Burnout. I didn’t even really know what that word meant. I mean, I get the concept, but I had no idea how it actually felt to be burned out until found myself healing from it.
I used words to describe myself like, type A, business woman, overachiever, workaholic. I thought I handled stress beautifully. I thought it was some chip in me that kept driving my career for more. I was always adding to my portfolio and rarely taking anything off. I had the mindset that if I planned better or got more help, I could somehow get it it all done. What I learned is this is NOT the case. The to-do list never got shorter. I never felt that ease of life I so desperately wanted. I was in burnout and I didn’t even know it. I thought this was my career and I was handling it all. WRONG! I was burned out and it took me to lose it all to realize losing it was exactly what I needed.
I loved the pressure and the “I can do it” mentality. I thought I was expanding my brand and thriving under pressure. In full transparency, I had many moments of exhaustion.
You know those friends you have and I know you wonder “how do they do it all?” Well, on the inside they are probably suffering from burnout. They probably don’t even know it yet. I didn’t. I thought I was superwoman. Retail store owner, vendor mall owner, interior designer, single mom, podcaster, blogger, serial entrepreneur I knew I wanted to get involved in more fulfilling nonprofit work, but I definitely didn’t have the time. So what did I do, I opened another retail store! I loved the pressure and the “I can do it” mentality. I thought I was expanding my brand and thriving under pressure. In full transparency, I had many moments of exhaustion. I had private chats with my sweetie where I would say “I feel like a hamster on a wheel and I want off!” And yet, I would pack the next day full of commitments. And the next day, and the next day. Deep down I knew there must be something I could do, if I could only work hard enough and get something off my plate.
My new retail location. An 1800's house in Watkinsville, GA.
What I Needed Most
What I needed was TIME. What I needed the most was what I had the least of. Time to focus on my kids. Time to be a better partner. Time to travel more. Time to clean the house and cook healthy meals. These were all the things I longed for, but never had time to do. Yes, I spent time with the kids, but it always felt rushed and unfocused. If we were traveling, I would bring a box of work to accomplish in the car. My laptop has traveled all over the world. I flew to Switzerland and while the plane was dark and quiet at 3:00 am I was sitting on my laptop handing the 1,000 things I needed to do for my businesses so I could feel better about being away.
What I had the least of and needed the most. Time.
The Christmas season (as many of you know) in retail is the busiest time of the year. I had 3 stores up and running and felt like I couldn't keep my head above water. I was coming home at night completely exhausted and still needed to do “mom” things for my family. Move the elves, buy presents, get donations to the class holiday parties, teacher gifts, visit Santa, wrap presents, and prepare holiday food. I LOVE holiday parties and I bailed on every single one. EVERY.SINGLE.ONE. I usually bailed the day of because I was too tired to get dressed or didn’t feel like going out. I neglected to get out my Christmas cards (which my handmade cards are always a highlight of the season). No cards. No cookies, decorations out late, I was missing all of it. I had added so much work to my hamster wheel I couldn’t even see straight. I was doing all these tasks and feeling like I wasn’t doing any of them well.
I didn't even know I was suffering from burnout. I didn't have that verbiage for myself. I knew I was upset and exhausted, but I didn't know what real burnout was. Well, what came next showed me burnout is VERY real. Not only was I suffering from burnout, the next year of my life would be a complete transformation to heal. I had no idea what was in store, but I desperately needed it.
Writing with love and intention,
Listen to the corelating podcasts below...
Podcast - My Battle with Stress
Podcast - Season 3, Episode 1: Healing from Business Burnout