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That’s What Burnout Felt Like

Written By: Lauren Howard

Someone shoved a PVC pipe down my middle.

Through it, all of the color, light, optimism, and energy in my body was sucked out—like my insides were being pulled down to the earth’s core through a wind tunnel.

That’s what burnout felt like.

No matter how flat I was lying, I was being pulled down further.

I couldn’t get up from the couch.

When I did, it was to go right back to bed somewhere else.

I couldn’t focus on one thing.

My body wanted more sleep than I ever thought I was capable of getting.

My hair felt tired. My brain felt like the connections that send thoughts from one place to another were ALL offline.

I went to a doctor who asked the last time that I had taken a day off. When I said a few weeks prior, she said, “Did you think about work the whole time? Did you check your email? Did you plan your next work day?”

I didn’t have to answer.

“That wasn’t a day off.”

She was right.

My job was a lot, but I was the problem.

All of that sounds scary, but it wasn’t the worst part, and why I whole-heartedly caution you to take this seriously.

I was fine until I just wasn’t. Those feelings hit me like a freight train. I went from functioning to not in a matter of hours.

No real warning that I was about to go offline for weeks.

Was I great before? No. I was tired, overworked, emotional, and edgy. But I was getting through, and I thought I could handle it. That level of stress and overwork were my norm. There was no sign that this was worse than any other time that I had overdone it.

It slammed into me, and I couldn’t do anything else.

Burnout is real. It’s serious. It’s overwhelming.

You are not above it and you can’t outrun it.

Take care of yourself.



Founder & CEO at elletwo


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