Your flame — R Voice

Your flame

Dahlia T
Dahlia T Member Posts: 93 ✭✭✭✭

I recently came across this article and thought it deserved a share.

Many of the points resonated with me, especially the tips on learning to better identify the 'onset' of burnout.

I was also especially struck by these two lines ... simple yet powerful truths that often get lost

Simple yet powerful truth #1: We are human, yet we often treat ourselves as machine.

Simple yet powerful truth #2: Tuning into what your body and mind is telling you and having fun as a thriving human will help keep you safe, feeling inspired and happy.

I am purposefully driven to water the soil to grow the seed that is already planted. 


  • Kakoli Majumder
    Kakoli Majumder Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 312 admin

    An excellent read! Thanks for sharing @Dahlia T. It got me pondering about how and when we became so obsessed with work and so self-critical, since when we started feeling guilty about going on holidays, taking a break from work, or even having fun. I fondly look back at my childhood days when dad would come home by 7:00 and help me with homework, visiting extended family or friends on weekends, going on vacation twice a year (typically a short trip in winter and a long one during summer) for which we would start planning months in advance. I never really saw my father feel guilty about work - he was a conscientious worker, would never take unnecessary leave, and would go to work on an occasional Sunday when it was required, but that was it. Boundaries were clear, and the time outside of work was his to spend as he wished, guilt-free. Life was so much simpler back then! When did we mess it all up and make all the boundaries blurry? :(

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 941 admin

    This is so well-written and thought-provoking! Thanks so much for sharing @Dahlia T 💚

    The part that really struck me was this - "burnout is a slow burn. You probably haven’t even noticed it starting, because we’re all busy, we’re all doing the best we can and when the expectation is that during times of adversity we just knuckle down and get on with it, we can miss those signs that it’s all getting too much."

    I feel like "working yourself to the bone" or "the grind" has become such a normalized concept that most of us don't even realize how harmful it could be. And then by the time we realize what it's doing to us, it's usually a little too late and we're already in the deep pit that it burnout. I'm so glad we're talking about topics like these on R Voice. The worst part I think is that when we feel like we've "lost the mojo," we think it's because we're not doing enough and then end up pushing ourselves more, exacerbating the problem further.

    The tips shared in this article to watch out for the signs and keep ourselves safe from burnout are a real eyeopener and have given me much to think about. Thanks again! ☺️

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 157 ✭✭✭✭

    Honestly, I hide, even deny, the truth when I read the first paragraph of the article: "a, I'm okay. No burnout in me 😏". Until then, I start nodding my head following the description in each stage of burnout: "I have it 😭"

    Without recognizing the burnout, I have sacrificed myself, my happiness, my life, for something I love using a wrong way. Yes, I wanted to be perfect, leading me to treat myself as a machine. Thanks God, in the critical point, when I lost my mojo, family and dearest friends are around to tell two things: (1) it is okay to be burnout, it's normal; and (2) no need to be perfect. It separates me away from the 'love' of the thing I love. I find those two points are described in the article too.

    "Burnout. It’s a common reason we lose our mojo, but it doesn’t have to be that way."

    "Choose to focus on the good things about your work, what meaning it provides, what got you excited about it in the first place and seek ways to rediscover the good."

    My burnout pushed me too far. No, no, more sad tears now. I want to take more time out regularly to defrag and spend quality time with family and friends to be social, to share a laugh and pursue activities that are fun and give you joy. Live the life 🤗

    Thank you for sharing this article @Dahlia T. The 'I am okay' needs reminders. This article is a great reminder for me.

  • Dahlia T
    Dahlia T Member Posts: 93 ✭✭✭✭

    Thank you for reading and commenting on this article @Kakoli Majumder @Andrea Hayward and @Yufita Chinta. I truly enjoyed reading your perspectives, timely reminders in themselves.

    I've realised that this topic is making the circuit more often these days and rather than thinking it seems repetitive, you know 'yes we have heard that before', the ongoing conversations are continuously giving me food for thought. It is a real issue. One we need to remind ourselves and others about on a regular basis.

