Recognizing the Many Faces of Burnout
I must say I am humbled yesterday, as I learned how little I still know about burnout at The Hidden Good’s Thankful Thursday. Though I was there to share about burnout and what one can do about it, I ended up learning more than I gave.
I started this journey of struggling to overcome burnout and understood how it is related to jobs and work.
Burnout – Not the Sole Prerogative of the Working World
But, as I talked to more and more people, I realised how burnout is not confined to just our jobs. And it shouldn’t be so because burnout is not a phenomenon that only happens in a salaried context.
And so, besides burnout being experienced at work and in entrepreneurship (especially social entrepreneurship where there is the tussle of balancing profit and social mission), people playing other roles could also burnout.
My dialogues with others made me realise volunteers, caregivers, parents, students, job seekers all could burnout.
And yesterday, some people also brought to my attention how people with special needs could also experience burnout as they try to be accepted by the mainstream society and struggle in relationships with others. I do not dare say I fully understand the full extent of their pain but I can understand the pain of having to manage with our specific circumstances and yet dealing with people not fully understanding us or worse, rejecting us.
Someone also interestingly shared about what I will term the “sojourner burnout”, as they try to find meaning in life but struggle to find it.
Not About Naming Every Burnout
My main aim here is not to start to create more and more categories of burnout. That’s immaterial. Instead, I hope for people to understand that burnout can occur outside of work and the effects can permeate and affect our other areas of life e.g. our health, our work and employability, our family, our relationships etc. The main thing is to recognize burnout so one can start to do something about it.
While I am glad and grateful for where I am now, having overcome burnout at least 4 times and now experience healing, meaning and all, I am sure not taking it for granted. I do hope that more people can experience freedom from the crippling effects of burnout, in both themselves and in their loved ones.
May each one of you thrive as you manage to prevent or overcome burnout in your lives.
James is the Lead Thrive-Synergist & Founder of Emmaus Strategies; a social enterprise that “fuels good”. It does this through Mental Well-Being programmes for individuals and organizations, as well as Strategic Volunteer Partnerships consultancy and training for non-profits.