You feel like you’ve been working at breakneck speed for years, and you see no end in sight. You can’t afford to take a break, but you’re exhausted. It feels like every day is a new marathon, but your legs refuse to move. Being burnt out is common and stressful. How do we prevent it? And if it happens, how do we overcome it?
Listen to this episode of The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast!
Read the episode's transcript here:
Have you ever experienced burnout before? Do you have a case or a topic that you’d like us to talk about? Reach out! Please email us:
[00:00:05] Kim Ades:
Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching™ and the Co-founder of The Journal That Talks Back™. You have just joined The Frame of Mind Po– Coaching Podcast, or the Poking Coachast.
[00:00:17] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:00:18] Kim Ades:
[Laughs] But you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast, and today is Fridays with Ferne. I have Ferne here today as my guest, and she's my daughter, for those of you who don't know. Ferne, welcome.
[00:00:32] Ferne Kotlyar:
Hello, hello! I gotta say, before we start, I really like your glasses.
[00:00:36] Kim Ades:
Oh, thanks. I got them from a very special store.
[00:00:39] Ferne Kotlyar:
Oh, I think I know the one.
[00:00:40] Kim Ades:
Yeah, you probably do.
[00:00:41] Ferne Kotlyar:
[Chuckles] Love it.
[00:00:45] Kim Ades:
[Chuckles] What are we talking about today? Oh, for those of you who really wanna know where I got my glasses from: [Whispers] Dollarama.
[00:00:54] Ferne Kotlyar:
[Whispers] You're supposed to whisper into the microphone.
[00:00:57] Kim Ades:
[Normal voice] Did you not hear?
[00:00:59] Ferne Kotlyar:
[Whispers] Not into the screen.
[00:01:01] Kim Ades:
[00:01:04] Ferne Kotlyar:
[Laughs] Nice try. Anyway, we're gonna be talking about the feeling of being burnt out. So, I know that that's a pretty common feeling. I'm in academia and it's, sadly, probably more prominent than it should be.
That feeling of working super hard for an extremely long period of time, at least what it feels like, and then feeling like you cannot work any longer, you are so done, you can't put in any more effort because you are at that point, what we would call burnt out. How do you deal with that feeling? How do you move on from it? How do you keep going?
[00:01:46] Kim Ades:
So for me, there are two questions. Number one is, how do you prevent burnout? And then the question, the next question is, when you have burnout, what do you do? So let's talk about prevention, for starters. So there's a concept that I invented, and I talk about this often in my presentations, and I notice that a lot of our clients experience this problem, it's called slippage.
And what is slippage? Slippage is when you let very important things slip through the cracks. Could be your eating, your sleep, your exercise, your health, your nutrition, your fun, your downtime, your fresh air, your sun, all of that. Right? So we let these very important things, that are crucial to our wellbeing, slip between the cracks, because we believe that we have a priority, we have an urgency, we have something else we need to take care of.
And so people who are burnt out have a high, high degree of slippage, they tend to get onto this track where they have this priority, this deadline, this urgency that they are focused on and they let all this other stuff fall behind and pay no attention to these things.
So in order for us to really maximize our productivity, like, we look at Presidents of the United States, Presidents, Prime Ministers in Canada, and what we see is it's part of their regular routine, that they are taking care of their health, their physical and mental wellbeing. We see them jogging in the streets, we see them on treadmills, we see them taking care of their physical health, and that really helps us to prevent burnout.
In addition to that, we wanna see people taking some time to address their emotional state. When your emotional state is at a higher level, our ability to handle more adversity, more conflict, more difficulty, more problems to solve, is substantially higher. So we wanna make sure that we're taking care of our emotional and physical state.
We wanna exercise, we want to eat well, we wanna drink fluids, all of that kind of stuff, but we also wanna make sure we're mentally in a good space. That means we might journal, that means we might have a coach that we work with, that means we might meditate, do some yoga, means we might wanna read some books that help us feel up.
For me, one of the things that really helps, in addition to journaling, is I like putting on music and I like dancing in the kitchen, that just elevates my spirits, makes me feel much, much better. And so it's really important for us to take care of these things while we are doing the important work of our PhDs or the job of running a country, whatever it is.
[00:04:27] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:04:28] Kim Ades:
And so, think about it as part of your job. Don't think about it as a perk, don't think about it as an extra, don't think about it as something that you get to, if you have time for it. No, it's something that must be in your schedule and it must be there before all else.
[00:04:46] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:04:47] Kim Ades:
So that's one way to look at burnout. And I know that people think it's "oh, only for the privileged", but it absolutely isn't, it's crucial to phenomenal performance.
[00:05:00] Ferne Kotlyar:
And if you have a sprint or one big task to complete, can you drop your important things for that? Or...
[00:05:09] Kim Ades:
It depends for how long. Depends for how long. So if you have a sprint, if you have an important task you need to complete and you need to just put your head down, you can do it, but for how long. And so, you wanna make sure that you're not doing anything, you're not skipping more than a day. You can skip a day, but you can't skip two days, three days, four days a week. That's how burnout happens.
[00:05:33] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:05:35] Kim Ades:
[00:05:35] Ferne Kotlyar:
So, let's say burnout does happen. You know, you had all this slippage, you missed your exercise, you didn't eat well, you didn't sleep well, you really pushed, you know, it's exam season and you did a lot of exams or a lot of grading for exams, if you're the teacher, how do you move on from that burnout? How do you replenish yourself?
