Welcome to part 2 of our The Great Resignation series. So why did nearly 50 million Americans leave their jobs in the last year? Well, a lot of reasons. But a big one is burnout (not to be confused with Burnin’ Up).

Burnout has been around since the beginning of time. Heck, even God took a day off while creating the universe, according to the Old Testament. But there was no official word for “burnout” until 1970, when psychologist Herbert J. Freudenberger self-diagnosed his persistent exhaustion. He defined it as ''the extinction of motivation or incentive.''

Freudenberger’s work was all-consuming — running his own practice by day, and a youth rehabilitation center by night. His daughter, Lisa, recalls his days off, “He couldn't move. He couldn't get out of bed.” When Freudenberger died at 73, his obituary ironically captured a lifetime of burnout. “He worked 14 or 15 hours a day, six days a week, until three weeks before his death.”

So how can you spot burnout, and how can you prevent it?

5 Signs that You’re Burning Out

More than half of surveyed American worker’s identified as burnt out in 2021. So how are you? Whether you’re a founder, parent, student, or even a Tiktok creator, the mental, emotional, and physical symptoms of burnout can look strikingly similar.

  1. You feel chronic exhaustion, detachment, and purposelessness in your work
  2. You’ve stopped your routines — your meditation practice, your morning jog, your hobbies, or social life have been replaced by work
  3. You dread starting your day, like you’re walking through cement to get out of bed
  4. You feel regular emotional distress like quickness to anger, paranoia, overconfidence, cynicism and isolation
  5. Physical signs of stress like insomnia, headaches, stomach issues, body pains, or a compromised immune system

Sound familiar? Though not a medical diagnosis, burnout was officially recognized as a work-related phenomenon in 2019 by the World Health Organization. If you resonate, talk to your doctor or a licensed counselor.

The Playbook take

Burnout isn’t forever. And if you can prevail over chronic stress and exhaustion, you can thrive in new ways — your health, relationships, and optimism for the future! But you can’t “self-care” yourself out of burnout.

Since burnout is born from a loss of autonomy (aka, feeling trapped), what would it take to have the freedom to rest, to socialize, or change your routines? It may be hard to have a conversation with your boss about workload, or take 20 minutes away from your kids to meditate, but your health and wellbeing is worth a disruption. Consider how you could disrupt your lifestyle or adjust your habits to increase your freedoms.

Plus, some of our favorite small practical tips include turning off your app notifications, disconnecting from the 24-hour news cycle, meditating, and sleeping 7+ hours each night. Take a breath, you deserve it.

To financial freedom and beyond,


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