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Stop Pushing Yourself: 10 Crucial Steps to Avoid Burnout

“I actually think burnout is the wrong description of it. I think it’s ‘burn up.’ Physiologically, that is what you are doing because of the chronic stress being placed on your body.” ~Richard Boyatzis

Some years ago, when my mother told me that a friend of hers had experienced burnout, I didn’t really listen. Actually, I didn’t want to hear about it. I even felt irritated because she felt sorry for people who got burned out.

My opinion was that they were just being ridiculous and exaggerating.

It was an excuse, supported by a medical certificate from some doctor they knew well, so that they could stay home, plant basil in the garden, drink tea, and read good books in front of the fire. They were simply lazy folks who just couldn’t be bothered working.

Some lessons are learned the hard way. Others, really hard. A last few change you for life.

For me, burnout was life-changing; it turned my aggressive skepticism into factual knowledge. Almost annihilated by the beast of burnout, I’ve recovered, humbled and grateful to be alive.

The other day I sat down and flipped through my journals from the past years. It was overwhelming. I felt so heartbreakingly sad for myself, for what I’ve put myself through.

There was page after page of me worrying about alarming issues and symptoms I was experiencing, for a period of several years. There were lists of points I raised with my doctor, trying to figure out what was wrong with me. He kept saying the same thing over and over, but it was impossible for me to take it in.

He said, “Be careful, Mrs. Torneryd. You have all the symptoms of a textbook burnout.” My answer was always the same: “I cannot get burned out. It can’t happen to me; I’m not that type of person.”

Some of the points from my diary:

  • When in bed, I can’t remember if I’ve brushed my teeth.
  • I feel panic while driving; other cars are getting too close to me.
  • My skin is a mess, and my hair looks dead.
  • I’ve experienced three double-sided pneumonias over the past eleven months.
  • I have constant ringing in my ears.
  • Even when I sleep, I don’t let my head rest on the pillow.
  • I wake up around twenty times per night (cramp, sweat, pee).
  • I feel pressure over my chest, and I can’t breathe properly.
  • My heart is very often offbeat.
  • My intestines are destroyed; I look eight months pregnant ten minutes after every meal. I even pooped myself in the super-market—with no premonition.
  • My gallstones are stuck in the bile duct, requiring surgery.

I was in a constant state of “I can’t do this anymore,” but there was nothing major I could change for instant relief. It was a combination of circumstances: the aftermath of bad choices, my workload, and my competitive character.

Every part of me—body, mind, and soul—was desperate to stop the life-drenching feeling of having nothing left in me to give or take from. I was wasted, worn-out, and destroyed.

Even so, I just kept going, repeating to myself, “When you’re down and out, there’s always 20 percent of your strength left” (a quote from martial art trainer). And I kept using my remaining strength over and over again.

People talk about “hitting the wall.” I hit that wall about five years ago—full speed, head first.

Since then, I’ve been forcing forward through concrete, screws, electric wires, and bricks. Then it happened: I made it through that thick wall, only to realize that on the other side was nothing but a fathomless, evil black hole. I fell until I crash landed, and then there was nothing left of me.

On the 17th of February 2014, my body collapsed. I had my first full-blown panic attack, immediately followed by a second one.

At first, it felt like my spine muscle cramped. I tried stretching and rubbing against a door post, in vain. I couldn’t breathe properly.

My lungs started pumping frenetically, and I could do nothing to stop it. It felt like I was suffocating. I seriously thought that I was having a heart attack and would die. Eventually, I passed out.

I finally accepted the message my body had been trying to communicate to me for years—I needed to make monumental changes in my situation, then and there, or I would lose my sanity, at the least.

For the first four weeks of my sick leave, I did nothing but sleep. It was not by choice. I simply collapsed—on the sofa, my bed, and even on the floor. I just couldn’t stay awake.

After the sleep marathon came sadness. I felt so incredibly sad, alone, and abandoned. I felt betrayed by society and my employer.

When I didn’t feel any more sadness, I started my healing journey to peace and acceptance and began reading self-help books. Every day I made an effort to rescue myself.

