Burnout – how to deal with it

Full Time Finance and Chief Mom Officer have interesting articles out on Burnout, the idea that at certain times of your life, the issues of work, family, finances, etc. combine to push you towards the edge (and sometimes over it) – and your body and mind naturally seek ways to relieve the pressure and keep you from exploding (or dying). It is a big problem is our world, though folks have been dealing with stress and burnout for millennia. It just seems to be something new due to the fast pace of life and due to the fact that it is happening to you!


Burnout is one of the major reasons folks get on the FIRE wagon, as they seek to escape from the stress and move towards a better life. It is only through later reading that newcomers to our community learn that the secret to success in early retirement is to be retiring “to” something, not “from” something.

Chief Mom Officer laid out her four stages of burnout:

  1. Exhaustion
  2. Shame and Doubt
  3. Cynicism or Callousness
  4. Crisis

Anyone that has been following the blog knows that I was reaching the point of burnout at the end of last year. I was well past #1 and #2, and pushing #3. My writing took a darker turn, and the issues I had with my work and my boss definitely affected my home life, my writing, and my happiness. I was seriously considering resigning from a lucrative position, in which I enjoyed the work (just not the boss).

I was fortunate to have a supportive spouse (one of the reasons why you should always have friends and family to talk to, and who see you regularly – so they can tell you if you are acting differently). Luckily, I was able to renegotiate the position, and my company put someone above me between the problem boss and me. So far, it has worked well, and I have continued to do well in the role.

Full Time Finance notes some of the causes for burnout (primarily work related causes) are:

  • Overwork
  • Poor treatment and neglect
  • Insufficient challenge (an odd one, but one he explains well)

I am sure there are others involved that folks could name.

The key is to be on the lookout, identify when you are suffering burnout, determine the cause and try to create the change needed to deal with it. It is not easy, especially in our dog-eat-dog world, but your emotional and physical health may depend on it.

Good luck out there!

Mr. 39 Months

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