Burnout Finale

Welcome to the season two finale! Today, Taylor answers a listener’s question regarding how to manage burnout related to things outside of work, like relationships, home life, wellness, personal growth, side hustles, family, etc.

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Episode Transcript

You're listening to Inner Warmup, where your inner work begins. I'm Taylor Elyse Morrison, creator and author of Inner Workout. And you, as always are our expert guest. Thank you for being here today. And thank you so much for your support of this season of the podcast. This has been the most listened to episodes of all time, and we crossed the 100 episode mark this season. So thank you for being here. And also thank you for your support of the Inner Workout book.

This is the final episode of season two, where we've been exploring burnout. And I'm here like, oh, my gosh, this was so fun. And the main reason I'm saying that is because not that long ago, I was feeling so over the podcast, honestly. It was feeling like this obligation. And now it is genuinely one of my favorite parts of my work. And it's just this reminder to me, and hopefully a reminder to you as well, that transformation is possible. Healing is possible. It just takes time and it takes intention. My original plan was to have this last episode be a q&a episode about burnout. I posted it in the Self Care Sunday newsletter a couple times, I posted it in stories. And we got one question. There is this old version of me who would have been so ashamed that there weren't more questions, I would have been concerned about how this would make the podcast look. And you know what? Constantly trying to prove myself, constantly trying to manage people's perceptions of me, perceptions of in our workout as a company, that's all part of what contributed to me getting burned out in the first place. So we're not doing that anymore. Jen Kay from Chicago, you asked a brilliant question. And the majority of this episode is going to be dedicated to exploring your question in true Taylor form, presenting you have some more questions to consider, in hopes that this will be in service to everyone else, too.

So let's start with the question. Here it is. "A lot of resources about burnout are related to work. I'm interested in learning more about burnout in other areas of life, or general burnout from work, relationships, home life, wellness, personal growth, side hustles, family, etc. What are some tools to manage burnout when it isn't just work?" Thank you, Jen Kay, for this question. And to start, let's get some more context around burnout and how it started. Where did this term even come from? I mention this in the book. People talk about burnout, because that's where the term was first coined, the concept was first discovered. Psychologist and researcher, I'm probably going to butcher his name, Dr. Herbert Freudenberger, popularized the term burnout while he was researching people in quote, unquote, helping professions. So these are professions where you're giving care to other people. This could be being a nurse or being a therapist or working in childcare, these care work professions. And to Herbert, he thought of burnout as a workplace occurrence that was most likely to impact the people who cared about their roles. And I think that piece is so interesting. People were burned out, not just because they were checked out because they were over it, because they were just going to their job to get a paycheck. They were burned out because they cared about what they were doing so much, that they perhaps were giving more than they were able to give to their role. Let's put a pin in that because we're going to come back to that concept.

So in the 1970s, he defined burnout as a particular type of exhaustion brought on by in his words, excessive demands on energy, strength, or resources. So most of us, unfortunately, we live in this world where we spend most of our waking hours at work. And we work in and within the system of capitalism, which is designed to extract as much as possible while giving as little back to us, the worker, in return. So this is why most people talk about burnout as it relates to work because that's how this all came to be. This researcher was looking at people who cared about their jobs at work, who were giving a lot of themselves in their work. And that's why we talk about it in that context. But to your point, Jen, we're not only burned out, solely because of work, and it's possible to experience burnout in other areas of our life. And going back to this original conception of burnout as being something that people who care deeply about something can experience, all of a sudden, you see how that can impact the other parts of our lives. Certainly you could be well, I can't say certainly, because I have not experienced this personally. But I would assume that you could be burned out as a parent, because you would care a lot about your kids. And you could be burned out doing creative work, because doing creative work takes so much of you, you are engaging your intellect, you are engaging your creative spirit, you're bringing things to life, you're taking an idea and making it manifest in the world. Of course, it would make sense that you could get burned out on these different things, even some of the other things that you mentioned: side hustles, another thing that you care a lot about, you are creating something yourself. You talked about wellness, family, yes, all of these things, come back to things that we can care about. So definitely we can be burned out in all of these areas. And Dr. Freudenberger, he has this connection between care and care workers and burnout. I obviously resonate with that as someone who talks about self care. But for me, what resonates even more is thinking about care in relation to connection. Whenever I think back to the times in my life, when I have felt the most burned out, and I've mentioned this several times this season, I think about it as this deep, deep sense of disconnection. I am just not connected to who I am anymore. I'm not connected to my body, maybe I'm not connected to a community, I'm not connected to a bigger purpose. And it just feels kind of like I'm going through the motions I think of those old school commercials, for I can't even remember what medicine it was, but where people are seeing life in black and white. And it's really dull instead of experiencing the full connection to color and all of the experiences that we're able to have as humans, everything is very muted, everything is very, again, going through the motions. And with that in mind, the sense of connection and disconnection, my first piece of advice to you would be to kind of follow the trail of connection and disconnection in your own life. So for example, let's say that you are feeling burned out on your movement practice. You've done it for ages, it was something that you cared deeply about, it was something that gave you a lot of joy. And now it gives you the ick, you're like over it. You are feeling burned out by it. Ask yourself, why? Why am I feeling disconnected from this? And it could be any number of reasons. Maybe it's too easy. Maybe it's too difficult. Maybe your schedule has shifted, you used to do it before bed. But now for whatever reason that timing isn't working. Maybe you did it in the morning, maybe you went someplace physically to do that, and they moved their schedule around. It could be that there's a different instructor or the person who introduced you to the practice is retired now. There could be something that's totally unrelated to the movement practice itself that has changed in your own life.

