Burning through Burnout

I have a stellar case of burnout.

As in: I’m full with a burning desire to …. what? Supernova? Become a neutron mass? What is burnout?

I’m not even sure.

That’s the thing about burnout. It’s a difficult (and weird) feeling to define. Merriam-Webster’s gives us: “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.” But it’s not just a case of needing more rest. I can get plenty of sleep and still feel this strange ennui that leaves me unmotivated and blah. In fact, I would say purposely NOT doing anything makes me feel even worse. So what gives?

While searching for solutions to my burnout, I listened to part of a BBC video: How to Avoid Emotional Burnout. But I cut it off when the host started talking about taking twenty minutes each day to listen to yourself. Uh, I don’t know about you, but I have spent far too much time listening to myself these past two years. I’m NOT here for it. Not any longer.

I’ve had burnout before in life. (I think most people have, given our modern work schedules.) The most memorable case was while I was teaching in NYC and attending grad school. I would feel this horrible wrenching in my chest each day getting up for another day of work and school. It was a miserable slog to work and then classes (each at different ends of the city), and I had absolutely bonkers amounts of work to do, and yet: I was bored. Really, truly bored. I had burnout.

But things are not so easy to pin down right now.

I have plenty of things I’m interested in doing. Tons of goals and projects lined up for the summer. Things I’m truly excited to start. And yet …

Maybe it’s just the weather.

Just Another Beautiful April Day

April in the Northland is always more of an ephemeral dream than reality, so expectations are generally low. But it’s been pretty lousy outside lately, even by up-north standards. People think cabin fever is an issue in December or January even, but try April when the winds are still blistering and you can’t go for a walk without long underwear, mittens, and a heavy coat.

Okay. It isn’t just the weather. I mean obviously, right? Maybe the cure is simply allowing myself to do things that are NOT necessary to function.

Like this blog. I felt an itch to write for an audience of exactly one. Me. I’m the only solid reader of this thing, and that’s all right.

Perhaps burnout means I need to find a way to do more NON essential things. Things that aren’t very important to me.

I would say more, but I’m starting to feel tired of this too.

This is just to say …

Running sneaker with an untied shoelace.

I am going for a run this afternoon.

A jog is probably a better term …

A huffy little sprint?

No, sprint is too optimistic. I plan to huff and puff.

I will bravely don my (too tight) leggings and winter hat and mittens (it’s still cold here in northern Wisconsin) and, oh, a shirt and a jacket, because nudity is frowned upon, and I will see what this middle-aged body can do after 12 months of life during a pandemic, 12 months riddled with anxiety and stress and depression and unemployment and reading and writing and contributing and working and cooking and laughing and …

It’s just a run, okay? Best not to put too much pressure on it.