Our Latest News

Nicole Jameson – Body+Soul

The 5 easy-to-miss signs you’re headed for burnout.

Ever heard the term ‘eating the elephant’?

Have you started 2023 refreshed and renewed or exhausted and overwhelmed? If you fall into the latter camp, you could be en route to burnout. 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “there’s only one way to eat an elephant, a bite at a time.”

I think what he meant is that we should try to navigate the big things that life throws at us piece by piece and just a little at a time. Not everything, all at once.

But many women (myself included) try to eat the whole damn elephant, juggling family, a relationship, friends, a business, a second business, a personal brand… that’s not just one elephant my friend, that’s the whole damn herd.

No wonder we’re burning out.

One of my favourite authors and digital mentors, Arianna Huffington, collapsed from complete exhaustion in 2007. Smashing her face against her desk on the way down was the wake-up call she didn’t know she needed.

Although I’m a massive advocate of the hustle (a controversial statement, but I thrive on being busy). I’ve also been through fatigue and burnout before and it’s really not pretty for me, my family, my business or my friends.

I blow sh*t up – like, everything in my path – so I’d say I need to learn to eat the elephant more slowly, take time to thoughtfully digest it, and try more of a ‘little and often’ approach.

So, if you’re anything like me, maybe this year you need to step back and review how you eat the elephant, because the aim is to be refreshed and renewed for the year ahead, not exhausted and overwhelmed.

Having lived through it, here are five easy-to-miss warning signs that you might be on a path to self-destruction.

Everyone tells you

Please listen to the people around you that love you. I now realise that when I’m completely overwhelmed everyone can see it, except me. My friends and my staff tell me that they don’t know how I’m still standing and managing all the things. If everyone around you is saying the same thing, maybe listen.

Your tolerance is a wafer

If you have a very short fuse it’s probably time to have a little lie down. Look, I understand sometimes it’s cathartic to tell people to go f*ck themselves, and most times in retrospect the person, client or thing wasn’t serving your values or goals anymore anyway. But let’s try and bid them a beige farewell instead of lighting it on fire shall we?

You language just can’t

You get words wrong, you forget what you were saying and quite frankly you start sounding drunk, like an idiot, or both. Avoid being Yoda and take that trip away, your battery is low, you need to recharge.

It’s not fun anymore

Is everything a chore? Are the kids giving you the irrits? Is your partner driving you nutso? Does going to work bring forth existential dread? Are you doubting every single idea and choice you’re making? Fatigue, stress and burnout paint everything a shade of grey, and it’s hard to feel joy when you’re in this state. So it’s time for the old IT trick: turn yourself off for a while and you’ll find it all works again when you turn it back on.

Creativity is a long-lost friend

Without that space in your brain, creativity will break up with you. Believe it or not, taking time out will make you more creative, and you’ll be able to work faster, too. Instead of wading through mud every work day, you’ll ski along on top of it.

Like I said, I’m a massive fan of the hustle, but there’s only so many glass balls you can keep in the air before you drop a really important one and it shatters.

So in 2023, let’s work on knowing our own limits instead, and look at that as a strength, not a weakness. Because while you can do anything, you can’t do everything – and knowing that will set you free.

Nicole Jameson is a digital strategist, the Director of Dark Horse Agency and CEO of The Social Kit. She is also mum to two teenage boys. 


Recommended Posts