Finding it hard to care about others? You’re not inhumane. You’re probably burned out.

This week, we are digging deep into burnout. On Monday, we offered a self-assessment to gauge your own current level of burnout. Yesterday, we dove into the first component of burnout.

Today is about the second element of burnout, “depersonalization: the depletion of empathy, caring, and compassion.” The definition comes from the book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, by doctors Emily and Amelia Nagoski.

If you’re feeling like you don’t have energy for other people, even friends and family, that doesn’t make you selfish. It doesn’t make you a bad person.

It means that you’re probably burned out.

I just dealt with my own bout of depleted empathy, caring, and compassion after February’s winter storm (the impacts lasted over a week) in Texas. First, my 75-year-old mom lost power for several days. Then, my own ceiling started leaking in more places than I could count. A few hours later, I lost water. I got through the crisis calmly. Once it ended, I didn’t feel I could connect with, or support, friends, family, or colleagues. What’s wrong with me, I wondered.

What’s wrong with me turned out to be the wrong question.

A year of pandemic life +the unprecedented winter storm + pressures from work + adulting = exponentially more stress, i.e. the perfect opportunity for burnout

The typical answers for burnout are to practice self-care. At least that’s the conventional wisdom online. But that doesn’t address the root causes of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. Tomorrow, we’ll share the third component of burnout, and then starting next week, we’ll start discussing research-based practices to effectively combat burnout.

We want to hear from you, too. Everyone’s experience with burnout is different. And a lot of people are going through it, or have recently gone through it. What has it been like, or is it like, for you?

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Lead Well Be Well provides bite-sized, practical tips for professionals carefully sourced and curated that you can immediately put into practice.

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Lead Well Be Well

Lead Well Be Well provides bite-sized, practical tips for professionals carefully sourced and curated that you can immediately put into practice.