Burnout is an evil thing.
I remember waking up one day, feeling something beyond exhaustion. You see, being tired after work is one thing. But burnout is something you can’t just bounce back from. For me, I never know I’m having a touch of burnout until it’s too late– I’ve relaxed for a few minutes, I’ve gone to sleep, and I’ve woken up feeling even more tired than when I went to bed.
Needless to say, we all get burnout. And when I find myself having these moments, the issue is me convincing myself that taking care of myself is a crime. But it’s not.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde
When you find yourself needing a moment, whether you’re home resting in bed or hanging out with friends, self-care is important! It is not an indulgent factor, it’s literally a sense of self-preservation, as Ms. Lorde so eloquently put it. You see, I used to be a workaholic. Okay, I STILL am a workaholic. But I used to be a detrimental workaholic, one who would get up extremely early, go to work, grind all day, then get off work, go to work events, and then come home, try to eat, and work some more. That would be my life all day everyday, including weekends. I remember a position I used to have at a publication and having to work weekends. Weekdays. And still work another job. Trust me, it wasn’t fun.
While I do believe in the “grind” and “paying your dues”, I’ve recently realized that those dues are different per person. Though I have the mental will to work 20 hours a day and do whatever I have to do to get to the top, my sick body doesn’t agree! My body can’t keep up with the ambition of my mind, and no, it’s not a simple thing of just pushing through. Does that mean I don’t want it as bad? Not at all. What it means is I’m paying my dues as I can, just as the person next to me, and the person next to them.
So what is all of this to say? Well, when I learned to stop beating myself up for not going harder and doing more, I realized that what I’m doing is okay. It’s enough. It’s suffusive to the end product I am seeking. Why is that? Well, because no matter what I do, I do it with heart, with passion, with sacrifice, and with love. At the end of the day, nobody and nothing can stop that which God has already promised me. I’ve already seen it. I’ve already touched it. So no matter what I do, if I take a weekend off to relax, it’s not going to ruin my future! And same to you.
Yes, we want to show people we’re “made to do this”. And yes, there’s these adages that only the strong survive. But you are not weak, or irresponsible, or any less worthy of the crown when you see that you need to breathe. In fact, I believe you are only made stronger when you give yourself a moment to take in the day, smell the roses, and have a good ass laugh. For years, I trained myself to dismiss the signs of burnout. It wasn’t until one day junior year in college, I woke up with head to toe hives and went to the ER every couple of days for MONTHS that I finally realized…it all catches up to you.
Your twenties are meant to be lived. You don’t have to choose your career or life. Find a way to make them blend and love each other. Find a way to stop working sometimes, get off social media and live. Every single moment doesn’t have to be captured. You deserve quiet moments, times of serenity, and gaps of space to just re-fuel yourself. Burnout is a horrible thing, so don’t let it get you caught up. Take the time to just live life.
So yes, I spent a whole three day weekend laid up in bed with takeout and Netflix. I didn’t answer emails, I didn’t write posts, I didn’t do anything but be a big ole lazy somebody. And I loved every single minute of it.