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Excessive Stress Leads to Burnout

What I did to avoid further burnout the moment I became aware of it!

I’ve been under tremendous stress due to heavy workload for the few weeks now. Many things came in suddenly and at more or less the same time, and everything was urgent! I had a lot on my plate and being a hands-on person (and a perfectionist too!) I found the need to carefully look into and personally attend to every deliverable.

I've my small wins to thank during these challenging and stressful weeks. They kept me motivated and focused on the larger goals. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to motor on and accomplish my goals.

Succeed I did. Yay!

And in the process, I experienced burnout! My bad. My own doing (face palm!).


Burnout has been a problem for a long time.

It was in 2019 that the World Health Organisation identified burnout at the workplace as an occupational phenomena. Burnout due to overwork during prepandemic was responsible for the deaths of 2.8 million people a year.

I’m sure the figure rose higher during the peak of the pandemic when people had to adjust to working from home due to the imposed locked down.

Introverts vs Extroverts

Who is more at risk of burnout- introverts or extroverts?

Introverts are more at risk of burnout. Introverts typically feel most comfortable focusing on work in the absence of people (there’s no need for small talks and making unnecessary connections) but they’ll soon desire to meet at least a few people to talk to avoid isolation and loneliness.

Extroverts on the other hand are less at risk of burnout as their dislike for being secluded would force them to figure out ways to adapt and have more emotional flexibility even when they’re busy with work.

How did I know I was experiencing burnout?

I couldn’t sleep and even if I did I would constantly wake up. My mind was always racing. I was deep in thought and planning every single minute detail of each deliverable. I wasn’t present during meetings. I felt exhausted and was making mistakes in my documents.

I didn’t mind any of the above (I like to think I am resilient) and when I saw my haggard face and panda eyes in the mirror one morning I knew I had to do something to snap out of it!

What did I do?

I forced myself to stop working (no laptop etc) for three days. Yes, I went cold turkey!

On the first day, I felt uneasy and wanted to get back to the grind. I allowed myself to do some work (just an hour or so) on WhatsApp (limited work could be done on WhatsApp but it was good enough to feed my desire).

On the second day, I managed to give up working on WhatsApp but I was still thinking and planning what needed to be done etc. I took time to write them down to clear my mind.

On the third day, I experienced absolute bliss. Somehow I managed to avoid thinking about work and I spent quality time with my kids. I’d not been spending time with them due to my busy schedule and work commitments (worked up to 100 hours per week including the weekends for a few weeks) and I felt happy doing things with them and hearing their chatter and laughter.

My realisation

I feel human again after the three days of break. I am now more upbeat and I look fresh! I don’t miss being a zombie!

I realise that my business and professional career is a marathon. That means I’m a marathon runner, not a sprinter.

I was sprinting everywhere (like a headless chicken if I may add!) and as a result I was suffering from burnout. It’s good I was aware of the burnout and decided to just stop working. Had I continued, I could have been another statistic (I’m just dramatising it!).

Let this be a reminder to all- We are not sprinters. We are marathon runners. Pace yourselves!


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