The holiday season is the perfect time to experience burnout—so let's talk about how to recognize and deal with that in our projects and lives.
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Issue #35

The Battle Against Burnout

Welcome to the last issue of DPMish this year! I cannot believe it's almost the new year, as I'm sure many other people feel. This week, I wanted to talk burnout—what it is, how to recognize it, where it comes from, and what to do about it. The holidays can often be difficult on us, whether that's personal pressure and family stress, or wrapping up big deadlines and managing client expectations. I hope this issue can help you take a deep breath and reset if you're needing it, or serve as a guide for future needs.

What is burnout?
This in-depth look at burnout from Psychology Today is scary-good and wildly eye-opening. Symptoms can range from minor to severe—and include things like paranoia, feelings of being under appreciated, disorientation, and drawn out sicknesses, in addition to the better-known symptoms like exhaustion, unhappiness, and detachment.

Getting through burnout

Keep your health and energy buckets full
I love this article about cumulative stress recovery and the idea of envisioning my health and energy as a bucket of water. Trying to "keep the bucket full" can be helpful during/after difficult projects.

Create an energy line for your work
Creating an energy line for projects, tasks, and even social events visually displays your energy allocation—and draws attention to red-flag areas. 

Practice self-care
This article about self-care is extremely insightful, offers basic strategies for self-care, and this fantastic reminder: Self-care sometimes means making tough decisions which you fear others will judge. You might also find my newsletter on boundaries a helpful read after that post. Checking in with myself regularly really helps me realize when a difficult project or crappy week affects things like my basic needs—which of course then influences my state of mind.

Get perspective
Talk to a friend, mentor, partner or therapist about your experience. Try tracking your moods while working on new projects or unrelated tasks to see what's really making you happy these days. Understand that you might need time to identify and break through all of the places the stress has affected you over the last few weeks or months.

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