the library of alexandra


My Cycle of Burnout

whenever i begin taking on and doing too much, my body begins to give me signs that burnout is coming. my burnout stages go like this:

  1. feel exhausted way more than usual
  2. social activity drains you much faster than you expect
  3. vent to your friends about your work and the things that irk you about your personal hobbies
  4. feel hopeless about the outcomes of all your projects
  5. feel demotivated to do anything at all
  6. disengage with your favorite things to do
  7. sleep
  8. sleep, and get sad about it
  9. sleep
  10. see inspiration in the little things once more
  11. crave working on projects again

lately, i've been focusing so much on trying to balance my personal projects and work that i haven't really been practicing the self-care i need in order to actually wind down, give my brain a break, and emotionally reset from everything going on. i'm so grateful to have such a wonderful support system i can lean on during times like this. it's usually so clear to me that these burnout cycles also tie into my health, especially as i have a nebulous autoimmune disease. but i somehow keep initiating cycles of riding high when i feel good, somehow convincing myself that maybe i don't have an autoimmune disease, maybe i just didn't feel good then — but that never turns out to be the case.

there's a correlation of chronic stress and disease, and this is something i end up thinking about a lot. it's one of the reasons why i no longer seek out the fast-paced, high-stress corporate jobs of my 20s. i have no desire to kill my body faster to make someone else rich. no thank you.

it is so, so important to take care of yourself. even when it comes to your hobbies and things you do for fun. take downtime, always. take breaks, always. hyperfixating can be helpful as a superpower to focus, but when it's taken too far, you can crash and burn without any desire to continue. and that's a worse outcome than slowly working on it over time. the only timetable you're on is yours; you do not have to compare yourself or your pace to others'.

this is a reminder to myself, but maybe you might need to see someone else say it too.