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7 Categories of Burnout I've Experienced So Far

In the last two weeks, burnout has definitely gotten the best of me. I’ve started and stopped two op-eds; one is titled "Unforced Errors and Underutilized People" and the other, "Critiquing the Hand That Awards." The first is about a tennis term, “unforced errors,” and how that plays out in kitchens across the U.S. The other is about the complete lack of due diligence that major award organizations engage in. Both are meaty topics I care very much about. I have clear ideas on what sort of changes I want to agitate for in these spaces. But I am also having immense trouble shoring up the motivation to get these thoughts clearly on paper.

Last week, when faced with a sinking realization I was really, really behind on my @substack deadline, I began to consider why I found myself in this state of burnout yet again. Instead of trying to hobble together a few sentences of appropriately impassioned social justice commentary, I decided to sit with my uncomfortable feelings for a bit and—why not?—jot them down.

It was then I realized I had never thought it important enough to categorize or evaluate my feelings beyond the catchall term “burnout.” I wonder if a major contributor to burnout in general is precisely this: that we believe it best to deny and ignore how much of the world around us is affecting us. The categories of burnout that ended up flowing so naturally out of me appears to be some manifestation of myself saying, “I am struggling, please pay attention to me, I am begging you.” And in engaging with this cathartic writing exercise, I’ve noticed that acknowledging this feeling-state has helped move me through these feelings far more gently than before.

I definitely don’t have burnout figured out, but I’m working on it. If you’re reading this and also identify with one/all of these categories, please know that I see you, friend. Hang in there. And if you have more categories to add, please do!

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