And I want to take a moment to do a little aside here and remind you that you are supposed to change. You are human. You are a mammal. You are a part of nature. And burnout, yes can happen when we are overextending ourselves because we care. Burnout can happen because we feel disconnected. Burnout can also happen when we spend our precious energy trying to stop the naturally occurring seasonal shifts in our life. And I don't just mean seasonal, as in, we're moving into spring here in the northern hemisphere. But we are meant to change and evolve as our environment changes and evolves. And when we get burned out, sometimes it's because we're digging in our heels. And we're like, no things need to stay the same. And the reality is that things have already changed. So that could be a piece of the burnout right there is that you're holding on to things that need to shift and the energy that you're taking, trying to keep things the way that they were, is draining you to the point of burnout. And again, that could be from a movement practice, that could be not acknowledging a change that's happened in your relationships, that can lead to burnout too.

So if we go back to this movement practice that isn't doing it for you anymore, can you pinpoint a time when you did feel connected to your body, and start with the recent past. And then, you might realize, oh, man, it's been a while since I've actually felt connected to my body through movement. Go back as far as you need to. Maybe you think about like, when you were newly out of college, and you were trying to get to know people, you'd move to a different city, and you're in a volleyball league with people. And that was the last time you really felt connected to your body and connected to a community while doing that. And you start thinking like, Okay, can I can I join a volleyball league? Maybe you get really nostalgic, and you think about how you used to rollerblade around your neighborhood as a kid, and you're like, oh, maybe I need to get some rollerblades, or dust off an old pair of rollerblades that I had as an adult. So that's just one example of what it can look like to trace the connection and the disconnection in your life to get you to a place where you have answers. And you could do that for work, certainly, but it works really well in your personal life. If I'm not feeling connected in a relationship, if I'm not feeling connected to some ritual that I had for my well being, why, what has changed? No judgment in those questions. The expectation is that we do and we should change. And then what is something that has brought you a sense of connection in that area of your life? And what can you build around that?

