So I’m going to admit that this article is going to be extremely personal for me. I know that City Girl Savings is a safe and non-judgmental space, but even as I’m writing this, I am nervous about expressing my journey and being so vulnerable. As I was doing my own research and journaling for this article, I got extremely emotional, as I am still dealing and healing (my therapist would be proud though).
I want to talk about burnout culture. Burnout is one of those buzzwords that has been on the rise, and may have hit its zenith in the midst of the pandemic, but essentially, burnout is falling all around exhaustion – mentally, emotionally, physically, etc. This obviously leads to having little to no motivation to do even the most mundane things in our day-to-day lives.
However, especially in America, burnout culture can also be the direct result of “hustle culture”, or the “Sleep is for losers, You can sleep when you’re dead, You have the same 24 hours as Beyoncé, There’s always money to be made” narrative that glorifies the nonstop cycle of productivity.
Yes, money can be made, but where has that led us as a society? For me, it led me to a distorted and unhealthy relationship with productivity and it impacted life in a way that led me to make some unhealthy financial decisions, driven by burnout. So, I am going to approach this article in a different way. I’ll be framing this article under the 5 signs of burnout from the Cleveland Clinic and Psychology Today and how each sign can impact one’s finances.
“Hi, my name is Lena and I am recovering from burnout culture, and I am determined to overcome this and get my sparkle for life back.” 🙂
Oh yes, the feeling beyond tired and sleepy – but literally feeling like sleeping all day, staying in bed, and even the simplest things seem daunting and will take too much energy to complete. I know for me; it can be very hard to complete tasks for work and other chores. I would eventually get them done, but it would take me much longer than it should have…all because of feeling fatigued.
How can fatigue affect finances? Well, I can only express from experience, but I know for me, my eating out/take-out line on my budget can take a huge hit. Sometimes my fatigue is so jarring that I cannot even gather the mental energy to think of what to cook, no energy to go grocery shopping, and definitely not even the mental capacity to cook.
So, a day of ordering from UberEats or GrubHub is just something I don’t have to think about. I can just click on “Place Order” and my food shows up within an hour or so. Again, I am recovering from this.
Feeling apathetic or dissatisfied with work
A huge part of burnout that has affected my finances is the feeling of dissatisfaction/disengagement with my work. I love my field (Marketing and Community Engagement), but I have learned that I do my best work in a work environment that I feel the most connected and aligned with the organization, target audience, or overall mission of the work itself.
Unfortunately, when you add toxicity from a manager or other leadership, these feelings of job dissatisfaction can lead to something I ultimately did: I resigned from a job. Now, I know in recent times of The Great Resignation, this is very common, as people are establishing boundaries and taking more ownership of their lives.
HOWEVER, what I did not have was a strong emergency fund. I ended up going through my small savings, retirement, and even resorted to taking on more debt in the form of maxing out credit cards and receiving personal loans just to get by.
Again, as I recover, I know that it is important for me to have a “F**K this Job” fund haha!
Loss of Enjoyment/Excitement
Oh, this is a hard one to talk about because I have/am experiencing that as well. This can be disheartening because it’s the feeling of not having anything to look forward to, or the feeling of being so disengaged that you disengage with not only work, but your personal life as well.
Financially, this can lead to spending lots of money on things for escapism, not even for pleasure, but just escaping life. I know I made some financial decisions based on escapism alone.
For instance, I would spend money on concerts for musical artists that I was not a big fan of (just to say I was going somewhere fun), I would take myself to day spas and spend so much on services, but I knew I couldn’t afford them. Also, I would go on “vacations”, but I still didn’t relax and rest because I was worried about what was going on with work or home.
How am I recovering? Well, I try to make the most of the present moment and learn how to practice gratitude.
Since burnout can affect our sleep patterns, our lack of involvement in activities, and even how we eat and take care of ourselves, it’s not surprising that an increase in illness (ultimately due to not taking care of yourself) is on this list. Burnout is the opposite of rest so our bodies can work against us, causing us to get sicker for longer.
This can (and has) affected finances because you will have to use more sick days from work, which are a luxury if they are considered paid time off (PTO). However, if you have to keep missing days from work due to prolonged sickness, and these sick days are not considered PTO, then your paychecks will be less than you need.
Indulgence in Unhealthy Vices
Again, this another point that hits very close to home for me. In the midst of burnout, one can definitely try to find a way that can make them feel better, or something that gives them temporary comfort.
Unfortunately, some of these may not be the healthiest. Just sharing a bit of my own journey, as I mentioned above how being so fatigued resulted in me ordering UberEats/GrubHub a lot; well, this actually aided in my addiction to food and other vices, like more wine. Ultimately, this became detrimental to my budget and the financial goals I was trying to reach.
I hated seeing that I would spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars a month on just takeout alone, and it’s embarrassing. I’m determined to get this under control but indulging in unhealthy vices will only take you further away from your goals, and it’s just a temporary “fix”.
Related: How to Beat Burnout with Multiple Hustles
I know this article is not as peppy as other articles on City Girl Savings, but I hope this article resonates with someone, and just know that you are not alone. We WILL get through this burnout season and come back to ourselves. Please do not hesitate to reach out for professional help as well. Do you have any tips on overcoming burnout?
The CGS Team