Eventually, a shift took place. Step-by-step, I built myself a ladder, careful not to go back to the wall I’d fallen out of, and I started to see the light at the top of that horrid black hole.

You don’t need to push yourself to this point—not if you follow these steps to avoid an imminent burnout:

1. Accept your limits.

It is not admirable to push yourself when your body and mind beg you to stop.

2. Clarify major energy thieves and avoid them.

Limit your contact with people who drain you, make hurtful comments, and complain. Pay your bills on time. Clean your home so you feel calm there, not stressed and surrounded by chaos. Eat fresh food and spend less time distracting yourself with technology.

3. Value yourself first.

Fear of rejection is also self-rejection; stop worrying about others’ opinions.

4. Get support and perspective.

Trust someone close with your feelings and challenges.

5. Ask for help.

It actually feels quite wonderful to receive.

6. Make choices that are good for you and make you happier, healthier, and stronger.

Get enough sleep to keep cortisol (the stress hormone) levels down, and don’t skip breakfast!

7. Get twenty minutes of sun every day.

This gives your body the Vitamin D it needs to function properly, though you can also get it from a supplement.

8. Get low-impact exercise three times per week.

When we exercise, the brain releases the “happy hormone” endorphin.

9. Don’t push yourself too far for the sake of progress.

Strive to improve, but never push yourself if you feel it’s hurting you.

10. Never ignore your intuition.

Listen to your body and do all you can to be kind to yourself.

Obviously, burnout is not some fake thing lazy folks pretend to have so they can stay home from work.

It is a force that can knock you out completely, making it difficult to deal with the simplest of tasks, like taking a shower or cooking a meal; and almost impossible to handle normal things, like leaving your home, shopping for food, and answering phone calls.

I officially apologize for all my previously judgmental thoughts on this area.

You don’t get burned out because you’re too weak. You get burned out because you’ve tried to stay strong for way too long!

About Annica Törneryd

Annica C. Törneryd, founder of ACT2exceed, specializes in coaching for Women of Today. “We’ll work together to get you crystal clear on your dream situation and design a plan of action to support you in reaching your goal. You’ll get inspired to take immediate action!” Claim your free Strategic Life Direction Session now: ACT2exceed@gmail.com or visit facebook.com/act2exceed or ACT2exceed.com.

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  • Yue

    Great article Annica,
    Like you, I used think that burn out is just a myth for people who wants to avoid work until I hit mine in the begining of 2014 when my relationship broke down and things came to a halt at work. I remember thinking “how could this happen when I’ve worked hard all my life?” and that sense of betrayal was overwhelming. It took the rest of 2014 for me to heal but I can now recognise that it’s not my employer’s responsibility to look after my happiness and the things I’ve suffered was my own doing all along. It’s a tough truth to accept but it’s a leson that I had to learn to progress in my life. I’ll definately incorporate some of your tips in my daily life.

  • Annica Törneryd

    Thank you Yue! I’m glad you find some of my tips useful. Yes, it’s very
    true -we push ourselves through extreme things, only to “burn up”. So
    many of us try so hard to always do our best -even when it’s not
    expected of us. I think it’s a good thing to try ones’ best, but it
    should be for oneself!
    Always value yourself first! YOU are the only
    one you have to have a relationship with your whole life -make it a
    good one, invest in it and make choices that support you in feeling
    healthier, happier and stronger! Take care!

  • Ahhhhh I recognize a you!!! You are me and I am you! We have walked the same path along the road of brutifully important soul work! Thanks for sharing!

  • ohhhh Kristen, so nice to hear that there’s another me, or you. WE! Thanks for your comment!

