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A Conversation About Burnout

guest star podcast May 16, 2023

Get ready for a deep dive into a topic that hits close to home for many of us: burnout! In this podcast episode, I had the incredible opportunity to sit down with Carlyn Neek, a fellow occupational therapist (OT), podcaster, and Certified Coach Practitioner. Let me tell you, this conversation took us to some unexpected places!

If you’ve been around for any length of time you know that burnout has been a recurring theme on our podcast. We've explored it in episodes like "The Mother Theresa Complex" and "Rest as a Revolution." But this time, we're going ALL in! Because as the book "Burnout" by the Naski Sisters beautifully puts it… wellness isn’t just a state of mind, but a state of action. It's about finding balance and embracing the freedom to navigate different cycles of life. When we neglect these actions, that’s when burnout sneaks in.

It's time to take action and kick burnout to the curb… so let’s dive in!

Finding Balance and Avoiding the Overworking Trap: Carlyn’s Journey

Carlyn Neek's journey is truly inspiring, and it teaches us a valuable lesson about the importance of being flexible and resilient in the world of entrepreneurship. She realized that change was necessary, and she embraced the idea that life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns. So, to bring more joy and relaxation into her busy life, she decided to give pottery a try. And let me tell you, it turned out to be a game-changer!

She also recognized how social media was taking a toll on her well-being. The constant scrolling, the comparisons, the pressure to always be connected—it was all weighing her down. So, she took a stand and made a conscious choice to break free from its addictive grip. How did she do it, you ask? Well, she started by implementing something called time blocking. By setting specific time slots for online engagement and making sure to prioritize different aspects of her life, she regained control and found a healthier balance.

Carlyn's story is a powerful reminder that we too have the power to reclaim our lives from the clutches of social media. It's all about being intentional, knowing our limits, and making choices that align with our well-being. So, let's take a page from Carlyn's book and find that balance we all crave.

Shattering the Myth of "Having It All"

Carlyn and I are on a mission to shake things up and shatter the myth of "having it all." We're here to show the world that there's a different path to fulfillment, one that doesn't involve running ourselves ragged trying to achieve the impossible. It's time to challenge those unrealistic expectations that have been placed on women for far too long.

We're all about embracing the journey, finding joy in the present moment, and celebrating our progress along the way. Life isn't a mad dash towards an unreachable finish line—it's about savoring each step and cherishing the experiences that shape us. We want you to prioritize your personal well-being and focus on what truly matters to you.

We're also calling out the societal pressure to be superhumans who effortlessly excel in multiple roles. Let’s just kick that idea to the curb! We believe in the power of support and collaboration. Because together, we can create a community that lifts each other up, celebrates our strengths, and supports us in our journeys. No more going it alone!

By challenging the myth of "having it all," we open up space for a more authentic and fulfilling life where we can thrive in our own unique ways.

Empowering Women in Helping Professions

Being occupational therapists ourselves, we have had our fair share of experiences that shed light on the unique challenges faced by women in helping professions. We've seen firsthand the immense pressure to excel in both our careers and personal lives, and let me tell you, it can lead to some serious burnout and stress. It's a story that resonates with so many women in our field, and it's high time we have open and honest conversations about it.

There's this one quote that has really struck a chord with us. It's all about the shift from being told "you can be anything" by feminists to feeling the weight of having to be everything. Sure, the intention behind empowering women is great, but the reality is that living up to that expectation can feel downright impossible. We've got to recognize and acknowledge the pressure it puts on us.

Here's the thing: we need to have each other's backs and foster a culture of collaboration rather than competition. We can't carry the weight of the world on our shoulders and expect to keep our own well-being intact. It's about lifting each other up, understanding that we all have our limits and areas where we need support. By doing that, we can create a more sustainable and supportive environment for ourselves and the generations of women who will follow in our footsteps. So, let’s break free from those unrealistic expectations and pave a new path together!

Burnout as a Systemic Issue

Burnout is no joke, and it's not something that only happens to individuals who can't handle the pressure… it's a much bigger beast than that. It’s actually a systemic issue that we need to tackle head-on.

Let's not forget about the big elephant in the room: the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare workers, in particular, have been pushed to their limits, facing unimaginable challenges and having to work with limited resources. It's a tough situation, but we're not here to just dwell on the problems.

By examining the systemic roots of burnout, we can start paving the way for better work environments that prioritize our well-being. It's about reevaluating workloads, securing the right funding, giving people more control over decision-making, and making sure employers provide the support we need.

Challenging the Definition of Success

When it comes to tackling burnout, we're all about shaking up the old notions of success and putting our well-being front and center. It's time to break free from the traditional definition of success and create a work-life balance that actually works for us. No more sacrificing our mental and physical health for the sake of societal expectations.

So, how do we do it? Well, first things first, we need to embrace curiosity. That means staying open to new experiences, constantly learning, and growing as individuals. It's about finding joy and fulfillment in the journey, rather than fixating solely on the end result. By cultivating a sense of curiosity, we can infuse our lives with excitement and purpose.

Flexibility is another key ingredient in the battle against burnout. We need to be willing to adapt, adjust our expectations, and go with the flow. Life throws curveballs at us, and being flexible allows us to navigate those challenges with resilience and grace. It's about finding a rhythm that works for us and being okay with making changes along the way.

Above all, we must prioritize our well-being. Self-care isn't a luxury—it's a necessity. Setting boundaries, managing stress, and taking time for ourselves are all crucial in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. We need to prioritize our mental and physical health just as much as our professional achievements.

Your How to Avoid Burnout Recap:

  • Don’t get stuck on the idea of being successful
  • Remember you have the freedom to be flexible
  • Don’t hustle. Allow yourself a balance between work and life and family
  • Don’t just jump straight from the frying pan into the fire. You have time!

Are you ready to join us on this eye-opening journey? We're here to shake things up, share practical insights, and support each other as we tackle burnout head-on. Together, we can create lives that are balanced, fulfilling, and filled with joy. Let's break free from the pressure of "having it all" and prioritize our well-being. It's time to redefine success on our own terms, find that sweet spot between work and life, and navigate the challenges of burnout with resilience and grace. So, let's ditch those unrealistic expectations, embrace curiosity, go with the flow, and make self-care non-negotiable. Trust me, it's possible! Join us as we pave a new path towards a life that's meaningful, purposeful, and oh-so satisfying. Together, we've got this!