Permission to Unplug

Burnout is a lagging indicator. But we don’t listen to the whispers of feeling constantly tired, overwhelmed, out of control do we?

We wait until we metaphorically get hit on the head and our body starts to break down and not function optimally. And then maybe, just maybe, we start to pay attention. Of course, the quick ‘easy’ medical insurance covered way to deal with the pain is go visit to the Doctors and get the drugs that soften the edges and distance the pain but never really deals with the underlying habitual ways of living in these not normal times.

I am both amazed and saddened by the number of people who have adapted to this crazy constant online 24/7 Covid pandemic pace. People who are wearing the fact they’ve not taken a holiday almost as a badge of honour. Really? You think it’s impressive that you are driving your mental and physical fitness into the ground and not giving yourself any way of proactively decompressing, refuelling or resetting?

A survey took place recently of 1,500 US workers and it showed, comparatively against a pre-Covid survey that,

  • burnout is on the rise – 52% experienced burnout, a number which was 43% pre-Covid
  • Millennials were already burned out pre Covid and they continue to be affected with 59% reporting burnout currently, same as Gen-Z
  • the pandemic’s toll is also more apparent among older generations. Baby boomers have shown a 7% increase from last year. Over half of Gen-X are feeling the strain, with a 14% increase from pre-Covid
  • 80% believed that Covid has impacted workplace burnout
  • 67% say that burnout has worsened during the pandemic

Stats from Forbes.com

I like to acknowledge that I have enough information and experience to know that I am starting to feel the very real Covid Fatigue and as I strongly believe in prevention not cure I am listening to my body. I am an authentic leader and to prove how critically important I know this potential burnout indicator is I am walking my talk and unplugging for 2 whole weeks.

Yes, I could listen to my negative inner voice which talks to me in that whiny ‘who do you think you are?’ patronizing voice –

Which I picture as my joy-stealing monster saying things like;

“You’re a sole Entrepreneur.  Can you really afford to be unavailable to existing clients, potential opportunities and social media scheduling?”

“You’ve got school fees and rent to pay”

“Do you really need time off, you love your job?”

And I say very strongly and confidently in a much louder voice to that inner critic that I can’t afford not to.

For me to be at my best, I need to do this not just for my business but more importantly for my family. So I can be calmer and more patient with all around me and ironically come back more productive than before. As Dr Stephen Covey says in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,

We must never become too busy sawing that we don’t take time to sharpen the saw”. 

As I am unable due to Covid restrictions to physically remove myself from my ‘living at work’ environment what I can do is, close my laptop, not log into SM and turn off all notifications for 14 days. I’m going for a proper break which will allow my ‘work’ brain to switch off and enjoy no real time agenda.

I don’t know about you but taking a few days off here and there do not cut the mustard. It’s mainly because as I am unable to leave the island that there are too many work triggers surrounding me and the habits are so ingrained after 2 years that it takes me longer to get into my holiday mode. Sad but true.

I absolutely know I will return feeling refreshed, revived and reset for another few months.

I can’t wait. See you on the other side…