  • Allison Rogers

    This exact thing happened to me after graduating college. I spent three straight years pushing myself beyond reason trying to achieve goals that were very unlikely. I berated myself endlessly if I made any tiny mistake and I closed myself off from deep contact with other people- even close friends and family. Once I graduated school and got my first full time job everything came crashing down. I couldn’t succeed in the work place because all that pressure I put on myself during school tripled- now I was being paid for the work I did for free in school. I was actually paralyzed, petrified to make any mistake lest be humiliated in front of new coworkers and fired.
    I made it six weeks into employment at that job before I had a complete meltdown. After having, literally, an eight hour non-stop panic attack I packed up my desk and retreated to my home. I was exhausted, I was lost, I felt like I wanted to die. I slept for two straight weeks and when I wasn’t sleeping I was utterly lost in my own despair.
    I ended up finding another job closer to home that fit my personality better (bonus) but it took almost a full year before I was feeling back to normal. It’s still a struggle sometimes but I think I have developed a greater sense of self love and compassion for myself now. I’m still learning coping methods and still meditating and stopping to listen to my body.
    Reading posts like this reminds me to slow down and enjoy instead of hustle, so thank you for this article it really hit close to home!

  • Melanie

    I hear you. I worked full time before entering law school. While I attended law school, I continued to work, but then I added a few internships into the mix. I was also in a relationship and maintaining an intense fitness routine. I never realized how thin I had spread myself. It all culminated after law school when I drove myself to the brink while studying for the bar exam. I spent literally every day of three months of study completely scared out of my wits, which only exponentially increased my stress levels. I failed, but it forced me to face the problem of the frenzied pace that had been my life for too many years. I learned to relax, slow down, balance, meditate, and manage my stress. I learned how brave I could be by picking myself up off the floor and making the changes that needed to be made to some of my most deeply-seated behaviors. I’ll be retaking the exam next month. But regardless of the outcome, I’ll be proud of what I learned about myself. And know this: not only does chronic stress hinder performance, it has also been found to be a strong factor in developing dementia later in life. Stop stressing!!!

  • Dear Melanie, thank you for commenting on my article. Oh my, you have put yourself under a lot of pressure, burning the candle from both ends. As you write, you’ve learned a lot along the journey -but it’s a shame one has to go through such rough times in order to learn how important it is to take good care of oneself. Not just always try to be exceptional. I wish you the best possible outcome of your exam and everything else -whatever that may be for you 🙂
    Take good care of yourself, be kind to YOU!

  • Dear Allison, thank you so much for sharing your story and for taking the time to comment on my article. It means alot to me! When I was in really bad shape and wondering if I’ll ever get back to normal again, I read a phrase in a book (Choose Yourself, by James Altucher) that did a great difference to me. It said something like this “pretend for a full day that YOU are your best friend”. High achievers oftentimes push themselves too hard, because they want to do their absolute best, in all areas. For me, friendship is one of the areas. When I imagined having someone JUST like ME, I actually felt pretty awesome! I would definitely want to be best friends with me! I’m quite certain that you are of the character that would make for a wonderful friend. Think of yourself like this! It helped me to feel much better, instantly! It also made me see that perhaps I’m important to my close one’s, which gave me some courage to approach the telephone and actually call someone close to my heart. I got stressed by the phone when I was ill, but thinking that the person on the other end would be happy to hear from me made it possible for me to restart communication. This in turn also helped me to ventilate and helped some more in getting back to “myself”. Take good care of yourself!!

  • Becky

    Thank you for this great article!! I recognise a lot of myself when reading it. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2010 a few months into my nursing degree. I fought a struggled until I was halfway through my final year until I just couldn’t keep going any longer. The long hours on the wards and hours studying were too much for my body to manage anymore. After 9 months on health inturruption I have had to accept the fact that I cannot manage a job as physically demanding as nursing now.

    It is inspiring that you have come out the other side and are doing so well.

    Becky xx

  • I choose me

    I suffered major panic attacks last year. Thankfully, I rediscovered kundalini yoga which helped to heal my nervous system.

  • Hello! I’ve been told for years to do yoga regularly. With your message, I shall mark the start of kundalini yoga tomorrow morning! Thanks for the last push!

  • Kay

    I need to print two copies–one for my desk and one for my bedside. I recognize some things about myself in what you’ve written. Thank you!!

