Given my professional focus on mental and physical health, how did I just find out that August is Wellness Awareness Month? 

Actually, I found out because my publisher tagged my company on LinkedIn, recommending my book as a good resource on this topic. (Thanks, Indigo River Publishing!) 

Last Thursday we had a really juicy conversation in my coaching group about burnout. We talked about the physical effects and also the impact on our mental health and mental functioning. A severe burnout can affect every aspect of your life and may even send you into a state of existential angst. 

In my experience, there is a spectrum for burnout. In this case, I am not talking about exhaustion where sleep or a vacation will fix it. I am talking about the level that requires a life overhaul. You may need to rethink how you work, how you practice self-care, how you set up and enforce boundaries, etc. 

Most likely, you will need to do all of these. 

Burnout is in some ways like grief – it is different for everyone and there is no set timeline for recovery. You may bounce back fairly quickly, or you may have a long road back. 

One of the problems with burnout is that we may not realize we are experiencing it, and thus we get started on our healing journey months (or years) later than we should have. 

Jen Fisher is the Chief Well-being Officer at Deloitte. She experienced major burnout and was brought into this role to try to help other professionals not experience the same. She also was diagnosed with cancer and talks about the differences between the two healing journeys. 

In The Future of Work | JEN FISHER | TEDxMiami, Fisher shares her personal story and includes suggestions for how organizations can promote “human sustainability.” 

My co-coach, Angie, loved this talk and shared her favorite truth bombs from it in our group chat:

  • “Cancer was easier than burnout.”
  • “People can be high-performing but incredibly un-well.”
  • “(Something) we can do about (burnout) – it starts with taking care of yourself.”
  • “We need to know what our non-negotiables are. Then, uphold and communicate your boundaries.”
  • “Make well-being the outcome of our work and not a luxury.”

I highly recommend taking 14 minutes to watch this.

Fun fact: My TEDx talk was titled “Sustaining Personal Energy to Fuel Professional Success.” I spoke about many of the same topics in 2015 from my point of view. 

Clearly, we need to keep talking about this. 

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash