"And you may contribute a verse"
Two weeks back from now, I had pushed my mind and body to their limits. To say I was burnt out would be a massive understatement. I was constantly juggling personal projects, work commitments, designing, and personal life. The result: I fell incredibly sick, my body straight up refused to coordinate. I had to postpone all my deadlines, take a temporary leave from my projects and cancel whatever plans I had for the upcoming weeks.
As I sat recovering from the burnout and very real sickness, I began pondering on why it happened. I did what I would normally do, read a couple of blogs on burnout saw some YouTube videos and banged my head on my desk when everything else failed. The symptoms were the same, pushing myself to work late at night, not ever saying no and keeping my mind in a perpetual state of anxiety and stress.
The cure? Well, there were none really, none of the top 10 tips made sense and there were no hacks or tricks or ways to keep up one's productivity in a burnout. It is a slow and painful process involving a lot of self-realization, rest and maintaining one's health.
You see this has become a habit for most of us, youngsters, we look at everything as a problem to solve, something an app can fix or a new productivity hack will cure.
"Feeling Burnout, Do this Right Now!"
"Top 7 ways you can beat burnout today"
"A list of 10 apps for increased productivity"
I can almost hear these YouTube titles and see them as blog posts. These content are sometimes toxic to one's well being, through carefully designed videos and structured words and a clean picture of a desk with a MacBook they give us an ideal to strive towards. An ideal that is most of the time empty and hollow.
Your favorite YouTuber or regular blogger has a very different life than you. Whatever mantra works for them won't necessarily work for you. The way I see it, burn out is a way we tell ourselves that it's enough, we need to look at ourselves now. Again this is an opinion and not an advise, hack, trick or any of those mindless things
We plan our day, schedule our week, put stuff into our calendars but never for ourselves. We fool ourselves into thinking that meditation or workout or even sleep is for ourselves. It's not, its a way of flexing, of showing others how productive we are, how structured our lives look. This is my opinion, but real work, work that's fulfilling and means something, that's always messy. It's chaotic, sometimes deadlines are missed and structure is lost but the end product is always beautiful. Why? Because it comes from the heart, it's passionate, its an extension of who we are as a person not who we project ourselves to be.
I have realized that no one can create a work-life balance if we do not know what is life without our work. We might be passionate about something else as well, it might be writing, dancing, art, photography or even the pursuit of knowledge. It might be Netflix and Chill for an hour or two. Take that time, allow yourself a corner that's just yours. Let it have solely one purpose, the purpose of serving yourself. Don't feel ashamed for healing yourself.
Burnout is not necessarily a bad thing, neither is it a disease. It's like a hard reboot your body chooses when it gets overwhelmed with everything you throw at it. It's a natural process, but it is a warning, a sign that tells you, you have not taken care of yourself for a long time.
"To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes one and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?"