  • Kim

    I can’t believe this landed in my inbox the day after having my first ever panic attack in the middle of the night. Like you I thought I was having a heart attack. Very scary. Thanks for your article I think I was meant to see that 🙂

  • Kim, PLEASE listen to your body carefully and make a change NOW!! Don’t let it get worse! Take action immediately to get into a much better state of mind. There’s obviously alot going on. I’m glad my article reached you and I hope you’ll take a serious break from everything starting NOW! Be nice to yourself 🙂

  • Annica
    We don’t need to put ourselves through all this pain yet we do. We work ourselves ragged at jobs which are a bad match for our passions and personality. There is another way. We need to know there are limits, as you say. We need to know what enough is.

    I’m taking a big timeout at the moment – doing real stuff (fixing the cabin roof) and having time to really think about what I need to do because it’s really important rather than out of some outdated work ethic idea.

  • Thank YOU Kay! That made me smile 🙂 -printing two copies! That’s good and I hope you’ll not only read my article but actually clarify some energy thieves to immediately save some energy and start making only good choices for yourself -drink more water! If you recognize yourself in my words – take a break! Get some rest, for real! Thank you for commenting, I appreciate it!

  • Incredibly useful and well-expressed article, thank you! A great reminder to slow down and listen to your instinct. We get so caught up in success and constant movement that we don’t allow our bodies to rest…I’ve become agitated and suspiciously anxious while driving, as well as become “saddened” when I think about looming projects…this article clearly show that it’s important to stop and breathe and access if what you’re doing right now is really the right thing. Thank you!

  • Chau, thank you for your kind feed-back! I’m very happy you found my article useful. I sincerely hope that you take the time to listen to your body, do necessary changes in order to feel better, NOW! Your health is the most important thing! Take care!

  • Dear Lindsay, thank you for your nice comment, and for sharing. I hope you’ve really learned how NOT to “take care” of yourself. In order for us to take good care of others, we must first take very good care of ourselves! If others are important to you, then YOU should be even more important to you. I remember the first time I heard on an airplane that “in case of emergency, put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then on infant or child travellling with you”. I got angry, thinking “how can they be so wrong and say that I should first put it on myself”!!! Then I realized. If I’m not strong enough to take care of myself, it will be impossible for me to help others. Make good choices for you and your health!
    It’s nice to hear that you started a motivational blog to help others -I’ll check it out 🙂
    Best wishes, Annica

  • Hello Peter, thank you for taking the time to comment on my post, it means alot to me! I like that you’re taking a timeout to come to terms with what you need to do in life to be happy. 15 months ago, I was in my office at my old job, an ordinary stressful day. I was in a cranky mood -simply because I was unhappy doing what I did. I felt I did nothing to improve the world, or even my own life. I was shuffeling papers, printing contracts, for an employer who would never involve anything on a personal level. All for the sake of a salary check. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I almost screamed “I can’t stand it” in my office -and that’s when I knew that I was getting to the end of “being employed”. I needed to start my life on MY terms. But, it took me another quarter to get there. I had to get myself some intense panic attacks to finally be able to listen to my body and make monumental changes. I’m glad to hear that you are taking a timeout to lay out a new gameplan -before a total collapse! Keep working on that roof. Being creative is great for the soul! Take care!

  • Reba Linker

    I love the article, and especially appreciate the tips on how to avoid burnout. It is so tempting to push push push and soooo important to learn to be compassionate with ourselves and go at a tempo and rhythm that really works for us as individuals. I love the work you are doing!

  • Jeevan/Mirthu/Gupt

    “Fear of rejection is also self-rejection…” Never really thought of it that way before, learned something new! Thank you for sharing your story…:)

  • Thank you VERY much for picking up on my revelation!! It was like a slap in the face when I realized that my extreme fear of rejection had the permanent side-effect to unintentionally also reject myself, as I NEVER prioritized me, my feelings or needs. This in turn helped a lot in keeping my low self-esteem very low… Love yourself! Try paying bills with the opinion of others’ – you’ll realize they’re worth NOTHING!

  • Dear Reba 🙂
    Thank you very much -your feedback means a lot to me!! Keep on knitting!

