Burnout is happening to front-line health care workers, parents home-schooling and working from home, and others who obviously have too much of a load to carry during lock-down.
Burnout is also popping up in other, more subtle ways – you might call it COVID burnout. The first are obvious and definitely COVID-related; these other ones might have been termed depression before COVID. The signs are: lack of motivation due to feeling overwhelmed, feeling stuck in a space that must function for everything – dinners, relaxation, work, sleep, roommates whether you want them or not – with no clear boundaries for any of it. Day in and day out.
My clients don’t feel depressed; they feel burnt out. They are losing interest in what used to move them. They don’t know what to do next and are beginning not to care. It looks like depression, but it’s different. I am noticing that this is impacting more young people – at least from my limited frame of reference.
For instance, periodically something will turn up that charges everyone – like the GameStop mini-war that raged online for about a week. Then the same people who were burnt out have no trouble at all rising to these challenges. But when it’s over, it’s back to feeling nothing.
If you’re feeling this kind of burnout, it’s likely you’ve tried all the to-do’s: eat well, exercise regularly, try to get enough sleep, stay in touch with friends virtually, even meditate. They all help – if you can stick with it. But before they can really help – and probably before you can return to a good night’s sleep – it’s essential to feel a sense of purpose. That sense of purpose leads to a renewed sense of hopefulness, and a sense of hopefulness is the fuel you’ve been missing.
It might be as simple as shoveling your neighbor’s sidewalk, or getting groceries for someone who can’t get them for themselves, or getting together with strangers to meditate online. It doesn’t need to be big to start your spiritual engine once again. What it does need to be is a way to connect with something more than yourself.
A life of purpose
Quote of the Week
““The most fruitful breaks are often those we are or were forced to take by life..”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
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