"I haven't taken a sick day in 5 years," says Joe, every time someone else takes a day off.
"Judy is such a hard worker- she hasn't taken a day off in the 10 years I've worked here."
We all know the Joe's and Judy's of the world. Heck, maybe some of us fall into these very same patterns.
And if we don't, maybe we're right there applauding them for their "work ethic", their "perseverance", their "dedication to the job". Guilty? Me too.
What's more, when we end up taking our necessary sick day, we feel guilty, call ourselves lazy, and often see ourselves as less than the Judy's and Joe's out there.
But these patterns, and the way we applaud them, contribute to a world that promotes toxic levels of 'busy' at the expense of our health/mental wellness.
We don't see what goes on behind the scene's in the lives of Joe or Judy, and we don't talk about the negative impact this has on our own.
Friends, it's time to start talking.
Join us this week to discuss why busy/burnout culture is short-term, unsustainable, and detrimental to our health, wellness, the quality of our lives, and the quality of our work.
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Welcome back to the High Esteem Podcast! I am excited to be back with you guys. It's been a minute and I have a story for why that is. First off, just to introduce the episode, this one's a really important one to me, and is on the subject of burnout and why as a culture and as individuals, we need to stop glorifying burnout and the concept of being busy all the time, because it's extremely detrimental to us. And just to bring it back to myself here to give a little bit of a funny anecdote.
I was really excited to record this episode. On my vacation days, I took some some vacation from my day job. And on, you know, my first day off, I announced that I was going to be recording that day, I was totally excited to do that. That was completely real. And then I sat down to do it and couldn't, I was so tired. I had done a lot that week in terms of just trying to set up for my vacation, which, you know, in the nature of you know, a lot of jobs means doing a little bit of extra work to prep for vacation just to make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row before you leave so that all of your clients are taking care of your work is taken care of. And you're leaving on a good note and can return in a peaceful way after your vacation. And I'm taking a staycation so of course I'm around but in order to have my own good healthy boundaries to prevent my own burnout, I do make a very clear rule for myself that I stick to where, when I am off for the weekend, when I've closed my laptop for the evening, even if I do so a little bit late.
And when I'm on vacation, or when I'm sick, my laptop is closed, I am not quote unquote at work. And that has been really important for me in order to keep going while having multiple goals, while having a day job in a caring role. A caring profession, such as social work, like I do a job in the mental health fields to be specific, and also a job as a coach, while also doing the backend stuff of running a business creating a podcast and all of that, I would not be able to do this if I didn't have those clear boundaries. So I will get into that a little bit later. But I took these days off. And part of my goal during these vacation days since is a staycation this year with COVID was to work on my business.
And I don't know why I thought I didn't need to rest first. I think traditionally, I'm just you know, I'm so excited about my business and an energizes me so much that usually jump right into it. But I, you know, I had the intention, it just wasn't happening. And so, of course, the topic scheduled was burnout. That was genuine, I had that planned already. And I didn't have a plan because I was burned out. Ironically, I felt Okay, I just felt a little bit tired. Like it was time for a vacation. Because I was entitled to those days. And because I wanted to prevent burnout. And yet, when I took those days off,
I found myself immediately in guilt mode. "My podcast is late." Of course, I am the one who sets my own schedule for that. So that's again, pressure I'm putting on myself, I'm not working hard enough on my business is not going to go where I want it to go. My mind was just reeling with why I should be busy doing work on my business to moving ahead on those vacation days. Now what was happening there, as I was struggling to do my podcast episode on burnout, and why we should not glorify burnout was falling into the glorification of burnout, which just shows how pervasive This concept is that when we're busy, we're worthy. And when we're not busy, we're being lazy, right? When we're taking a break, we're somehow being weaker, and we're not as strong and resilient. And it's top is those people who push through all the time.