  • andrew

    i am not sure how i ended up reading this, but i guess it was meant to be. I am so relieved to finally accept that i am experiencing ‘burnout’. I have felt so guilty that i am exhausted mentally and physically, that life seems to be ebbing away and i just can’t seem to get back on the horse. i am intuitive and have known for a while that first things first i need to stand still for a bit, and i have actually begun to make similar changes to your suggestions. What is comforting is that your article confirms i am on track, that the humble pickings i have managed ‘pay bills on time, clean house, avoid energy thieves etc’ are slowly helping. I have had a real run of tiring stressful years but your article has really helped as i feel i hit the wall a few months back and now know that nothing external is going to fix this exhaustion, i am going to take a bit more care of this wounded bird and hopefully hit the blue sky sometime soon..thanks again.

  • Dear Andrew, your touching feed-back is very important to me! Thank you so much!! And I am really glad you somehow fell upon my article. I’m sorry to hear that you’re going though rough times, but I trust you will continue to make small steps every day in the right direction to heal inside. Burnout is AWFUL and you will only start getting better if you REALLY take good care of yourself and your needs/wishes. Don’t just take a bit more care -take really good care of yourself, always!

  • cherrykiss28

    Hi Annica, your article was very comforting. I am recovering from burnout and am due to return to work in 4 weeks time. I was guilty of pushing myself far too hard, and never being satisfied with the results. Since then, I now meditate regularly and keep a journal, asking myself how I’m feeling, and challenging any negative thoughts. It really seems to be working, and is also helping me to limit the time I spend with draining people, as I can recognise the drain on my energy much more clearly now. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for your article, and glad I’m not the only one! 🙂

  • Jeevan/Mirthu/Gupt

    Fear of rejection has been one of my biggest pet-peeves in life as well & in-fact the way you put it in context about it being SELF-REJECTION made me realize that’s what I continue to do with a number of things in my life still & more often than not (on a subconscious level in fact)… Ironically enough, its often the opposite with me in terms of dealing with situations… unlike how you cope with things by over-working yourself with stuff; I often end up feeling PARALYZED & just not trying at all (My mind often rationalize it by expecting things to somehow MAGICALLY fix themselves…:P) Btw; “Try paying bills with the opinion of others’ – you’ll realize they’re worth NOTHING!” I didn’t quite understand it?

  • Feeling paralyzed can also be a sort of procrastination, when you just sit around and wait… -for the right time to “start”, for the right amount of time to liberate itself so that you know you’ll have the time to finish your task (or it might as well just wait until a moment that is “better”=never), or as you say, for the task/project/thing to magically fix itself. But it never does!!
    The brutal truth is that the only thing that can get things done, is to snap out of paralysation, and DO something. Perhaps not the biggest projects, but something small that is of value to you and/or your health.
    When I say “try paying bills with the opinion of others – you’ll realize they’re worth nothing”, I mean that the opinion of others (a BIG part of fear of rejection, we fear the opinion of others, what they might think about us, if they will approve, will they like us etc) is worth nothing. If they were of any value, like cash value, I would use the opinion of others to pay my bills. The opinion of others is theirs’. Make sure you have your own opinion, based on your values! And let that lead you forward 🙂
    “The unhappiest people in this world are those who care the most about what other people think” -Lupytha Hermin

  • Thank you! I’m also glad you’re not the only one… and I’m sad that we’re not the only ones. Burnout can be prevented and I hope that more and more people start listening better to their bodies. Thank you for sharing! I hope that you’ll recover totally before going back to work. Make ONLY good choices for yourself! It sounds as if you’re doing everything right now 🙂

  • fatalie

    I stumbled on this article and had an epiphany about myself. A few years ago, I went crazy on my masters degree and did three studies, wrote a 400 page thesis, and was an author on about 30 presentations shown at national conferences. I was ran myself ragged in the hopes of getting into my preferred PhD program.
    I was thrilled when not only did I get into the program, but I received a full-ride fellowship with a stipend worth over 100k. Problem was that my hands and wrists had started having repetitive strain issues during my masters from excessive computing. Within two weeks of entering the PhD program my hand pain became much worse. I couldn’t sleep at night, my hands hurt while driving, my ring and pinkie fingers would just quite working altogether sometimes. Much to everyone’s surprise, six weeks into the program I withdrew. I blamed it all on my hands, but I think now after reading this article, that my hands were just the final straw… I think I burned out too.
    I was so tired and spread thin that I would only shave one leg in the shower. I lost all motivation and would just stare at the computer screen rather than get the things done that needed to get done. I wouldn’t let myself do anything fun, including workout, if there was work that needed to be done (and there always was). I quite speaking to anybody that I didn’t have to speak with… what was the point… I needed to be doing other things right?

  • Ohh… I’m at a loss for words. You really did push yourself extremely hard -and I’m sad to hear your story, because I know how it feels to give your all, and then some more. Always hoping to deliver top results, wanting to get “there”, to make it. One “problem” for people like you and me is that we always work really hard to get somewhere, to pull off something great and difficult, to get better, to get accepted, chosen or other. But by always pushing ourselves so extremely hard, we never listen to how we feel or what we need in the present. We just keep pushing. Until something crashes, burns or cause us so much pain we simply can’t go on.
    I sincerely hope that you will learn to stop, step back, get clear on what is best for you and then slowly take steps to get to a better place, step by step, day by day!
    Burnout is DEFINITELY a real thing!! So are you! Start over and do it right, be kind and loving to yourself!

  • Katie

    But how do I know if I’m burned out, or if I’m the lazy person? That’s the constant thought process – just keep going, otherwise you’re lazy. How much is too much? Is my too much the same as someone else’s? Why is it less? Why is it more? I’m really confused at this time. I don’t want to be lazy, I want to challenge myself, but I’m scared I won’t cope and will burnout.

  • Jo

    Your article prompted me to burst into tears immediately noting pretty much everything you described in the current swamp of feelings that I have daily. Perspective is vital but when you’re so far gone into being a hamster on a wheel it is very difficult to get off – thank you for such beautiful insight and for sharing your own very personal experience.

  • Dear Jo, I am so sorry to hear how you feel. And I truly hope you find the strength and tools to get off that wheel now and start over slow. If I were you, I’d take me up on my offer of a free session to get clarity on what you need and want to do to improve your situation now. Just email me at ACT2exceed@gmail.com -all the best, Annica

  • Hello Katie!!
    You just pulled up a bunch of awesome questions!!! Congratulations! I’ll share my thoughts on this, and I hope it will help you in some way.
    First of all, never compare yourself with others. You live YOUR life, and you feel your feelings. You are the only one who knows how you feel and where your limit is. This is independent of how much more or less people around you do.
    Being lazy is, in my opinion, a form of procrastination. I don’t know anyone who is a lazy person. However, I do know a whole bunch of people who procrastinate a lot. Why? Because they are all perfectionists and have “excuses” of why NOW is not the right time to start with a task or a project. It can be anything from; I know how it has to be done in a good way, and right now I don’t have enough time to follow through on this til the end, so I better not start now, or I need more tools to finish this task, and I don’t have them right now, so I better not start now, or I have so many things to do I don’t know where to start, and even if I start, I won’t be able to finish them all, so I might as well not start.

    Second, if you keep going all the time, you’re obviously not lazy!!
    Third, too much is when you have a constant thought process on pushing yourself -sounds like you’re on a fast track to burn out.
    Fourth, there will always be some who can do so much more than you, just as there will always be some who can’t even do a third of what you do -just stop comparing. We’re all different, and you need to focus on you, on your needs and your outcome.
    Be nice(r) to yourself! Trust your intuition. Mine says there’s a little too much internal pressure going on. We can fix that!!

    I’d be very happy to help you get rid of your confusion and get some true clarity on where you are and where you want and need to go, and how to!! I offer you a free coaching session -just email me at ACT2exceed@gmail.com if you want to go for it! All the best, Annica

  • Me

    Thank you for this! As I checked not bad of the listed things, I feel sad to admit I’m probably pushing myself too much and need to find a way to get out of the circle…

  • Don’t be sad, be happy that you are aware of the situation so that you can actively start taking small steps to improve it!! Start by being nicer to yourself, at least as nice as you are to your best friend! Make sure you know where you are heading, what is your goal, why are you pushing yourself? If you’re pushing it, at least make sure you do it for something you REALLY want, and not just because your boss is waiting for something! Good luck 🙂

