At the end of a work or school day, people usually feel the weariness taking over their system. Some may say that this can just be replenished by some good food and a deep sleep. This can actually do the job at times.
But as schedules get more hectic, the act of good eating and deep sleeping suffer. And when coupled with other outside factors from the real world, weariness can eventually lead to two things: burnout and fed up.
Let us use a lighted candle as a visual representation.
A lighted candle brightens up a dark room. The fire can be a symbol for your passions, dreams and goals in life. These are usually the positive things that keep you going, guide you and show you the way. The wax is the environment you are in. The wind can be the other factors in the real world. And you are the wick.
What is fed up?
Fed up is the literal, “I’m tired of __________.” “I’m tired of eating vegetables everyday.” “I’m tired of riding this crowded train every morning.” “I’m tired of this ad popping up every time I use this app.” If these things eventually lead you to saying, “Ok. That’s it. I quit,” then this is fed up.
On all the things mentioned above, the key is simply to really quit and change your routine, to keep you from tiring out. Put some meat into your meals. Loan a car so you won’t ride the train anymore. Upgrade your account to premium so you won’t meet annoying ads anymore.
This also goes for being fed up at work. When you are already fed up from your company, that’s the time you finally say, “Ok. That’s it. I quit.”
When you are fed up, the wick and the wax eventually get consumed. But you are aware of these things. And before the fire eventually burns the wick and wax up, you eventually quit, and eventually just replenish all the wick and wax.
This is the edge of fed up over burnout. After quitting that very thing that tires you out, your life still goes on. Just a change of routine and everything will eventually be back to normal.
But this is not the case with burnout.
What is burnout?
Burnout is also about tiring out. But burning out is like fed up on a much deeper level. It is like being fed up but you didn’t do anything to address the weariness, until eventually, it just consumed you up.
In case of the candle, at times, the wind is there to ignite the fire more. But because of schedules getting busier than usual, you may eventually not realize anymore that the wick and the wax have all ran out. You will just realize it when one day, the fire had just died down, with nothing to burn anymore, and everything is dark.
Quitting is just an act of surrender because you cannot see anything anymore. And going back to your old life is not that easy.
As I said earlier, the fire is your passions, goals and dreams. They are what keep you going in life. When the fire dies down, not only can’t you see anything anymore but you also don’t feel like moving forward because you have no more fuel anymore.
When you have burnt yourself out, you have problems waking up everyday. It is like literally dragging yourself out of bed just to do the things you need to do. It is like forcing yourself to do anything, even just going to the bathroom or catching a bite.
When you eventually are able to “force” yourself to go out of bed, it will not also come out well. You will try doing your favorite things, as you know they can cheer you up: watching your favorite show, listening to your favorite band, playing your favorite game. But this time, even these things cannot brighten up your day.
It is just like feeling nothing; just floating onto space, without a sense of direction and light to guide your way. And when not given action, prolonged feeling of darkness and nothingness can lead to depression.
More of this so called burnout on my next blog entry.