Did you know Burnout and Self Worth are related?
I didn’t realize the correlation between burnout and self-worth until recently; however, it makes sense. 2020 has been filled with so many ups and downs, and it has been challenging to navigate the changes with work, childcare, household chores, and social relationships. If I am honest, it has been very difficult!
I have struggled with feelings of burnout and inadequacy. There has been a constant tug of war.
I have felt the tension between trying to be a good employee and a present mother, the grief of not seeing family and friends, while at the same time not having energy to text or get on another zoom call.
I have felt the stress of never having a clean house and yet always cleaning. There is a tension of who will suffer from the changed conditions and who will benefit, feeling like we can’t all win.
I am going to venture to guess many of us have suffered from burnout.
Burnout differs from depression in that burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. It’s caused by long-term involvement in situations that are usually emotionally demanding (i.e. pandemic and uncertainty that has happened this year). Burnout can affect us is many different ways; however, one area we don’t typically talk about is how burnout affects our self-esteem. Women typically suffer from lower self-esteem than men. Women have historically suffered from inequalities in the workplace from unequal pay to gender bias when it comes to promotions. Women have learned the power of proving themselves; however, it has also spilled into motherhood. It’s no wonder we feel the need to base our worth on our achievements and performance (i.e. perfectionism).
So what is the relationship between burnout and self-esteem or self-worth?
If your self-worth is dependent upon a perceived success or a perceived failure, you are more vulnerable to increased health related illnesses, fatigue, feelings of depression, isolation, and burnout. Throughout this pandemic I have noticed I have put more pressure on myself to outperform at my job, to prove I am productive and bring value to the position. Ironically, I started a new job when the pandemic hit, so training has been challenging, and yet I still find myself working overtime to perform in a job I am still learning. Ridiculous right? Due to the work stresses, I have found myself getting frustrated and feeling inadequate as a mom. The pressure to ensure my daughter is learning and developing is intense. I have tried to set aside time dedicated to her learning needs; however, on the days I have meetings, she can be found watching the 3rd episode of ‘Puppy Dog Pals.’ On those days I feel as though I have failed. (Or when she eats pizza bites for the third time during the week) It’s on those days I feel burnt out and inadequate. I think it is common we tie our worth into our accomplishments. Its this idea of “if I do , then I will feel __.”
When our self-esteem is contingent upon how we perform or what we achieve, we will forever feel we are running a race we can’t win, particularly when it pertains to motherhood.
2020 has highlighted this more than we realized. Mothers are feeling inadequate at work and feeling increased mom guilt. We have to change this. We cannot allow our work to define our worth (both as a mom and as an employee). When you invest all of you (your identity, your worth) into something for validation, you will find it increases feelings of burnout and emotional exhaustion. How do we ensure our self-worth is not being adversely affected by our circumstances? Self-worth is not tied into any performance-based accomplishments. Self-worth is the ability to recognize you have innate value regardless of what you do. You are loved, cherished, and have incomprehensible worth.
How do you prevent this from happening?
- Stop comparing yourself to others. This is an active choice. It requires you to do something!
Take a break from social media. This is the number one offender of comparison. You can
also try volunteering or investing in those around you. Gratitude and comparison cannot co-
- Recognize there is only one you! Celebrate your uniqueness. You have unique skills,
abilities, and strengths. Also realize you have weaknesses and it is ok! None of us can do this
life on our own and none of us are equipped to do it all. You aren’t perfect and recognizing
the fact you were not created to be perfect can be very liberating.
- Invest in your faith. For me, self-worth is intimately tied to my faith. Ultimately, my faith is
what helped me get out of the burnout slump. It reminds me I am enough and I have a
unique purpose here on earth.
When you see yourself as someone of worth, you will garner more respect and confidence. So today I challenge you set aside some time to rest, think about ways your self-esteem is contingent upon your performance, and start changing your mindset. Realize the endless race you are running will not only leave you burned out, it will also not yield the results you are seeking.
“Today is unique! It has never occurred before, and it will never be repeated. At midnight it will end, quietly, suddenly, totally. Forever. But the hours between now and then are opportunities with eternal possibilities.” ― Charles R. Swindoll
Clayr Simnacher, LPC-S
Licensed Professional Counselor
Founder of Work Mom Repeat, a non profit organization located in Dallas TX.