And this was happening when I was taking a break very intentionally. And yet I was still somehow by the nature of entrepreneurship and having you know, two different jobs and a side hustle. I was falling into that same idea when it came to myself and my business and my own identity as an entrepreneur, even though I had it under control in a different area. I actually sat down to record this episode for you guys. And I started it and I stopped it. And the first version that I that I created was just me talking so fast because I wasn't in control of the the narrative or my words in the same way. And yes, there is perfectionism that we all have to work through when we're doing Something like creating a podcast episode or a blog or a vlog or anything on camera for our audience, or just putting our work out there in
And guys, this wasn't it. And it was hard for me to tell until I had tried three or four times, and it just wasn't happening. Not only was it not happening, it just wasn't feeling right. I wasn't feeling inspired. As I was saying the words, they were just coming out, I wasn't really keeping track of what I was trying to talk about, the intention was lost, and the fun in it was lost. And so that, for me is always a big flag that I am tired or burning out, or that I need to check in with myself and do self care, when I'm really not enjoying something that I normally would enjoy to do. And I just felt like my whole body was exhausted. And, and guys, this isn't only because of work, I want to make that clear. I have a bunch of competing goals. And I am an ambitious person who is multi passionate, as I'm sure a lot of my listeners on here are. And there are a lot of great things of being that kind of person.
But there's also a downside where we sometimes run ourselves into the ground and we're very hard on ourselves. And there's a lot to work on in terms of our own boundaries, because there's not just one area where we have to have them. So for me, I had been preparing for vacation and I had been exercising a lot and very healthy ways getting outside hiking going out or rock climbing because the weather was beautiful. And I had done maybe I don't know what was it four hikes and then rock climb twice that week as well one with a hike first should get to the the Craig the the rock climbing rock. And I my body it was it was screaming for a rest day. And so I did give it that rest. But you know, it also came with a few failed attempts at me trying to do things not necessarily exercise. But sitting up and being productive. Were all around my mind and body said, Sarah, you need this vacation day. So that there is an example of a how pervasive this idea of being busy and pushing through is even for people who intentionally coach people out of that, even for people who work on that actively every single day, and who work as a coach and another hammer to health
it is so pervasive, even though I recognize that it's toxic. So it does take a lot of intentional effort to rewire our brains away from that and to reframe things in a healthier way. Now, why do we do that? Why is it necessary to get out of that mode? Because guys, if you're not enjoying yourself, what is the point A,
your work isn't going to be as good, right your work, whatever you're doing your work your workout, your writing your
your hobby, whatever it might be, if you're pushing yourself so hard, that you're not enjoying it any more that your mind's not there that your body is aching for rest, the quality isn't going to be as good. And that is what I found when I was sitting down to do this podcast, it was just not flowing. And when I don't have that creative flow, I know my energy isn't in it. And my body is just going, Oh, that's not me and my business. That is not what I want it to be. And that is not the content that I want to put out there. And so in that moment, I decided to practice what I preach, listen to the whole concept behind my episode and actually take the damn break. And I am back today I'm energized and I am speaking about this more passionately. And with my own anecdote. That might be a little bit hypocritical. But I honestly and I hope you guys see it this way to me just makes it all the more real how much as a society and as individuals, we need to make this intention clear to avoid that mentality. Listen, we all know that guy, let's call him Joe. That guy who when you're talking about being tired or taking a break, or you were really rundown and came down sick and had to call him the other day, because you weren't functional at work. That guy who says oh, I've never taken a sick day. I haven't taken a sick day and 15 years. Oh, I don't I work through my lunches because, you know, I really care about the work. It's just how I've always been. I'm a hard worker like that. Oh, yeah, you know, I don't really need days off because, you know, I just push through. Or that person when we were in school who never stopped studying and never takes a break to go out and enjoy themselves. And that's always tired, but is you know, somehow still getting good grades. And we're going oh my gosh, I'm so lazy when we compare ourselves to them.
