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By Lisa Bay

T.L.B - Temporary Life Burnout, it’s a thing.

in our current global context, I think the term ‘burnout’ can, and should, be applied to something that we might experience in our day to day lives.

T.L.B - Temporary Life Burnout, it’s a thing.
We often associate the term ‘burnout’ with our job. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) states:

“Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and
  • reduced professional efficacy.

Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

(FYI - My colleague Jen wrote an exceptional in-depth 3-part series about burn out that helps further understand what it is and what to do!)

However, in our current global context, I think the term ‘burnout’ can, and should, be applied to something that we might experience in our day to day lives. 

In the above definition, if we replace ‘job’ with ‘life’ and ‘professional’ with ‘personal’... it starts to sound exactly how I’m feeling. 

It has been over six months since the WHO declared a global pandemic. (During which - in Vancouver - we have also experienced some of the worst global air quality, threats of incoming murder hornets, and a cute little moth infestation).  Since then, the world has had to make one giant pivot.  Actually, MANY giant pivots.

“Since [WHO declared a global pandemic], the world has had to make one giant pivot. Actually, MANY giant pivots."
Image of Dr. Geller by @devin_flanagan
The roles that we play in life have proliferated to include more than we could have ever imagined: parents are teachers, medical professionals are warriors, and we are all acting as moral stewards trying to do right by our beloved Dr. Henry. The lines between work, family, and home are exceptionally blurred.

We are analyzing (and agonizing over) every social interaction that happens between friends, family, and mere strangers. 

Additionally, we know this disproportionately affects the BIPOC and LGBTQIAP2S+ communities who endure ongoing war against their existence. Who continually have to witness the assassinations of their families and their lands at the hands of white supremacy. As the world tries to rise up to meet the need for change, we can feel our foundations splintering into deltas of exhaustion that threaten to upend progress. 

So no offence to the World Health Organization… but we are burnt out.

What can we do? Within this concept of ‘Temporary Life Burnout’, there are ways to support yourself and connect with your own self agency.

Curate your media intake
Take a hiatus from social media (watch “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix!). Read or watch the news at specific times for a pre-authorized duration. Choose reputable news sources and filter out the other shit.
Also, choose which news outlets you can handle - for example, this site is solution-focused versus problem-oriented.

Do less
One of the best pieces of advice I read this year was: stay in your lane. We cannot do all of the things. Despite the societal (read: white supremacist) push to be the best at everything we do despite the consequences, we need to pare down our responsibilities and expectations. It might be helpful to explore your values and identify 3-5 things you want to focus on for the rest of the year. What would that look like? Check out Brene Brown’s list of values.

Rest like it is your job
Go to bed earlier. Prioritize sleep and relaxation. When you find your moments to slow down...Slow. Right. Down. Say no to requests. Be intentional with your time and energy. I highly recommend checking out The Nap Ministry to explore the notion of ‘rest as resistance’.

Find JOY
Dance parties. Laughing uncontrollably. Screaming the lyrics to Kelly Clarkson songs. Do the things that make you temporarily forget about the rest. You are allowed to experience joy alongside challenges.

Take a look at the ideas in Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown. (The ebook is on sale!)

Above everything else, give yourself a damn break. It’s a global pandemic after all.