hello old bean!
this is the second part of the post on being burnt out.
see that picture up there. that’s old hat.
that’s a saying i’ve heard all my life. “oh. that’s old hat.”
it pretty much means “been there. it’s been done. over and over and over.”
only it isn’t really a laughing matter. is it? not when you’re burnt out.
that’s why i used the little lol instead of the big belly type LOL.
i pretended to be an expert on this in the last post.
i think most experts are pretending.
well. probably not doctor oz. after all he is a real cardiac surgeon in
real life. you would hope he’s an expert in what he does!
and i’m sure he is. and he seems to be exceptionally wise.
no. i’m not talking about that kind of real expert.
i’m talking about all the ‘talking heads’ on all the constant interview
type shows. on and on and on. and they’re all experts. really??? NOT!
so . . . that being said . . .
here are just a few of the simplest things that helped me get through
my 3 burn outs. and when i say simple. i mean simple.
but don’t laugh at them or dismiss them too lightly without trying them.
some might just work for you too.
they helped me stay. and now i’m so glad i did.
i retired at 60. i have a small pension income to go with my widow’s
benefits. if i had quit i’d still be working at some other little job
somewhere. i could do it. but it’s so nice not to have to.
sometimes when you have so much time invested it’s simply better to
stay put. NOT ALWAYS. but sometimes it is. YOU have to be the one
to decide that. nobody can do it for you. or should do it for you.
it also depends on your age and how you feel about beginning all over
again somewhere else. that was what i was facing during my burn out
episodes. i didn’t feel that starting over from scratch was an option.
granted. i don’t live on very much. nothing earth shaking. but then my
needs are small. and that’s perhaps the biggest secret of all.
the very biggest is to get out of debt and stay out of debt. MAJOR!
keep your needs small and it won’t take a boat load of money to keep
going. you can be surprisingly happy on very little. really.
and the pressure is automatically lifted then. it’s wonderful.
that’s a very big part of the secret right there.
some people are so burnt out that the only answer for them is to just
pack it in and QUIT. that’s really what you want to do. afterall. isn’t it?
but if you’re like i was above ~ and that is not an option ~
here’s a short simple list of what just might help.
i know. i know.
some of it is going to sound downright trite. way too simple.
all this buildup for THAT???? well great. that’s nothing.
but be a sport. give it a try. you’ll be surprised. yes! you just might.
now it won’t help overnight. but just keep doing each and every little
thing on this list and i promise. the cycle of burnout will eventually end
or get better. or be at least tolerable enough until the next one.
think of it like the flu. it can’t last forever.
and if it does kill you. then you won’t know it will you? either way ~
a form of depression.
i think burn out is a mild form of depression. mine was.
there is no joy anymore. not in the job anyway. so . . .
this first step is easier if you’re what they call . . .
predominantly ‘right brained.’
if you’re already right brained it might be easier for you to re-kindle
joy in your life. you might have to work harder on it if you’re analytical
or a bit cynical. or more critical in your way of thinking.
and before i begin…
i realize that i worked in an office. so some of the ideas may not apply if you work ~ say in retail ~ or a factory ~ or a skilled labor job.
but by and large you should find at least a few ideas out of the 11 listed here! i hope you do. and i hope they’re of some help.
so . . . here goes . . .
1. get out. i mean it! for lunch. every single day if you can.
at least totally get away from your desk or your work area.
get out of the building at lunch. really. leave. walk. sit. but get out. try to see something beautiful. listen to your favorite music. think of nothing. i mean NOTHING for one hour. or however long your lunch is.
2. the treat. the personal little looked-forward-to treat.
once a week treat yourself to a ‘special’ lunch. your FAVORITE. even if you have to bring it from home and eat it under a tree somewhere or on a bench. i used to go up to an empty office in the very top of our building and look down on the world from the windows. very relaxing. you might have to work at this ~ finding a special lunch and/or place. but trust me. it’s totally worth it. you’ll suddenly look forward to that day of the week. make it a solid date with only YOU. eat something you absolutely LOVE to eat. we’re engaging the right brain senses here. pleasure. this is not the day to diet. i don’t believe in “diets” anyway. i believe in just living healthfully as much as possible. marilyn monroe wore a size 12 to 14. she most certainly was not a stick. and well ~ whether you liked her or not ~ she remains a legend to this day. men like curves. it’s the women who think they don’t. they like curves and they like women who like LIFE and LOVE and THEM. in that order. whoa!!! that’s a whole other post! LOL. and a whole other field of expertise. LOLOL.
and speaking of eating . . . the rest of the time . . .
