There I was, at the peak of my career in corporate tech marketing, clocking in 60+ hour weeks while also training for an Ironman. The intense workload and grueling training sessions were not just taking a toll on me mentally, but it eventually led to a chronic illness.
Yes, you read that right. My pursuit of ‘success’ resulted in my body literally shutting down.
Today, I’m pleading with women, let’s cut the crap—burnout is NOT a badge of honor.
It’s actually a glaring neon sign saying, “Stop trying to be everything to everyone!”
Burnout on the Rise
According to a 2020 study by the CDC, about 40% of adults reported struggling with mental health, directly correlating to overwork and stress.Yet, the hustle culture glorifies it. You’ve seen it, right? Social media applauds the person who “made it” by sacrificing sleep, relationships, and health. If someone asks you how you’re doing and your immediate response is, “I’m so busy,” … But I’m sorry, that is not a brag, it’s just sad.
Stop Trying To Please Everyone
People-pleasing is often the root cause of burnout. We’re so busy saying ‘yes’ to everyone else that we forget to say ‘yes’ to ourselves. We ignore our body’s cries for rest and self-care, and we pay a hefty price for it. Before we know it, the world has stacked up on us.
In his book Crazy Busy, Kevin DeYoung , highlights that the busy life is an unexamined life. We need to audit our commitments and understand that not everything that is ‘urgent’ is ‘important.’
We need to prioritize our life and be okay saying ‘no’ sometimes. I promise, the world won’t end if you don’t take up every opportunity. Go ahead and say not to join another non-profit and ditch the playdates once in a while. It’s OK!
It’s time to live a life of quality, not quantity.
Hey, Your Body Is On Fire
Listen up, if you think grinding away at work at the expense of your health is worth it, you’re not just misguided—you’re playing with fire.
Monica Aggarwal’s book, Body on Fire spells it out clearly: chronic stress and overwork are not just mental states; they trigger systemic inflammation. And I’m speaking from personal experience – after suffering severe burnout, I was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease that attacks your own body. Not to mention, I dealt with daily chronic migraines as a result.
While my lupus is in remission, I’ll have this disease forever…
This was my story, and I don’t wish this on ANYONE! We need to remember that ongoing inflammation due from chronic stress and burnout can be the precursor to heart disease, diabetes, or even cancer.
Not convinced? Don’t just take my word for it, According to Harvard Health, there’s a higher incidence of these autoimmune diseases among individuals who have suffered stress-related disorders.
Let me ask you, “Are you willing to gamble your life just to answer a few more emails or get in a few more miles?”
You Can Have It All …. Just Not At The Same Time
I’ll be brutally honest: there was a time when I wore my burnout like a hot new accessory. I thought I had it all—career, fitness, social life.
But let me tell you, my priorities were way off…
It wasn’t until chronic illness sidelined me that I had a wake-up call: You can have it all, but just not all at once, something’s gotta give.
People celebrated my endless hours of work and intense training schedules. I was showered with external validation while ignoring the internal disarray that was slowly but surely catching up to me.
This relentless drive to overperform is not a personal failing; it’s a cultural issue. Scott M. O’Neil nails this point in his book “Be Where Your Feet Are.” He argues that true success isn’t about stretching yourself across multiple goals and tasks at the same time. It’s about being fully present in what you’re doing right now,
So, let’s do ourselves a favor and stop mistaking self-neglect for dedication; it’s time to set our priorities straight.
“Burnout is a Myth” – I call B.S.
Now, there are those who believe that burnout is a myth—another excuse for a generation seen as “soft” or “entitled.” They say that previous generations had it harder, juggling multiple jobs and responsibilities without the luxury of discussing “self-care.”
“Burnout,” they claim, “is just another term for laziness, an excuse to avoid hard work.” I call B.S!
The World Health Organization recognizes burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” that stems from chronic workplace stress. The argument that earlier generations had it worse doesn’t hold water either.
44% of Americans reported that their stress levels had increased over the past five years, citing factors such as work, money, and the economy as major stressors. This uptick in stress levels corresponds with an ever-accelerating pace of life, where multitasking has become the norm and downtime often feels like a luxury.
And let’s not forget previous generations weren’t juggling a global pandemic, an economic downturn, and the mental strain that comes from a 24/7 news cycle of bad news.
What’s worse, this kind of thinking invalidates the experiences of those genuinely struggling with burnout and discourages them from seeking help.
Ladies Choice – or is it?
Ladies, society often pegs us into these impossible standards, expecting us to excel in our multiple roles—the supermom, the high-flyer in the boardroom, and the perfect partner.
The result? Women are twice as susceptible to burnout.
Gender roles and social expectations amplify our risk and make it crucial for us to set boundaries and prioritize self-care.
So, here’s exactly what I want you to do:
Draw the line: Say ‘no’ to anything that fails to honor your values or well-being. Period.
Carve out your sanctuary: Reserve an uncompromising 30 minutes of ‘me time’ each week. Put it in your calendar right now – No excuses.
Go off the grid – Shut down your phone, turn off notifications, and walk away from the computer —set specific working hours. Make it non-negotiable.
Remember, your well-being isn’t up for debate!
The Wrap – Burnout Is Not A Badge Of Honor
Enough is enough.
It’s time to toss that toxic mentality that burnout is something to brag about and showcase. Your value isn’t measured by your busyness or your willingness to push yourself to the brink.
I want you to shift gears starting today. Reclaim your life by making self-care non-negotiable, setting boundaries that respect your well-being, and rejecting a culture that glorifies self-destructive hustle.
I realize this is easier said than done, but do you really want to roll the dice with your health? With your life?
Remember, you can have it all, just not all at once—just choose wisely.
I’m cheering you on.
Jules Simon, a health and wellness blogger on a mission to help people redefine their relationship with work, health, and self-care. I share personal insights and actionable tips based on my own journey through burnout & chronic illness recovery. Learn more: Xojulessimon.com
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