[00:05:55] Kim Ades:
I think part of the problem is that a lot of people feel a sense of guilt, and so they don't give themselves the time they need, they don't take the adequate breaks. You're burnt out, so crash. Literally, go take a nap!
Go have lunch, go make yourself a cup of herbal tea, go for a walk, go get some fresh air, go get some vitamin D, go see a movie. Change your physical environment and your mental environment too. Take a break.
Right? So take the time to replenish. When you're burnt out, literally carve out some time in your life to say "I'm not working on this".
[00:06:44] Ferne Kotlyar:
How do you know when you've taken enough time?
[00:06:48] Kim Ades:
When you feel better, when you feel more cheerful, when you feel more optimistic, when you feel calmer.
[00:06:56] Ferne Kotlyar:
And if you don't?
[00:06:57] Kim Ades:
Take a little more time.
[00:07:01] Ferne Kotlyar:
And I guess at what point do you think "time will fix things" versus it's just like, not–
[00:07:07] Kim Ades:
It's not just time, it's what you do with that time that matters. So if you take the time and you use that time to just feel bad and lousy and complain and lock yourself up in a room and drink a bunch of wine, that's probably not gonna get you to where you want to go. But if you take that time and do things that replenish your soul and your spirit, then it's time used wisely. Right? So what are you doing with your time when you're burnt out to replenish?
I know that we talk about this periodically, but I had a presentation yesterday and right before the presentation, I wanted to get myself in a good mood, so that I had a lot of energy for it. And what did I do? I quickly scanned through TikTok. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I found this one TikTok that was hilarious.
[00:08:01] Ferne Kotlyar:
[Chuckles] Of course you did.
[00:08:02] Kim Ades:
Right? Just made me laugh, and then boom! I went into my presentation. People would say, "well, don't you need to prepare? Don't you need to just get serious for a minute? No, it's the opposite of that. You know, when we are burnt out, we need time for not serious. We need time for play. Right? And we're not playing enough.
[00:08:23] Ferne Kotlyar:
And so, if you were a company owner and you find that a lot of your people get burnt out, how do you incorporate play into that atmosphere?
[00:08:33] Kim Ades:
Literally by showing up and being light and funny and joking and giving people an opportunity to take some time off, and giving people ideas about how to play by sending them jokes, by giving them two tickets to a movie, whatever it is. Go and just take a break, go get a facial.
[00:09:02] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah, that's nice sometimes.
[00:09:04] Kim Ades:
It is nice. And here's the thing. We live this life and people think that the purpose of their lives is to accomplish all this stuff. Okay, accomplishment is nice, I'm not telling you not to accomplish things, but why do we wanna accomplish all this stuff? 'Cause we think it's gonna help us feel good.
[00:09:22] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah. Well, I think it's also quite a North American way of thinking, to accomplish things. A lot of other countries don't think that way.
[00:09:30] Kim Ades:
Right, but if we wanna accomplish things because it's gonna make us feel good, what would happen if we just said, "Hey, I'm gonna make it my mission to feel good"? What if we worked on that a little more than we are? And what if we use less reasons in the world to feel burnt out?
[00:09:52] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah, would be nice to feel good more often.
[00:09:55] Kim Ades:
Yeah. It's interesting, right? Burnout does happen, I see it all the time, especially with our executive level clients. It happens.
[00:10:05] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:10:06] Kim Ades:
And what I notice more than anything is it happens because these people don't give themselves the opportunity to take a break. They don't give themselves the opportunity to breathe, to take a nap, to just play a little, and it's because they don't believe that that's the right thing to do. They have a belief that they have these responsibilities and those responsibilities are to take care of all the things and all the people.
[00:10:33] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:10:33] Kim Ades:
But I will say, this is a classic case of "you gotta put the mask on first", and if you're not taking care of yourself, you're in no position to be running a company, you're in no position to be taking care of others.
So when you think about all these things that seem frivolous, like playing, like watching a TikTok video, or like going to see a movie or getting a facial or going outside for some fresh air, they are not frivolous. They are so crucial to your wellbeing and they are crucial to your performance. Consider them part of the job description. And that's really what I think.
[00:11:12] Ferne Kotlyar:
I think that makes sense. I think every person has their thing that they need. So for example, I need to get exercise and maybe that's more common than I think, but it changes the way I see things, it changes my attitude completely.
[00:11:27] Kim Ades:
Exactly. So take care of yourself, and then go take care of the world, then go slay all your dragons, then go conquer the world and achieve all your massive goals, but take care of yourself first.
[00:11:41] Ferne Kotlyar:
Absolutely. I think that's really important.
[00:11:44] Kim Ades:
That was good! Thank you for asking that question. Short but good episode today.
[00:11:51] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:11:51] Kim Ades:
For those of you who are listening, if you feel burnt out, what are you doing to play? What are you doing to take a break? Are you getting enough exercise, sleep, water, sunlight? Think about it. Give yourself a little bit of a break.
Thank you for tuning in. We love to hear from you. Please let us know what you wanna hear about my email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com. Ferne, how do people reach you?
[00:12:19] Ferne Kotlyar:
My email address is Fernekotlyar@live.com.
[00:12:24] Kim Ades:
Amazing. We will see you all next week. In the meantime, please like, please share, and have a beautiful, wonderful, sunny, playful week.
[00:12:34] Ferne Kotlyar:
Have a great day. Bye!
[00:12:36] Kim Ades: