Dr. Kathy Obear

You’re Passionate About Leading Change. But Are You Close To Burnout?

– Posted in: Self-Care, Social Justice
Signs of burnout | Symptoms of burnout| Activist (or change agent) burn out

How Can Creating Meaningful Social Change Cause Burnout?

Burned out from passion?

Sounds like an oxymoron.  How can you suffer burnout from something you are so committed to doing?

Easy.

When you’re passionate about something, when you put your heart and soul into it… You live it. Your cause matters. You put so much energy into your work and changing injustice that you forget all about your own self-care.

And then – it hits you all at once (but if you were being mindful, you’d notice little signs of burnout creeping in). You feel DEPLETED.  You’ve neglected your HEALTH.  Your relationships are suffering. You don’t think you can continue on with your usual zest in energy for much longer.

Take heart. You can overcome burnout.  You can overcome passion fatigue with smart strategies NOW. How? Start by learning how much .

Why Do I Feel This Way? Where Has My Energy Gone?

Burnout seems to be a catch-all phrase for anything that leaves us feeling drained. But it’s really a very specific set of symptoms that strikes those of us who are so committed to helping others.

The term “burnout” actually evolved in the 70s. Psychologist Herbert Freudenberger came up with the term to describe the severe stress that occurred in “helping” professions – like doctors and nurses -people who tirelessly give of themselves to others.

That’s us. Change agents and activists. We’re on the front lines, working incessantly for social justice and greater inclusion in our organizations, our communities, and our world.

We can’t and won’t sit back, and we insist on taking a stand when people we cherish are excluded or even harmed.

But to keep on going, we can’t neglect ourselves, either. You cannot EVER neglect self-care. You cannot give from an empty cup – you’re not able to help anyone else if you can’t first help yourself.

Learn my best tips, tools, and secret strategies for staying on top of your game (while maintaining your effectiveness as a bad-ass change agent) with a free copy of my new book, In It for the LONG HAUL: Overcoming Burnout and Passion Fatigue as Social Justice Change Agents. Download it here.

The Burnout Checklist for Change Agents

Are you close to burnout? Avoid burnout | checklist for activists, Because change agents are tough, tireless and tenacious, we may minimize the symptoms of burnout in ourselves. We’ll call it by another name, we’ll say we had a rough day, we may even feel guilty about feeling tired or depleted.

When it comes to self-care, make no excuses and accept no alternatives.  You matter.

Read over the following 10 questions I’ve pulled from my Checklist for Change Agents.  If you can say that you often or most always feel that way, then download a free copy of my new book, In It for the LONG HAUL: Overcoming Burnout and Passion Fatigue as Social Justice Change Agents.

  1. I feel tired and stressed out all the time.
  2. I feel overwhelmed.
  3. I drop what I am doing to handle the next crisis that occurs.
  4. I interrupt time spent with friends, family, and/or my partner to respond to work demands.
  5. I do not get to participate in important family events due to work.
  6. I wake up in the middle of the night and obsess about all I have to do.
  7. I feel hopeless and helpless.
  8. I feel less joy, enthusiasm, and happiness in my life.
  9. I over-react and can’t moderate my emotions.
  10. I use alcohol and/or drugs to relieve my stress.

These aren’t the only signs that you’re close to burnout. Get access to my full checklist – completely free – right here.

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