We’ve become so used to being stressed and burned out that we don’t actually realize how much we’re suffering. It’s what I call our new human condition. In Jan Bruce’s article for Forbes, she calls burnout a “global profit vampire” with an economic impact of $322B globally.
A few years ago, that “vampire” found me on a plane. I’d had a long stretch of 60 hour weeks with endless travel. One minute, I was chatting with a fellow passenger. The next, I was shaking, unable to breathe, tears streaming down my face. I thought, “Oh my God. I’m having a heart attack and I didn’t even wash my hair!” I’d reached a burnout breaking point that turned me inside out. I couldn’t de-plane fast enough. I’d suffered silently, afraid I’d be viewed as weak if I asked for a break. That day, I chose myself. I cancelled my meetings, went to my hotel room and slept for 14 hours.
I started meditating to create space and writing down how I felt, with a pen, on paper. I declined meetings that didn’t need me and scheduled time for life that did. Here’s the thing. When you hit reset, your inner compass will fire before the vampire can take you down. Now, when I feel even a glimmer of burnout, I meet it bravely, say no without guilt and I breathe until my world makes sense again.