Last week, I shared 10 Indicators You Are On the Road to Burnout and Headed for the Lava Pit. Holy smokes did it resonate with people! So many of you reached out to me to share they “didn’t even realize they were that close to burnout”, that they “are in the lava pit” or they are “well on their way.”

Good news…burnout is preventable!

No matter what stage you find yourself in, we are in this together and I’m here to help! This week I want to share why burnout prevention is critical for your health, your well-being, your work, and your relationships.      

I was a busy CMO and in burnout a few years ago. I didn’t know I had it until one day it smacked me right in the face. Having recently been diagnosed with chronic insomnia, I was a walking zombie. I was so tired but couldn’t sleep. Externally, I was still making it all happen but, internally, I felt pure exhaustion. 

On one particular evening, I was at the airport waiting for a flight, sitting at the bar, grabbing a quick bite to eat near my gate, minding my own business. The lady next to me was just trying to be nice and pass the time before her flight. She asked me a simple question: “where are you going?” A very appropriate question to start a casual airport conversation with a stranger. But, I looked up at her with a perplexed glazed-over expression. I had no idea! Business or vacation? What was the difference? North or south? Warm or cold? I literally didn’t know where I was going! My travel schedule had increased a lot during the previous months. Work and personal events were all blurring together these days. I just went where my calendar told me to.  

Luckily, I’ve never packed without my detailed packing list. Naturally, with a detailed “appendix” for the beach, business, or international trips. (Yes, you can have a copy of my packing right here.) So, I probably had the right items with me for said trip. But, YIKES this was intense! I literally had no idea where I was going.  

Thanks to that sweet lady at the bar for an eye-opening experience and for putting me on the road back to sanity, slowing down, away from burnout, and ultimately launching this business. 

Why is burnout so bad?

Burnout attacks from a variety of angles. Unlike a fairly straight forward broken bone, the causes and symptoms of burnout can take an enormous emotional and physical toll over a long period of time.  

  1. Stress hormones out of line. Stress is meant to protect us against predators. Remember fight or flight? Thankfully there isn’t a saber-toothed tiger fighting you for the steak you just threw on the grill. In our modern lives, stress isn’t telling you to quickly run from a wild beast, instead, it’s more of a constant underlying presence that doesn’t go away quickly. The constant increase in these stress hormones can manifest as higher blood pressure, an altered immune system, changes to the digestive system, varied mood, anxiety, depression, heart disease, and more. 
  2. Immediate physical symptoms. When you are burned out you can literally feel effects such as an increased heart rate, headaches, stomach issues, and heartburn. You may even have lost your sex drive. Ok, now I know you are paying attention. Nobody wants that.    
  3. Malnutrition. Overeating, under-eating, or entire meals lacking nutrients. We’ve all had dinner from the office vending machine at one point or another. It happens to the best of us. But, it shouldn’t be your normal go-to source of food. When you are burned out you struggle to meal plan, take the time to cook, and end up eating whatever you can find. I truly believe that nutrient-packed food is the world’s best medicine. But, it’s hard to get when you feel like you’ve got no time for real food.      
  4. Sleep problems. This one I know well. While I believe in the benefits of healthy food, I don’t think there is anything better for your body than sleep. And, when you are burned out sleep is one of the first things to suffer. A lack of sleep triggers a host of other physical and mental symptoms. It’s the backbone of our well-being.   
  5. It’s not just your work. If you are burned out, your family will also feel it. One of the key reasons to fight burnout is so your family can get the best version of you. I’ve talked about this a lot. We show up 100% at work and for our clients. They think you are amazing (which you are). Then, we have nothing left at the end of the day for those we love the most. Some nights, they think you are Satan’s offspring (which you might be acting like). Why are those closest to you getting the worst of you? Your relationships are worth so much more. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Burnout is a serious condition now recognized by the World Health Organization.

  • Constant stress can manifest itself in a variety of ways.

  • Burnout causes physical symptoms, malnutrition, sleep problems, and affect your relationships.

  • You can prevent burnout from taking over.

This is a big deal, it’s real and it’s fierce. You can’t afford to mess around with your health and relationships in this way. You deserve more and so does your family. Next week, we are going to go through how to fight burnout. Because, the good news is, you can! 

If you need help fighting burnout in your life, I’m your gal. I can help you get back control of your time, accomplish more, and be present when you are done for the day.

You Got This! Sarah

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Hi, I’m Sarah
Sarah Ohanesian Productivity Coach

The productivity coach who creates programs for overwhelmed professionals who are ready to say buh bye to stress, anxiety, mental clutter, and analysis paralysis and hello to clarity, purpose, and success.

I bring systems and quick productivity wins to your day so that you can get back control of your time, accomplish more, and be present when you are done at 5.

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