  • Lynn

    Phew…why do we push so hard 🙁 The health sacrifices of this pushing are immense and often don’t show until things have been pushed too far for too long. Our poor adrenals get hammered whist we rain-down all this stress on ourselves…then they reach burn out! it’s so important to know your limits, but also to realise the impact you may well be having on body whilst you push through…our body will take a lot before it ‘breaks down’ by which time there may be a lot of damage to repair
    I wrote a little article on the adrenal side of things and some tips on how to take care of them/yourself. Enjoy…

    http://blog.naturalchemist.com.au/adrenal-fatigue-taking-care-of-your-bodys-shock-absorbers/

  • Steve

    Hi, I stumbled on to your amazing words of hope and perserverance. I have been working for 8 years straight with no vacation and no more than 1 day off, never consecutive. I have never used any of my vacation time. I am in the IT system administrator field, I am under constant stress and at times my back and neck are so tense, it feels that it is fused together. I have to idea how to end this misery as I do not make enough to go with out a job. Also in my younger days I took on to many debts. I want to just quit and hope for the best but obligations stop me from doing this. We are always shorthanded and in the beginning I pushed so hard to gain acceptance from my boss that I failed to listen to my body and health. I am lost and at times afraid that I am failing in life. Your words have encouraged me to make a drastic change and begin to look at for my health and happiness. Thank you.

  • Kevin M

    Holy Shit this is me, I’ve been exhausted since 2014, I’ve just been pushing myself, for fucking years dude, I’m fucking tired,

  • Wendy Jone

    This article describes me. I’ve actually had an episode of amnesia. But what if your doctor instead tries to give you a sleeping pill? (Yes, he knows about the episode.) I was hoping for a doctor’s excuse for a leave of absence. I’m doing everything I can with diet, exercise, sleep, leaving early when I can, etc. But our database manager left and I took over. Our systems manager left and I took over, and now I’m in the middle of complex upgrades. And EVERYBODY in this company is in the same boat since a “lean/mean” overseas owner took over years ago. No one has time anymore to respond even to simple queries/issues. I can’t get the software we need purchased to finish the upgrades. The entire company is firefighting with too few people. I need time to decompress. I need a different job but stagger home each day too mind-blown to even think about it–although I’ve tried. I have the Linked In profile and am trying to brush up on some skills and do some networking, but I’m exhausted. After 16 years I have four weeks vacation but at least two are reserved for family activities later this year–and frankly, I don’t want to use up my vacation in February in Wisconsin. And I don’t think two weeks will do it.

    So how to get medical backing for a leave of absence? Should I come right out and ask a doctor for it?

  • Ella

    I googled, “I am officially burnt out” and this article appeared. I would seek medical help and find a doctor who will prescribe medical leave. The demands of life have exploded into the unsustainable. I’m a mother of three who has been traveling and working long hours since 2011 (I realized this evening). I wish I could get these years back. This crazy life isn’t worth it. I just want to stop and be with my kids. Get medical leave if you can. Regroup. Re prioritize. Good luck!

  • Wendy Jone

    Sounds like we’ve both hit the point of realization. I just met with a counselor today who echoed what you’ve said, Ella. I need to TELL the doctor that my current situation is “unsustainable” and that I need leave. Not ASK. “This crazy life isn’t worth it.” Indeed. Good luck to you also.

  • Taylor Whiteside

    What has worked for me is to change my goals: instead of big goals I pick easy goals. Example: I am a competitive runner. So instead of creating a strict workout schedule my only goal is to run 10 mins 5-6 times a week. Works amazingly well 😉

  • m0tiv8

    I read a lot of articles, like 25 to 30 a day! I love to hear people stories about similar things I’m going through.

    I used to be a Marine, I deployed multiple times sometimes back to back. I used to work 12 hours a day to compete for promotion within the ranks.

    My inner critic is still telling me I’m not man enough for sticking it out for 20 years. Well at the rate i was going I don’t think superman could have done it.

    The people who made it 20 years found a way to relax and coast through it.