My second exploration for you and answer to this question is to be honest about your capacity and your priorities. I love the David Allen, quote, I've probably mentioned this on the podcast before, I remember having this up on a whiteboard in college, "You can do anything, but not everything." You can do anything but not everything. You have so much potential, there's so much possibility, you have so much that you theoretically could do but you cannot do at all. And so when you're trying to do at all, even if it's good things, things that are theoretically good for you, things that you enjoy, things that you have to do to just be an adult human in this world, that can still be too much, too much is too much. No matter if it's too much of a good thing, or too much of something that you don't like, after a certain point it can start to wear on you, it can still lead you down this path to burnout. And I mentioned in the last episode where I was talking about the things that were really useful to me personally, you have to get really clear on what you want to do, and honest about what you need to do, as well as what you are able to do. And those can sound like I'm just repeating myself, I'm saying the same phrase over and over. But I'm not. What you want to do, what you need to do and what you're able to do, there can be significant overlap, but there can also be some distinctions between those three categories. And those distinctions might be pinpointing places where you are particularly prone to burnout. And I love the approach that the Lazy Genius takes to this, where she's got this concept of finding out what you want to be a genius at, and then allowing yourself to be lazy at everything else. And not lazy as a derogatory term. But lazy as like, I'm going to allow this to be easy. I'm not going to overachieve in this area. Sometimes I'm just going to check the box, and that's okay, I don't need to like go above and beyond in every area of my life. And so from a wellness perspective, or from a personal development perspective, you might realize that at this point in your life, you don't have the capacity to do this extravagant journaling practice every day or every week. Or you might realize that's actually really important to me and that means that I have to, on Sundays, cook a simpler meal, so that I have more time to journal. So that might mean you're not like a fancy Sunday dinner gal and you are like, I'm keeping it really simple. I'm doing a three ingredient meal so that I have the time and the space that I need to do this journaling practice that I want. So there's a give and a take but it starts with being really honest with yourself. You have to almost let this idealized version of yourself lay that to rest. And say, this is who I am right now, this is what I'm able to do right now and maybe I have hopes and dreams, that I can have more capacity in the future, but I'm living in the present right now. And this is what I can do, this is what I'm able to do, this is what I'm willing to do, this is what I need to do. Getting really honest with yourself goes a long way in both preventing burnout, but also in healing burnout.

And then the final thing that I would add in response to your question, is to incorporate more fun and play and take things less seriously. And this is me like speaking to myself. There is a direct correlation. And again, I'm speaking from the I here, between my own healing of burnout, and caring less about what other people think. That applies in my work life, it also applies in my personal life. I find myself on a very regular basis, noticing that there is some tension that's existing. And going back to some version of these questions that I'm about to share with you. Where are you trying to impress people? Where in your life are you trying to impress people? It could be as simple as like, I am overextending myself in yoga class, because everyone else is doing crow pose, and I'm not doing it yet and it's making yoga class feel like a competition, because I'm trying to impress everyone around me. On a similar vein, where are you trying to keep up appearances? You're trying to make it look like you have everything perfectly together, your house is perfectly clean all the time, your kids are well behaved, all of the things, you are dressed perfectly all the time, you're put together, everything in your life is just like a-okay. That takes a lot of energy, especially if those are things that are not particularly important to you. And then this last question, I'm hoping that this will be an opening for you. What would be possible if you let your guard down a little bit? If people didn't need to see you as this person who has everything under control, and is perfectly put together? What would be possible? I found for me, that I have become a better leader, I've become more relatable as a friend, I've become a better partner, a better business owner, when I'm able to say like, this was hard. Or I tried the first time and it didn't work. So I'm pivoting or one person responded to this episode. And I'm so grateful for that one person who asked a question, like it almost has the opposite effect. I found that the more I tried to be this person who appears to be perfect, the more I'm pushing people away, it gets back to that disconnection. People don't feel like they can connect with perfection, people might aspire to perfection. But people don't tend to feel safe to share with someone who they perceive to be perfect. So I'm just offering that up for you. That's kind of one side of the coin is like however, and wherever you feel safe to do that, letting your guard down with people in your life can go a long way.

And then the other side of it is like, how can you sprinkle more fun into everything? I've realized, it's so funny, this is something that I think I'll just continue to grow into, I find that people perceive me, from what I hear, as being like a pretty serious, grounded person. And to a certain extent, I do think I'm pretty grounded. But I'm also like, not that serious. I'm also regularly dancing around and making jokes that are terrible, sometimes making jokes that are kind of off color. And that's a huge part of who I am, too. And I can remember, like kind of thinking things. This is years ago, but thinking things but not wanting to say because like, what if that joke doesn't land. And I don't share that in every aspect of my life. But having the spaces where I can be like the silliest version of myself has been so so healing for me. And also like sprinkling in fun doesn't have to be like cracking jokes dancing around, it's also just like, what is fun to you? And how are you incorporating that into the things that you get to do and the things that you have to do? I think I might have mentioned this before, but like, I tried to make cleaning really fun. I know I have to do it. My ADHD thinks it's really boring. So when I'm cleaning that's when I tend to play like my records. and get to like, sing around and have kind of a classic movie moment where you're like, with the vacuum cleaner, and it's your microphone or your dusting, and you're singing along, or I'll have like really fun to me podcasts that I save for those moments when I'm doing really boring tasks. So that might be something to consider. It also can be like, environmentally, maybe you got to switch things up, maybe you're not actually burned out on the task. Maybe you're just burned out with how or where you're approaching this task? And what if you did it in a gorgeous setting? Or what if you like, reorganized a corner of your space? So you have this dedicated, beautiful space to do whatever it is that you're feeling like you might be burned out on? Or how can you bring people with you? Again, connection is such a big part of preventing and healing from burnout. So maybe you're feeling burned out because you're trying to do it all on your own. And that could be like, from a kind of perfectionist standpoint, where you're like, I'm the only person who knows how to do this right or it could be from an insecurity place where you're like, I don't want other people to see me doing this, because maybe they'll think I'm bad at it. Or it could just be because you're afraid to invite other people in because you don't know if they will accept that invitation. But I can tell you like, from my own experience, yes does it suck if you invite someone and they happen to be busy or they say no, but it's also really clarifying. You just know like, okay, this relationship, at least right now, isn't for this type of space, or this type of activity. So those are the three tips that I would offer up to you. And they're not even tips, they're more like thought starters. As you're thinking about burnout in other areas of your life. And of course, all of this applies to work as well. Start by reflecting on this dichotomy of where you're feeling disconnected, and where you're feeling connected. Be really honest with yourself, I feel like that's just evergreen. Be honest with yourself about your capacity and your priorities. And allow yourself to get a little less serious, let your hair down, have fun, be silly, and invite other people into that with you.

And with that, we are headed into an integration break, which essentially just means the podcast is on hiatus. I am really trying to practice what I preach. I am definitely the person who will tell everyone else to rest, or tell everyone else to do less and then to feel like that doesn't apply to me and I'm not interested in living that way anymore. I'm gonna try and practice what I preach, take some actual time off from the podcast and rest. And then get into the next season, which we've already decided what the topic is going to be. I'm so excited like to do all the research, to start to curate the different guests for the seasons. I don't know exactly when the next season will come out, I would assume that it will come out sometime this summer, May will be the absolute earliest. And I plan to do two more seasons of Inner Warmup this year. So May would be the earliest, it'll be sometime this summer. And my hope for you is that you will actually take this as an integration break. And what I mean by that, is spend some time thinking and reflecting, what stood out to you in these interviews or in the solo episodes about burnout? Where are you at with burnout? Are you healing from burnout? Are you on the path from burnout? Are you trying to make sure you prevent it? What's surfaced for you in this season? And how can you apply it? How can you not make it just this thing that you press play on, that you listen to you while you're dusting, and be something that you actually integrate into your own life. And I hope that the space that is left in your week when you would have listened to Inner Warmup, that you use that time to connect more deeply with yourself. I mean that's so sincerely, I'm so serious about that. Part of the breaks is not just to give me a break, but it's also like, I am not trying to be anyone's guru, let alone the fact that that is like appropriating another culture. But also like, I am only useful if I'm leading you back to yourself. And if you're listening to me all the time, you might start to allow anything that I say to supersede your inner voice. And that is the last thing that I want. So let my voice fade away. We can still stay connected through Self Care Sunday newsletters and I will be hosting workshops with some of the new content from the book in the coming months, we can still stay connected. But I hope that your inner voice gets louder and that you get more deeply connected to it.

If you made it this far, thank you so much for listening. Thank you for making this season, just a delight to work on. And I am getting kind of ambitious about the guests that I would like to have on. And it's not like, I'm trying to get super big celebrities, even though in some instances that might be cool. I'm really interested in like talking to researchers and practitioners. And one way that I can show them that people listen to this podcast, is through ratings and reviews. So if this has meant something to you, if you've enjoyed this episode, or this, I mean, this episode, but also the season, please take a moment to rate and review, especially on Apple podcasts, it makes a difference - less so for people discovering the podcast and more so for me to be able to say, yeah, people really like the conversations that are had here. And I think I want next season to be almost exclusively interviews but if I get feedback, otherwise, I'm definitely open to it. But I just love the conversations that were had and the people who were brilliant at what they do, and I want more of that magic here. Okay. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you as always for your expertise. And until I record again, take care.