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How To Recognize Burnout

And What To Do About It Right Now

Almost everyone can relate to the need for more personal space – or margin – in their life.

What’s the #1 sign we need more margin? Burnout.

Last year the NYT published a great piece about how to recognize burnout out before you’re burned out.

Check to see if you’re feeling:

  • Mentally unwell, meaning you have a negative internal dialogue or poor narrative with friends…
  • Emotionally drained, regularly feeling alienated, attacked, underappreciated, or simply unhappy…
  • Physically exhausted, unable to sleep, feeling like you’re just barely getting by each day, perpetually feeling drained and rarely recovering…

Here are a few reasons why you might feel burned out:

  • You’re overcapacity in work or personal responsibilities
  • You have regular interaction with difficult personalities
  • You have unpredictable schedules or deadlines

Unfortunately, for most, we reach burnout before we know it. As a result, we accrue massive “margin” debt that we’ll eventually need to pay back. That’s why I believe so many young people feel the need to quit their jobs so they can travel the world, or go to B-School. They need a “break”.

But, as I’ve learned through all my business ventures, failures, travel, and other forms of escapism, what good will a “break” do if there’s no catalyst for a change in you?

More often than not, burnout happens because we fail to set better boundaries around our personal space, at the cost of our own health and well-being.

As I study my own life, I can’t blame burnout on anyone or anything but me. Sure, I can’t control a demanding job, a difficult environment, or challenging people. But I can’t blame those things either.

First, I made the decision to sign the papers for the job, to be in that environment, and to accept the people it came with. Second, if nothing else, I have control over how I spend my time (in thought or action) every day of the week.

In recent years, I’ve made the choice to no longer accept over-extension as a way of life. Practically, that means I try to do less, and I try to be more.

I’ve had a massive breakthrough. Maybe it will help you:

You can’t “do” happy. You have to “be” happy. If you can’t “be” still, then no matter where you go or what you “do”, you’ll never get to receive the free gifts of peace and joy that belong to you…

Listen to the latest episode on my podcast. It’s called: Margin

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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