients come back from the brink of burnout, stress and anxiety.
She draws from insights also from her own recovery from anxiety, depression and burnout.
Speaking from Melbourne via phone, she recalls those dark times. “I had severe anxiety in the ‘90s and went on my own journey. I suffered from ‘I’m not good enough’ (thinking). It was after I became a cartoonist and doubt started to kick in”.
Despite winning awards, she still would have thoughts that she was not good enough in her profession. She saw a counsellor and they helped her to realise these were just her own self sabotaging thoughts. The tools she learned on how to manage these thoughts still help her today to feel calmer and live life with more confidence.
Aisbett saw a counsellor back then who helped her better manage her own anxiety, depression and burnout.
Aisbett shares four ways to beat burnout
- Put your wellbeing first.
You can only get to burnout if you ignore your wellbeing and push yourself to exhaustion. Do healthy things for yourself for work/life balance like exercise and learn how to settle for “good enough” rather than “perfect”.
Ask for help. People may be used to you not asking for help and thinking you are managing. Your fierce independence may have sent a message to others that they are not needed. People like to help.
- Learn to say no.
It is a yes for yourself. You have the right to disagree or refuse something that is not in your best interest. You are also recognising that your time, energy and health are every bit as important as everyone else’s
- Lose the fear of letting go.
Don’t take on too much work. Ask yourself, will reaching the ultimate goal be fulfilling or will you be so wiped out that it will not mean much.
If you are worried you might be suffering from burnout then here are some of the warning signs below from The Book of Burnout.
- Feeling warn, exhausted, miserable and flat.
- Feeling tired all the time.
- Brain fog.
- Frequent illness.
- Weight gain or weight loss.
- Flatline libido.
- Easily irritated.
- Lacking motivation.
- Mood swings.
- Relationship problems.
- Panic/anxiety attacks.
- Blurred vision.
- Digestive problems.
Meanwhile, Aisbett encourages you to seek help from a professional before you feel in crisis.