Let's chat about burnout culture. Trending phrase or serious issue?
I think things like “self-care” and “burnout Culture” and “boss babe” naturally trend in pop culture. We are always looking for change and ways to be better and that comes from shying away from what we are doing now that is seemingly not working.
Burnout is caused by an excessive amount of stress, physically and mentally. When we put ourselves in this state for a long period of time we feel drained and like we can’t keep up with life. I agree that burnout is a very negative, very real thing. That is without question. But I find it fascinating that topics of hard work and productivity vs. self-care and mindfulness seem to trend on and off.
Let’s stop and think for a minute, things like “boss babe” and hustle culture were a big thing like 6 months ago, and now mindfulness and taking care of yourself are a hot topic. Do you feel like you were burnt out 6-8 months ago and now you're calm and more in control? Personally, no. I am not working or hustling more or less than I was then. (I will say that I am in a better place mentally but I credit that to life changes, not just saying F U to hustle culture.) Yet, everyone’s long hot take Instagram captions shifted into this “new” topic. I’d like to argue that this self care trend was a huge thing just a couple of years ago, it is nothing new at all. Just part of that ebb and flow. But, are we being more realistic about it this time? Hard to say.
Personally, I think being an entrepreneur is just as difficult and just as likely to lead to burnout now as it ever did. Are we telling ourselves we’re more cool, calm and collected because that's what we’re supposed to do? Does it have to do with the seasons changing as we head into fall in winter? I don’t know.
(Yes, I am writing a newsletter about something I might have more questions about than I do answers.)
Maybe we do value Instagram less and have more healthy habits. It wouldn’t be a wild idea that we are actually cutting ourselves a little slack after a period of stress & unrealistic expectations. I think that even if this is mostly a trend, or an opportunity to change the subject, it exists because it is what a LOT of us need right now. So, it’s still valid. Even if it can sometimes feel like a bunch of fluff.
Self care is not about face masks, working out, and drinking green tea. That alone will not make a person feel whole. But it is, or at least should be, about habits and routines that support our well-being first. Are we eating what makes us feel good physically and mentally, are we aware of what brings us joy vs. what causes anxiety, and if so, do we try to make adjustments in our life for the sake of joy? Do we indulge in hobbies that are not connected to our income? Do we grant ourselves the opportunity to be proud of ourselves without worrying about how the grass could be greener?
I hope you are happy. I hope you haven’t been working more than you’re living, and I hope that by the spring, you don’t find yourself knee deep back in hustle-culture bullsh*t.