You wake up in the morning and you feel… awesome, full of energy and joy, ready to make it a perfect day. This is how we often feel after a time out or at the beginning of something new and fresh – like the New Year. We are full of great ideas and we promise to ourselves: we will not let go of this great feeling!
But then reality kicks in. Little by little we give the best of us to what society calls for: Perfection. We feel that we have to be perfect. 24/7. In our job we have to be successful, creative and a fun colleague. We have to be a loving parent, a sexy partner and a wonderful entertaining friend. And in between meetings, emails, doing homework with our kids and cooking dinner for our friends, we have to manage our yoga class and get to the hairdresser – because we also want to be healthy and beautiful!
The only problem with this kind of lifestyle is that it is not possible. We cannot be 110% all the time. At a certain stage you just feel exhausted. And this exhaustion is so deep that sleeping in on the weekends doesn’t do the trick anymore. The burnout syndrome is a state of physical and/or emotional long-term exhaustion and one of the top illnesses of modern times.
A burnout is not a clean cut medical disease. It can come out of nowhere and the reasons are quite versatile – too much work with too little tribute from your superiors or colleagues, emotional stress, discrepancy between your achievements and your own – far too high – expectations and many more. In a nutshell a burnout results out of continuous excessive demands.
A burnout may develop very, very slowly and there are no clear symptoms. Early signs may be constant tiredness, insomnia, having the feeling to not do enough, having problems getting up in the morning and going to work, bursting into tears with no apparent reason, feeling frustrated, having problems to concentrate, tensions in the body, feeling lonely, increased aggressiveness and many more. A burnout syndrome is very hard to depict and it is strongly suggested that people who think that they may suffer from burnout get help from outside. This may be a friend, a psychologist, a personal coach or someone else you think might be able to help you.
A lot of people do not even know that they even have a serious health issue. Often, the signs as described above are classified as “personal weaknesses”. This is very harsh. We have to accept the fact that we are “only” human. Everybody is unique and very different. The key is to find your own pace. Love yourself the way you are in all your ups and downs. This is you. Your own true self. We have to honor ourselves for our strength as well as our weaknesses, as both are part of what we are.
Enjoy your life! We need to learn to make conscious decisions for ourselves – not for others – just for us, to make life even more enjoyable. The world won’t end just because you turn off your mobile for a couple of hours. Your boss won’t sack you, just because you tell him very openly that you want to work less. And if he or she does, than this may be your perfect excuse to change your work life completely. Your friends will still be your friends, even if you order Pizza from the delivery store next door instead of preparing a full meal by yourself.