Last month, I caught a cold and had to work from home for a couple of days. A cold I knew was coming. Everyone in my office had been sick over the past few weeks and it recently hit me that I am suffering from Burnout. Very few things bring me joy anymore, and I spend most of my weekends recovering from the week and dreading the upcoming week.
At first when I realized I was not going to be feeling better by Monday, I decided to come into the office grab my laptop and work from home. I worked from home the following day too. Even though I was sick in bed, I felt incredibly guilty about telling my job that I was unable to come in. I then felt worse because I felt guilty for being sick. I don’t often work from home; for the entire calendar year of 2019 that was the second time that I had worked from home. I also hadn’t taken any time off since July.
The World Health Organization recently recognized “burnout’ as a workplace phenomenon. It is defined as chronic workplace stress that has not been properly managed. Due to the internet and 24/ access to email, many employers expect their employees to be available all the time. Add that to the guilt of being off and adding the burden on your coworkers and many people are overworked and overspent.
As I laid in bed sick with my laptop ready and charging just in case I missed any emails or messages, it dawned on me that this was not ok. I wasn’t able to give my body the rest that it desperately needed. I had a cold because I was rundown and yet could still not fully relax. What have we done to ourselves that we are all so stressed all the time that even when we are sick in bed we are still unable to rest?
Many Americans don’t take their vacation days that they have literally worked for. We feel that we are too busy and the stress of returning to work only to play catch up for a week, makes the idea of a vacation off-putting.
Well I’m here to say enough is enough. I’ve always used every single vacation day that I had (none of my jobs allow you to roll-over days). I know the feeling when I am burnt out and when I am not able to work at my full potential.
Last week was my first full week back in the office after being on vacation for the holidays. When I got back, I could definitely tell that some people had an attitude for me taking off a week and half, but I don’t care. I know that if I was not able to go away for Christmas and New Year’s I’m not 100% sure I would have made it to see 2020. I was completely at my wits end.
One of my resolutions for this year and for this decade is to never let that happen again. My health and my well-being come before anyone and anything else. I have been trying to find ways to relax and recharge such as baths, yoga, and coloring. These are things that I had done previously on and off, but this year I am trying to be more intentional. I urge you my readers to not just create resolutions, but to be more intentional with the resolutions that you set.
Ask yourself for the reasoning behind your resolutions? If you want to lose weight, why? It might not be just for the physical factors, but maybe you want to have more energy. Maybe you want to prepare your future? Whatever the reasons, be intentional with your goals and with the execution of your resolutions. Tell your friends and family. You are more likely to stick with something if you have support and the pressure to stick to your word.
2020 brought with it not just the start of a new year, but also the start of a new decade. There are endless possibilities. Don’t let this next decade in your life be a repeat of the last.