Renee Gardiner: Time to conquer ‘busy’ addiction

Renée GardinerThe West Australian
A paper head with a rainbow coming out of the head, the rainbow is exploding... creative stress or burnout are close by.
Camera IconA paper head with a rainbow coming out of the head, the rainbow is exploding... creative stress or burnout are close by. Credit: Getty Images

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. This kind of exhaustion, it reaches all the way in, right to the core.

It’s certainly physical.

Though the roots also feel intangible — mental, perhaps.

But more than anything, this weariness is soul-deep exhaustion.

We’re coming to the end of yet another long year and there is one thing that I’m most worried about right now.

It’s the big blurry mist on the horizon that no one is talking about.

It’s burnout.

Stress, anguish and emotional turmoil have been the biggest fallout from the past two years.

There are echoes of it throughout our community, in social and healthcare settings, public services and across businesses.

It’s affecting parents and carers, too.

We’re all usually holding out for a break at this time of year.

But things are different now.

I’m hearing more stories of mental malaise and outright exhaustion.

The regularity and our complacency with this end-of-year fatigue has me worried. Really worried.

How has busyness become a marker of success?

Why is working full-time, or even more than that, glorified in our Western world?

We’re addicted to speed. And we desperately need to rewrite the script.

Hustling is a disease — it's a values and expectations-based affliction that has led many asunder.

Late nights and crammed schedules simply can’t be sustained.

I recently spoke with a recruiter whose mindset was clearly hustle-centric.

For them, career success came down to one metric, only — time.

It’s a rubbish perspective and it needs to change.

There is simply no correlation between a person’s individual value and worth and the number of hours they work (paid or unpaid).

We’ve got to stop marrying the two.

They’re incompatible partners.

Time is one of our most precious assets. It’s finite and we never get it back.

So, it pays to ask yourself, how are you spending your time?

Is it with the people and things that really matter to you?

What truly brings you joy and happiness?

The future emerges as we create it. It exists through our individual and collective thoughts, words and actions.

It comes alive with every choice we make.

There’s power in that, and we need to choose wisely.

It’s safe, albeit uncomfortable, to ditch other people’s expectations.

You’re the captain and can chart your own version of success.

Because, burnout blows.

If you’re on the edge of that thin line, or even in the midst of a burnout bubble, here’s a couple of quick tips.

Firstly, pull up stumps. Clear your schedule. Say no, more often.

Go on, try it now — no.

Good, now you have to tune out, to tune in. Go analogue for a while and ditch social media.

Find a cosy spot at home or in nature. Take a thermos and book, lie under a tree, breathe in the fresh air.

Ah, life. Enjoy the moment.

It’s a good idea to turn up the self-care dial and allow time to melt away.

Incorporate you-time into your daily routine.

Maybe, connect with some professional support, too — your doctor, a counsellor, coach or psychologist.

And if all else fails, eat cake (that’s my go-to).

Jokes aside, burnout is a serious health condition. It can lead to severe complications, disease and even death.

Your wellbeing has to be your No.1 priority. Don’t wait until you’re about to collapse before you rest.

Nourish yourself. Find beauty in balance. Rest and reboot.

Time is precious. How do you really want to spend it?

I’m going to bet that dealing with toxic burnout is not your answer.

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