Are You Sacrificing Your Well-Being for Work? How to Stop Burnout in Its Tracks

April 11, 2023

by Bob Ostrom


The wake-up call

See if this sounds familiar. Your days always seem too short for the amount of work you set out to complete. To keep from falling behind, you constantly feel like you’re spending extra time trying to catch up. The time, however, winds up being less than productive, so now you’re right back where you started. Your creative energy is sapped, and your tank is empty. All the training you’ve ever had tells you to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going. “You need to suck it up and keep going,” your inner voice commands. “Power on by whatever means necessary."

This is precisely what I did for years until, one day, I couldn’t anymore. My mind and body simply said, no. Unfortunately, I had absolutely no capacity for self-care in those days, and like a lot of other people, it seemed I was slowly and unproductively working myself to death. My body told me I needed to find another way, but unfortunately, my mind still refused to listen. 

I’ll sleep when I’m dead

Like millions of others, I was taught that being busy was a GOOD thing. What I wasn’t taught was what to do when physical, emotional, or mental burnout comes knocking. I’m a people pleaser, and what do people pleasers do? They work hard, often way harder than they should. True people-pleasers aren’t happy until everyone around them is happy first. So, while the right kind of busy is fine, too much is not because the one thing people pleasers rarely do is please themselves.

How to take back control

We talk about resilience as toughness, the ability to bounce back or stick with it, but the truth of the matter is that any fool can work themselves to death. Hell, half the world will pat you on the back and congratulate you for staying busy while you do but do you want to know where real resilience comes from? It comes from having the courage to say:

  • When my mind and body have had enough, I will set up firm boundaries.

  • I will stick to them and give myself the time I need to recover. 

  • I will not cave to the pressure of compromising my relationships and well-being for a few extra hours behind the desk, no matter how tempting it may feel at the time.

Resilience is about having a strong constitution and not backing down on the things you need to live a well-balanced life, but resilience is just a word. Where you place its value is what matters most.