“I'm tired. … Mind, this is usually never meant in a physical sense; it is almost always in a mental or emotional sense that I use it.” 

Meet my new friend, and now, delightful guest blogger, Jay Dunn. She is honoring us by sharing her quirky, thoughtful. personal responses, chapter by chapter, to Save Yourself from Burnout: A System to Get Your Life Back.  I've found myself alternately tearing up and laughing as I read, and often find myself thinking about her takes for a long time. 

Let's let Jay get right into it:

Dedication and Chapter One: “I'm Tired”

by Jay Dunn, guest blogger

I read over the reviews to get insight as to what some others had to say about it, and I felt rather positive about how this book could assist me become a better me.

Dedicated to those too tired to remember the value they bring to this world.

This stood out to me so much, because there is something I constantly say whenever I feel like the world is weighing on my shoulders: “I'm tired.”

Mind, this is usually never meant in a physical sense; it is almost always in a mental or emotional sense that I use it. As of late it's been said way more than I care to admit. Hence why this dedication actually stood out to me and actually made me stop, put down the book, and take a moment. Admittedly, with all the old emotions that it dredged up, I needed a moment to compose myself and actually start reading without tears stinging my eyes and without painful memories affecting my focus.

“I was very secretive about how I felt”

Jay Dunn's drawn self-portrait

Chapter one started off pretty strong and made me sit down and think for a moment about what I had just read. It starts off by talking about how the topic of burnout is seldom spoken about, and seems to be an ‘invisible injury' that people sometimes do not recognize, and thus, do not take the necessary steps to heal.

The talk about how burnout was seen by teachers in school made me think about how much it would be healthy to have the discussions of burnout in class, and actually have something — a workshop, or support group — within schools that assisted with these types of things. The more I thought about it, the more I thought about my time in public schools. I’ve been to a total of seven different schools from kindergarten till seventh grade before I was homeschooled.

I thought about the one counselor assigned to a school that would be there to talk to kids for anything… and the more I thought about that, the more I thought to myself, “That really isn't enough, and that really is kind of isolating. Not to mention that there seems to be a kind of stigma that if you're making frequent trips to the counselor, then perhaps there's something wrong with you…. That's not something a lot of people are comfortable thinking about themselves.”

This lack of support often leaves many dedicated, hardworking people who feel burned out wondering, “Am I depressed? Am I a wimp? What is wrong with me?

That resonated with me. I have often asked myself that last question after coming to terms with the fact that, yes, I am depressed and I am burned out. And… the part about the lack of support really concerns me. When I attended school, I was very secretive about how I felt. I never really wanted to talk to the counselor myself, and I had negative opinions about speaking with the state-assigned therapist when my parents were divorced.

Emotions, I have come to learn, are a difficult thing for some people to process… especially if they are of the negative variety. However, there seems to be nothing — at least in US schools that I know of — that really allows students the comfort to talk about things that may be related to burnout and depression without making someone feel isolated and alone.

Personally, I find it ironic. There are many times where people say ‘you are not alone’, but when you’re in a room with just two people, the question seems to be something that makes one ask: “in what sense?” Because, sure, you are not alone in that room, but you still feel alone in your emotions. I don’t want to just hear a reassurance, I want to know for sure. Otherwise, that reassurance feels empty….

Invisible Injury

I made mention earlier about burnout being an ‘invisible injury', and that stems from what I read further within the chapter. It never really occurred to me, personally, to think of burnout as an injury. It's definitely not like a broken bone, a sprained ankle, or anything like that…. But the book makes a good point that burnout happens when we are introduced to certain happenings in our lives, and from those happenings, acquire ongoing unrelieved stress and tension.

If you have burnout and don't recognize you are injured, you might mistake yourself for being a failure.

I notice that I feel this way a lot as well. While I usually never outright think or say ‘failure,' my mind still sometimes calls my efforts as ‘mediocre' and ‘not being good enough' — which… for all intents and purposes of this post, may as well be the same thing. I'm actually really grateful that this book has been helping me realize a lot of my own thinking, and putting it better than I could hope to, even when looking back and attempting to reason with myself over many of the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that I struggle with.

While I do my best to sit down and think of ways to recuperate most of the time when I am feeling burned out or depressed, I never really thought of it like an injury. So it really helps shape the way I'll personally be tackling some of my burnout in the future.

Burnout is an injury — it affects how you work, how you interact with others, and your general output. It really is just a new perspective to me to see burnout for what it is: being emotionally and / or mentally injured, and then having to focus on yourself to get back up and at 'em.

Not a Part of Those Statistics

Much of the rest of the chapter talks about burnout in careers and the percentage stats of those working in certain jobs who suffer from burnout. This is a segment that I will be skipping over, not because it's uninteresting, just mostly because it's not something I can offer my personal thoughts and feelings on in a cohesive fashion that I feel would benefit anyone — especially since I am not part of these statistics, as I do not work in any of the fields provided.

Parting Thoughts… for Now

With that, I leave this opening post with some additional excerpts from the end of the book that stood out to me. I hope that as I go through this, my personal stories attached to what I snip out of the book, as well as my opinions, assist anyone looking for a different perspective on things to better facilitate their own way of meditation and introspective searching.

Burnout can be beaten.

You are worth it.

Guest blogger Jay Dunn is a freelance artist and writer; she is also a leukemia survivor, and lives with episodes of depression.  She adds, “I’ve been to a total of seven different schools from kindergarten till seventh grade before I was homeschooled.”

Photo- Jay Dunn, with a wry expression and a halo of starsHello there, my name is Jay — I usually go by the online handle of FreeJayFly. I won a copy of the book Save Yourself from Burnout: A System to Get Your Life Back in a raffle. By a friend's request, I decided to write my thoughts on each chapter after I was done reading it.

As a person, I was very emotionally low when I entered the raffle to win the book, and it has become very evident to me that there are still things that I am not quite over just yet. With the hopes of the facilitation of a better mindset, I'm hoping that I can overcome my personal obstacles to a healthier frame of mind.

As a creator, I was also looking forward to reading the book to expand my way of thinking when it comes to character creation and characterization. Not everyone is going to have the same mindset, and it is important to have characters that handle things differently. What may be present in the book may not always be something that I will turn to when it comes to overcoming my burnout and depression when the time arises. It's important for me to keep that in mind with other characters to help shape them into being more believable.

We are honored to have her permission to share her writing about Save Yourself from Burnout: A System to Get Your Life Back.  Now it's your turn: where did Jay's musings take you?