Burnout; let's talk about it.

Preface

Originally when planning this article, I wanted to include some of the findings I had come across when reviewing different articles and websites regarding the different types of burnout and how to manage, minimise and recover from them. However, this quickly turned into more of a reflective piece of my headspace over the year; specifically about overworking and the lead up to the inevitable burnout.

I plan to write a follow up article soon that discusses the aforementioned topics, as it deserves it own space. For now, I hope you get something out of my ramblings! ❤️


This year's first steps

This year has been the wildest, most productive, most humbling year of my life to date. A single idea has lit the way for the creation of some of what I think are the most ambition, long-needed and impactful initiatives Australia has seen in a while; at very least from such a young group of people.

It all started with roughly 400 lines of PHP code, meant to reach (hopefully) 100; with the goal in mind that if I could just help one person, then it would be successful. That idea was quickly thrown out the window as I was hurled into supporting, developing and doing media for one of the top 3 emergency accommodation platforms during the worst bushfire season Australia has ever seen. Thankfully, I had my parents, Rob and Chris, and my beautiful fiancé Tahlia to help me manage all of this.

Now - as incredible as all of this was, it has no easy feat. To do all of this, and work my part time job as a software engineer, I was working through lunch breaks, going home to continue working well into the morning, waking up early... you get the picture. It got to the point that I started to feel more and more like, I was a machine. In some respects, it was handy. I was able to do more than I ever thought I could possible. Driven by the stereotypical combination for social entrepreneurs of caffeine and passion, I felt like nothing could stop me.

Recognising my burnout

Fast forward a few months, and although HelpingHomes, the first initiative to start this saga, had slowed down, I in no way hadn't. More initiatives, ideas, people on board, meetings, partnership opportunities had lead me to continue my crusade against sleep and time off.

I thought I was on top of the world. I had proven, mostly to myself, that this kind of behaviour was possible. Little did I realise how horribly it can all catch up to you.

For the first time in my life, I truly understood what burnout feels like.

The (better) road ahead

Coming into 2021, the management team of the HelpingGroup, a social innovation startup that now boasts more than 30 incredible members, have come together to discuss what we will focus on moving forward. 2020 was the year of growth, of ideas, people and partnerships - and while that most likely won't slow down, for 2021 we have dedicated ourselves to the maturing of the organisation.

We will be looking inwards, making sure we are creating measurable, large scale impact in communities that need us, ensuring that our leadership team are enabling our incredible volunteers professional development opportunities, investing time into our internship programs. However, I strongly believe that this culture needs to start within us; and I feel it my duty to take the first step.

Burnout has been my Achilles Heel this year, due to my blind commitment intentional disregard for personal time management in order to achieve these goals. However, in the spirit of maturing, I have identified some of my key areas I plan on achieving come 2021.

  • Intentional time management goals between my commitments,
  • Bettering my personal mental health awareness, and
  • Spending time with those close to me, outside of the work environment.

My goal is that these combined will give me space to ensure that I can enjoy life beyond the walls of HelpingGroup, take more frequent advantage of the privileges that I am afforded in life - reading, writing and learning, and spending more quality time with friends and family; especially my beautiful fiancé.