    The truth is our society has always been driven by competitiveness and an 'only the strong will survive' mentality. It is nothing new. You needed to work hard to stay in the game, otherwise you were going to miss out on promotions, etc. When the industrial labour force was 'cheap'er they could be easily replaced, so they always had to be present and show dedication in order to be retained.

    Sometimes, I wonder, though is it that our parents and grandparents found a way to achieve balance, knowing they have to be driven to keep up and to work hard to stay current, yet still finding the time to carve out niches for the different 'important' parts in their lives, namely work, family, friends, and leisure? Or is it that they too were struggling but we never saw it and it is only now that we too are 'adults' that we are 'experiencing' the 'real' truth of what they were living? The glimpse of adulthood that we had was really through rose coloured glasses? Maybe they too were suffering but they did so in silence, because they didn't know otherwise and some discussions were never had? Terms such as 'burnout' were rarely mentioned, if ever. Even if 'it' lingered around every corner and the effects were constantly being felt - Wall Street suicides, ulcers, premature balding, etc.

    It is true too that society has changed. Gone are the days when you found a job after graduation and followed your career path, until you retired. The modern work force is much more replaceable now, especially post computer invention, and there is this almost 'unspoken' expectation that only the strong will survive. Translated, only those who are willing to dedicate themselves 'wholly' to the 'cause', i.e. the job, by showing up and being 'on call' all the time will survive in this rat race. The 'survival of the fittest', no matter the cost.

    The Europeans, especially the French are very protective about their leisure time. They refuse to let their 'vacation' days be in the bank and take every minute of time off to which they are owed. In some other cultures, taking the time off to which you have a right is viewed almost as 'lazy' and 'not productive'. Taking time off automatically means you are going to be left behind and will not be counted for promotions you have not demonstrated how 'serious' and 'dedicated' you are to the job, i.e. you are not religiously burning the midnight oil to the detriment of your health and you take the time off to take care of the other facets of your life, namely health, family, and self. Hence the going on holidays ...but still feverishly checking and responding to emails.

    I am purposefully driven to water the soil to grow the seed that is already planted. 

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 157 ✭✭✭✭

    you have written all the truth @Dahlia T. Again, thank you.

    Reading the last paragraph of yours, it is funny because I feel like taking break cumulatively for some months now after my graduation 😂 I did not have any vacation and break during my four years PhD program, even if I had the chances. It is opposite with the French custom.

    As the consequence of this cumulative break time, I might be left behind for the jobs, promotions, etc. What do I do? Sit down, say "it's fine" to myself, and wisely consider the future. Yup, system sets everyone to jump to the competition, which is solidly found in Japan. I've herd some of colleagues judge me as a loser or mentally weak researcher. Still, I will sit down and say "it's fine" to myself.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 941 admin

    Well said @Dahlia T! I could relate with most of what you've said here and as usual you've conveyed your thoughts beautifully 🙂

    2 things struck me most - the fact that growing up, we probably didn't notice that our parents and other older people around us were going through a somewhat similar cycle as we are right now. Honestly when I compare my current situation to that of my Mum at the same age, she really seems like a superhero now! She was a mother of 2 (quite mischievous lol) kids, was working, AND running a house and raising 2 kids. That one person could do all that and still be in a good mood for most of the time sounds almost impossible now. This was a literal recipe for burnout and I don't know if my Mum even knew that such a term of condition existed at that point. She just kept pushing and grinding for her family. I'm glad that we're more aware of things like these now and there's more open conversation about it. I am now slowly trying to introduce these concepts to my Mum and reminding her that an off day or a slow day is not a bad one. Unlearning this productivity cycle is proving to be very difficult for her but she's trying. :)

    Another thing that struck me is what you said about topics like these making the circuit more often these days. I've come across a lot of people criticizing it as repetitive or common sense but I disagree. We're hardwired to be productive and work constantly, to the extent that we feel we need to earn our breaks. So any reminder about taking breaks, the effects of burnout and the path leading up to it is always essential and timely in my opinion. Thank you once again for engaging us in this thought-provoking conversation! 🤗