We always have those people and we look at them like they're on this pedestal. Oh my gosh, they must be strong and I'm weak. are positioning themselves that way. The workplace sometimes encourages that the overtime paid overtime, working through your lunch breaks, due to whatever it might be lack of funding meaning lack, meaning lack of staff, whether it's just a toxic workplace culture, or this idea that we need to be as productive as possible to compete with our peers, whatever that might be, it is normalized, to the extent that the ones who are actually taking what we're entitled to, we actually end up feeling bad about ourselves, and like, we're less than, and like, we're not enough, and we could be better because we're not being those people. But I want to remind you, we don't know what that person's life looks like, outside of where you see them. Maybe they're going home and have the shortest fuse with their family. Or they're completely conked out when they get home from work, and they're not present at all. What else are they sacrificing? Is it their physical health? Do they have physical health conditions you don't know about? are they struggling with their mental health in ways that you don't know, maybe they're just repressing it and eventually have to go on disability, which actually happens a lot. And not just for people who repress it, because of burnout in general. And we only see this version where they're glorifying this idea that they're busy and burned out, but is making them a harder worker. And
I want to make clear, to the Joe's of this world, you are not a harder worker than me, you are not more competent than me, you do not care more than me, because you have bad boundaries. You do not deserve more respect than me or my peers who take the rest we need. Because you work through your lunch break, or you get less sleep, you are not better than the rest of us. Because you sacrifice the things you need to be healthy and happy and your best self, even if the culture of the workplace promotes that. And I want to be clear here, because I think it's an important point to make that not everyone does have paid sick days. And not everyone can take a break whenever they need. We are living in a global pandemic, there are healthcare workers and people on the frontlines in mental health, in hospitals, whatever it might be, who are working around the clock with short staff, with people away ill, in order to keep us all safe.
I want to point out that I respect everyone who is doing that. And I'm not talking about you, when I'm telling you that you need to take more control of your burnout. There are other factors that are creating the burnout there. But those of you who can, and I'm sure that people in these roles where they don't have control over or they're not paid for their time off, which is a huge problem. I'm sure they would say the same. If you have a sick day, take your sick day, if you need it. If you are sick, take your sick day, especially right now. Okay? If you have mental health days or personal days, take those keep your self healthy, and protect your energy. All right. Anywhere you can even for those where it's you're in difficult situations, we need to look at ways where we can protect our energy, whether that's letting ourselves rest in the evening and not bogging yourself down with those extra projects, learning how to check in with yourself and say, Hey, what do I need right now? Is it really to do this podcast? Does it need to happen now or is it to rest because the podcast isn't working? These This is one of my warning signs. And I need to respect myself enough to take care of myself so that I can take care of my work and my clients.
Self Care is self respect guys, care is respect. If we care for someone, we respect someone, we should respect someone and we should act in ways that show that respect to someone, okay? If we care about ourselves, therefore, we should respect ourselves and what does respect ourselves mean? It means listening to ourselves and making sure that we're getting what we need to feel good.And to live our lives and careers in a way that is sustainable. And that can get us where we want to be and help other people, whatever it is that our intention is in the work we do in our lives and relationships, so that we can continue that long term. Think of your work and your goals as someone you're in a relationship with, for instance, has anyone ever had the partner where they'll buy you flowers and they'll do the baby gestures, but in the other everyday moments, they're not fully there. And you always feel like they're not quite living up to their potential but sometimes they go really big and work really hard, but then is done and is over. We all know that person. We've all dated that person or been friends with that person or had that person as a family member. Whatever that might look like. For you.
But that's exactly what it looks like with goals and with our businesses, when we don't have a sustainable system in place to protect our energy and set boundaries. And when we are allowing ourselves to burnout or we're being forced to burn out, we get the short term gain. In the short term, we look good, we are doing well, in our job, we're producing something of, I guess we're producing a lot, maybe not other quality that we could. Or if that is a relationship, we're getting along with our partner in that moment. But in the long term that doesn't sustain anything, in the long term, we watch it fall apart, because we don't have something set up that we can, like we can continue at quite that capacity. We can't bring that person flowers every day, we're not asking them what they need in the in the short term, we're not finding something that we can continue to do every day that will work towards a goal of having this this life that we want with a person that is peaceful, and that is happy. And we're all of our values are met. And likewise, in work and in our other goals, whether that's fitness goals, whatever, whatever that might be to you. If you're going so hard that you're producing a lot, maybe not at the same quality would To be honest, if you're taking if your energy is protected, and you're all there in those moments, because you're rested, you might produce a lot, you might get somewhere in the immediate sense. But then we burn out and need to take breaks, or we don't have as good ideas because their creativity isn't there anymore.
