Burn-out is not something to be proud of but neither to be ashamed of. I was on the brink of burning out, but luckily I stopped it before it went too far. Having a very busy two-year old while driving your own business, like we say it here in Sweden, plus having the mind of a high-achiever has it’s challenges. For the past two years, I have been working from 08:00 in the morning until 02:00/03:00 the next morning while breastfeeding during the night. When my hubby told me, before I greet him in the mornings, I’m on my phone from the moment I open my eyes to the time I go to bed. I laughed because it was funny. When my friends told me they are concerned, I thought it is sweet that they care, but this is the type of career I chose. Which means you have to work very hard before you see any results.
There are a few things which happened this year which made me want to slow down and be more human. When I met up with a friend earlier this year she took a photo of us. While I thought my eyes were wide open, it actually looked like I was about to fall asleep at any moment. Soon after, I decided to work only until 00:00 at night. When one of our friends told us that she was diagnosed with severe cancer, I was really shocked. By this time, I can remember that I was starting to feel detached and was planning to make more time for friends. This is also where I realised at some point I have to go back to normal life like it was before our son came i.e. visit the gym on a regular basis; not skipping meals and eating lunch at lunch time, not at 15:00 just before I have to pick him up at kindergarten. This was the plan, in any case. Then another shock came when the terror attack hit Stockholm on 7th April. I realised that if it wasn’t for my son being sick at home and me having to cancel a meeting, it would have been me in the middle of the mess. This made me realise how precious life really is and we should make the best of the time we have with each other and work.
Then I got the opportunity to work on a short-film movie and I had some other work and networking days coming in as well. Which means my plan of a balanced life was taking a back-seat again. Normally, I can remember things so well, but when I started to forget important things and made double bookings; my to-do list grew larger than my monthly grocery list; got irritable with friends & colleagues and I started to ask myself “why bother?” that is when I started to get scared. My husband told me “that’s enough” and he ordered me to take a few days off to recover. By this time it was clear that I was obsessed with social media and working hard to achieve my unrealistic goals. He took away my phone and I actually handed it over free willingly. The good news is, I do feel a lot better and luckily we stopped it before I could destroy my career and life. That is why I didn’t do a blog entry last week because I was lying at the “beach”, in the sun with one of my favorite magazines.
This is why it is so important to know what the signs of a burn-out is and not to take it lightly. If it goes too far, it can destroy relationships and careers. Yes, even your life. Here are more in depth signs and symptoms to look out for: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201311/the-tell-tale-signs-burnout-do-you-have-them
Here is more information about high achievers: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/youre-hired/201110/how-do-high-achievers-really-think