by Jodee Redmond
Burnout is a word that we hear often in the freelance world. At least I do. Pretty much everyone in my immediate circle has said, “Don’t let yourself get burnt out!” at one time or another. I have been thinking about that and I realized that I wasn’t really sure what the symptoms of burnout are. Could I be burnt out and not know it?
I decided to do some checking. Here are the signs of burnout, courtesy of MayoClinic.com:
* Do you find yourself being more cynical, critical and sarcastic at work?
* Have you lost the ability to experience joy?
* Do you drag yourself into work and have trouble getting started once you arrive?
* Have you become more irritable and less patient with co-workers, customers or clients?
* Do you feel that you face insurmountable barriers at work?
* Do you feel that you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
* Do you no longer feel satisfaction from your achievements?
* Do you have a hard time laughing at yourself?
* Are you tired of your co-workers asking if you’re OK?
* Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
* Are you self-medicating — using food, drugs or alcohol — to feel better or to simply not feel?
* Have your sleep habits or appetite changed?
* Are you troubled by headaches, neck pain or lower back pain?
I considered each item on the list. None of these things apply to me, with the possible exception that sometimes I find it hard to drag myself out of bed to get started in the morning. I honestly love what I do, and I have no trouble laughing at myself. I think it can be argued that my caffeine habit is not self-medicating to avoid feeling; it’s to avoid falling asleep on the keyboard. There is a difference.
I’m happy to report that I am not a burnt out freelance writer. I’m hoping that I will continue to enjoy what I do for a long time to come. At least now I know what to watch out for.