I know for me, when I don't have creativity, when I don't have ideas for my business. I know I need mental space. I didn't have ideas. When I sat down to do this podcast laughs I forgot what I wanted to talk about. It was written on the paper. But I still wasn't feeling it. Because my brain wasn't there. My creativity wasn't there, my energy wasn't there. And so I recognized that that was burnout. And that was time to take a break. So I want to invite you all to think about that a little bit. A, what do you need to do to protect your energy today? Is it closing your laptop at the end of the day? is it taking five minutes away from the computer? If you can't take that full 15 minute break? Right, let's look realistic here to deep breathe, every time you're feeling stressed out? is it telling your boss when you've reached your capacity, and when you need a little bit of support or strategy to get through the day when your workload is high? is it taking your lunch out of the building or away from your colleagues or away from your computer so that you can't be distracted and pulled back into your work? Because you know that if you're there you will push through? is it telling your partner that you need time to yourself at the end of the day for a half an hour before you engage? Because that's a time you used to have in the commute and you don't anymore because you simply need the time to calm down from the work day. And to reset your mind. And to I guess just kind of center yourself a little bit before you're able to go into social mode. How are you protecting your boundaries? How can you protect your boundaries? And how can you protect your energy? Secondly, what are your warning signs that you haven't been doing that you're warning signs that you're burning out? Or that you're tired and need to do something to prevent a longer term burnout?
what does that look like for you? If it's not happening right now, think of a time that has happened in the past? What thoughts are going through your mind on those days? What were you thinking when you sat down to do the tasks you had to do? How were you feeling in your body? How were you feeling emotionally what was coming up for you? And think about what that looked like write down as many details as you can. And then reflect on whether that's happening now. Or try and be present in your life as you're going through your day and check in with yourself and say, Wait, this thing is happening. My chest is really tight. That usually happens when I'm extremely stressed and I need to take a break and sometimes when I don't listen, things will just get worse.
And then lastly, think of some ways that you to perpetuate this culture that ends up resulting in your own struggle. We all have done it at times where we're like oh Judy, Judy goes in on on all the time on her days off Judy never takes a sick day. Judy is such a hard worker. Meanwhile, Judy is struggling. Her anxiety is high. She's struggling with maybe depression. Judy is yelling at her kids when she gets home and Judy can't get a second. for herself herself, Judy might feel like she can't keep going another day and might be on the verge of a breakdown while everyone else congratulate how hard working Julia's. Therefore making the rest of us think that we have to live up to that standard to, it becomes a toxic cycle guys. So let's break it let's stop participating in the cycle of perpetuating and glorifying burnout culture because it is so bad for all of us. And it's so bad for our world as a whole. And again, I want to thank everyone who is in hibernal rules right now where you find it hard to have those boundaries. And I want to commend you for doing the work you're doing. It is a hard struggle to find those boundaries. And sometimes our workplaces don't create a lot of room for it. And that's why we're ever we can that self care is so important in order to keep us going. And those little things we can do to protect our time, whether it's turning off our phones or making sure that when we get home, we can protect our energy in whatever ways we can become all the more important. So I really want you guys to think about this one and I want you to reflect on it and then start to check in with yourselves throughout your day throughout your week. Throughout your months.
Look for burnout in your life and start to pay attention to your energy and where you need to stop and take that break to prevent it. Alright, thanks for listening to this episode. I'm so glad to be back here. I'm glad to be feeling more rested. I have two more days off from my day job and I have rested up so now it's time for the businessing but I'm listening to myself again and I am excited to get you guys some real energetic content now that I am back and I am feeling good. If you liked this episode, don't forget to hit subscribe and please leave me a podcast review on Apple Podcasts, Castbox or any of your podcast platforms that do offer the review option because it really helps me and my pockets out and helps me help more people.
And if you want more support for your own burnout or to hold yourself in high esteem by creating more confidence and self trust in your life. ditching that doubt moving forward towards your potential and living a life of purpose. please head over to www dot high esteem coaching.com and click book a call to book a free 30 minute call with me to discuss what my coaching can do for you. I am taking you one on one clients, and I'd be thrilled to see if we're a great fit. So head on over there. Book a call or send me an email at [email protected] Thanks guys for tuning in. And I'll see you guys next time.