3. i’ll have a salad thanks. or . . . no really… i love rutabaga! LOL.
you know you don’t eat right. no. you don’t. well. if you do you’re a very unusual person in your own right! and i admire you greatly. i still don’t eat right! not the majority of the time anyway. i crave salt. a real no no for me with bad hypertension. so i offer you advice i still have trouble following! lol. typical expert.
but isn’t it all so beautiful!
and . . .
drink lots and LOTS of water. REALLY!
naw. not soda. soda doesn’t count.
actually is terrible for you. blood sugar drops, etc. give it up.
i had to learn this. i never drank enough water.
it’s AMAZING the difference it makes!!!
i call it the water cure for what ails you.
you already do all this?
well. i believe you.
but JUST IN CASE you don’t . . . DO IT !
4. the little letters that count
take a multiple vitamin. you need all the energy and health you can get because stress depletes most vitamins. and you’re stressed. and that makes burnout last even longer. your immune system is weaker.
HOLY COW! talk about vitamins! LOL. yes. i take the gummy vitamins. they’re not this brand but they’re so EASY and delicious that i’m worse than a kid. can’t wait to take them! and i do feel better. i do. and when i was burnt out i’m sure i did too. they can’t help but help. give them a chance!
5. ZZZZZ . . . zzzzz . . . honey. wake up. turn onto your side.
get as much rest as you can. real rest. however you’re able to do it. for right now you need MORE rest than normal. you’re exhausted. i hope you have an understanding spouse. let them read this post. and heaven help you if you’re BOTH burnt out at the same time. it’s like being sick together. you need extra care for each other. and just love. and infinite patience. with yourself. and whomever you love. it’s hard. when you just want to scream. but try. hugs are theraputic.
6. get out of the way dobie! comin’ through!!!
change the way you drive to work. take a new route. i did this. one of them was a tiny bit out of my way. but it was worth it. i actually found myself enjoying the commute once again. also . . . i listened to tapes of books that i borrowed from the library. that was pretty cool.
i allowed myself not to think about work until i was at work. THAT IS WHAT IS IMPORTANT.
7. the mean grey box
if your grey cubicle is crammed with pictures and papers taped on the wall and stuff all over your desk and is a general mess . . . you will be amazed how you’ll feel if you take one or two lunch hours to CLEAN UP THE MESS. i mean it. pack like you’re being shipped off to siberia. put it ALL into a box and take it home. leave it packed. you can deal with it later. the main thing is . . . have a fresh clean work space.
now. put ONE picture back on your desk. perhaps a favorite ‘pinup’ if you’re a man ~ not nude of course! be sensible. but it should be someone you TOTALLY enjoy looking at everytime you need to rest your eyes from the computer screen. and if you’re a woman ~ and if you are of a certain age ~ i found an early picture of tom selleck fit the bill nicely. VERY nicely. LOL. gave my age away there for sure!!! tom and i are the exact same age. and you must admit. he was one very beautiful man. still is actually! but you get the idea.
it must be a picture of something that lights up your day just looking at it. and oddly enough here … i don’t recommend children or grandchildren. during the ‘burntout’ period you are longing to be home or anywhere but where you are. so their pictures only add to the problem right now.
what you need now at this burntout time ~ is a total fantasy. so pick a picture of whatever that is!
wow. he’s even better today! but then i digress.
if it’s not a hunk like my mr selleck was for me ~ maybe your favorite car? or picturesque hotel?
or shoes even? (that’s for the women. though i never had a shoe fetish myself. it’s very real for some!) the point of it all . . . it’s OUT OF THE ORDINARY. and it’s just the ONE picture.
or… even have ONE picture of the mountains or the sea. wherever feeds your soul.
a picture that upon looking at it makes you feel there is joy somewhere in the world still . . . and you will feel it again. you really will. but for now ~ leave all the bits of crap ~ the excess STUFF ~ OFF your desk or work area. CAN’T STRESS THE IMPORTANTANCE OF THIS ENOUGH. IT WORKS.
we’re tricking the right brain into thinking “NEW” instead of “worn out. been there. done that.”
new is refreshing to the right brain. it’s a creative clean slate. it’s amazing what a difference this one little thing will make. i did do this. it works. maybe not overnight. but you will feel better.
and if you want a green plant or flower or something alive on the desk. fine. just don’t fill it and all the walls with non-essentials. when your burnout period is over you can go back to all that stuff if you must. but until then. it will help to make a clean sweep. trust me on this.
8. a. clean. clear. work space. no stacks and stacks of ‘that’s next’ papers.
