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More than ever, people are pushing themselves harder to move up the corporate ladder or take their business to new levels. While doing so, many of us often overlook clear signs of stress, anxiety and burnout, erroneously characterizing them as metrics of success. 

While seeking success is often accompanied by more responsibility and an increased commitment of time and energy, some of us are prone to pushing ourselves far beyond our limits. Women & BIPOC employees oftentimes fall victim to this because of the taught and practiced notion that they need to work twice as hard as their white cisgendered male counterparts. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to remote work, it is more important than ever to identify when you might be approaching your limits. Some clear identifiers of burnout include:

Exhaustion

If a constant feeling of fatigue starts to creep into your daily life, you might be suffering from exhaustion. Sometimes, no amount of sleeping in or naps can help with this. We often associate exhaustion with a lack of sleep, however high levels of mental and physical strain can lead to the same feeling.  While I’m a huge fan of home remedies, the typical West Indian solution of “Drink some tea” likely won’t help with this type of exhaustion. When there are opportunities for some downtime, it might be best to take them (even if it is an hour in the morning before work to actually drink some tea). Setting clear boundaries between work and home also helps to ensure both sides of our lives are respected.

Reclusion

When we feel overwhelmed it can also lead to us feeling like there is a lack of support from our friends, family or colleagues. This can sometimes result in us isolating ourselves from those closest to us. Whether it is socially or professionally, we need to find comfort in not only sharing our struggles with our peers but asking for help when needed. Even the most independent people need help at some point. Whether at work or at home, building a trusted circle of dependable, understanding people can go a long way to feeling supported during tough times. They may also be depending on you for the same, so a trusted circle of support is critical for everybody.

Irritability

We’ve all been there. That day where most things have gone as wrong as they possibly could and the wrong person hits the wrong nerve at the wrong time. If this has become a daily occurrence, it could be that you keep very annoying company but it is more likely that your patience is as burnt out as you are. It may be time for a day off or an extended vacation to allow those nerves to reset. The fear many people have of taking time off, is a feeling that their work or business will fail without them at the helm. While it is important to to take pride in our work, we might lose patience with a customer or or colleague, which could have much more severe consequences than taking time to recharge.

Exhaustion, Reclusion and Irritability are 3 of the many indicators that you may be burning out. This post is very personal for me because I have actually felt the same way for several months. Burnout can also take you away from the things you are most passionate about. Whether it’s a hobby, family time or self-care, we can lose touch with the things most important to us. For me, it has been Black on Track.

From one workhorse to another; I encourage you to take the time to recharge and rebalance. It will help create sustainable success and for us to remain our best selves for those around us. The work will be there when you get back and probably several days beyond that (let’s be real). Reclaim your time, energy and a bit of your sanity to ensure you are around long enough to enjoy what you work so hard to for.