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We Need to Change ‘Burnout’ Culture

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We live in a burnout chic age. Getting eight hours of sleep is cool, and surviving on caffeine is expected. This is especially evident on college campuses. As a student, life is a whirlwind of deadlines and procrastination. The more desperate your situation, the better. Wrote through the night? Awesome! Had to fake an illness to finish an essay? Even better!

These kinds of lifestyles are present and encouraged everywhere, not just at university. Workplaces prioritize hours and output over employee well-being. Your worth becomes what you produce, not how happy you were while doing it. This is a recipe for a long-term, mental health catastrophe.

This culture of live fast and work faster is pushing many people to the edge. In a world where mental illness is prevalent, giving prestige and a “cool factor” to lifestyles that don’t prioritize self-care isn’t just self-destructive, it’s downright dangerous.

Living too fast with too much stress is recipe for a meltdown or burnout, as we love to call it. Burnout should be a big deal. It should not be cool to burnout. We shouldn’t be burning out at all. To be constantly pushing ourselves to the breaking point is only a way to leave scars on our bodies and minds, not a way to succeed.

With many offices now offering in-house psychological support, this is one way to support overworked and under-rested people. But should we not be looking at ways to stop them from getting to that point to begin with?

Instead of burnout chic, why couldn’t we applaud those who take time to practice self-care. Went to bed before 10 p.m.? Here’s a gold star! Had a day where you left your phone off and spent time with loved ones? Have an extra day of holiday this year.

We need to change the narrative that says you have to self-destruct to be successful. Instead, it should be one that says you need to love and take care of yourself first, and success will follow. We cannot succeed when we’re breaking our bodies and minds to do it. This is not success. It’s just a shooting star heading for collision with earth.

We should prioritize supporting people so fewer people have to crash to earth and more can spend time shining. Then, we can succeed and thrive all at the same time.

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: October 11, 2016
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