HAVE ONLY THAT WHICH YOU’RE WORKING ON CURRENTLY on your desk. you will be AMAZED at how relaxing and restful that one little thing alone is. and it CAN be done. you just have to want to do it. and if you think you’ll forget about something else that needs doing . . . simply keep a yellow tablet handy and write down the things of next importance. the idea is to QUIT multi-tasking and half doing and rushing on everything. it’s a more relaxing and far less stressful way to work. and it can be done and still meet your deadlines. i’m living proof. i worked with constant deadlines and met them all this way.
9. i am mister SPOCK.
you are no longer you. you will now react totally as one of the most calm and wonderfully logical characters of all time. you know who he is unless you were under a rock most of the last decades . . . his name is
that is who you need to become for the time being during this burntout phase. you can be totally cordial to everyone. spock wasn’t rude. not really. he just kept his own counsel. until of course asked by captain kirk about a specific problem. he then quietly thought about it and gave a totally rational opinion. what was so admirable about mr spock . . .
his ability to not ‘knee jerk’ a reaction. it mattered not if the galaxy was about to implode or if the enterprise was about to be eaten by furry little aliens . . . you could always count on mr spock to be . . . detached.
and wise. and detached.
oh i said that. well. that’s because it’s important. for the time being anyway . . . try to become DETACHED from the drama the angst the pathos the ‘bitchiness’ of the workplace . . . and/or the general public if you deal with them. just smile and keep calm like mr spock and carry on.
and don’t talk ‘negativity.’ negative talk breeds and feeds on itself and will only make you feel worse. truly. hard as it is. just smile slightly.
be mr spock. and keep it to yourself. keep your own counsel.
this last bit of advice helped me more than anything. because my natural temperment is to become emotionally involved. i am retired now but as i write this i realize i need to take some of my own advice again!!! LOL. i like mr spock. he’s a fine guy.
and he has such neat ears.
10. the clean car trick.
if you can afford it . . . weekly . . . or at least once every 2 weeks . . . have your car cleaned at one of the automatic car washes. just the cheapest choice of the offers will do the trick. it needs to be one that cleans it INSIDE and OUT though. you’ll be absolutely amazed at how this will make you feel. it’s like driving a brand new car. LOL. no! it really is! CLEAR out all the trash the papers or whatever the kids ate last in the back seat . . ugh. seriously. driving a clean shiny car to work each day does something for your morale. it just does. i like putting in quarters and washing my own too. very relaxing! and they recycle the water. that’s nice. and here’s a neat little secret. want that new car smell again too?
go to one of the home improvement stores. buy a large square of a carpet sample. (NOT floor mats.) but they’re about the same size only usually square.
the little sample ~ one for the driver’s side and for the passenger’s side. it’s bound around the edges and it comes in all the beautiful colors that the big carpets come in. so it’s fun to pick out. and it will make your car smell like new! for quite awhile anyway! and it makes your ride feel very luxurious. very.
11. the last one and perhaps the most important of all . . .
simply remember . . . this too shall pass. this terrible burnt out feeling it really will. but until it does . . .
be extra extra kind to yourself and patient with yourself. you deserve it.
and come to think of it . . . your family deserves you to be that way with them too. it’s not their fault you’re burnt out on this job. the kids are noisy. the house is messy. the wife or husband have their own problems. we’re all in this together.
but truth to tell ~ it’s the fact that we’re together that is so wonderful.
especially since in the blink of an eye it could all change. you could lose all those people who get on your last nerve. then you’d be amazed how little that being ‘burnt out’ would matter. suddenly nothing would matter except that you’d lost the dearest people in the world to you.
i hope you weren’t expecting some earth shaking answers. i know my ideas aren’t really any more expert than anyone else’s. i’m just telling you what worked for me. you will come up with your own ideas too if you give it some thought. only you can change how you feel. but if you let others dictate how you feel then you have given them the power.
you have the right to work the way that is best for you. and one of the best ways is to leave the worry and the work at the office. or the store. or the factory. when you’re home… be. home.
one day you might be glad like me . . . that you managed to ‘stick it out’ and hang in there and collect a well deserved retirement benefit. or . . . maybe you are able to make a clean break and start somewhere fresh and save for your own retirement. whatever you do . . .
burn out is real. it comes. it goes. i think it must be part of this life.
i think the secret is to not go under with it. to view it as a temporary affliction. yes. maybe the above are all just bandages ~ but bandages do stop the bleeding sometimes.
til then old bean. good luck!
try to keep a smile. if only on the inside.
and i’d say . . .
if this little guy doesn’t do it for ya ~
that’s pure love.
he’s glad just to be here!
come to think about it . . .
a picture of him
might have even been better than tom selleck!