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Burnout? Or depression?

Categories: Hacking Life, Making Time, The Juggle, Working? Living?

1 comment

Summer has never equaled downtime for me, not since I was a teenager (and, given that I was working at my mom’s restaurant by the time I was 12, maybe not even then). This year, for the first time in a decade, my stepkids didn’t spend the summer with us (teenagers!), but while I missed them a lot, my summer schedule wasn’t any less hectic for their absence.

For one thing, my 6- and 4-year-old had camp and activities and friends to juggle, and for another, since I work from home and my husband still has a crazy-long commute, 98 percent of the kid-related care and activities and scheduling falls to me now, a pretty big change from just a couple of years ago.

And it would be fine except that, as the breadwinner, I’m also stressing about 100 percent of the bills. And, as those of you who work from home know, when you’re office is at home you never really stop being at work.

I still firmly believe that you have to make your own happiness. But I also can’t deny that I have moved beyond “stressed” and into something unfamiliar to me, something that friends and extended family have worriedly labeled either “burnout” or “depression.”

According to psychologist Joan Borysenko, Ph.D, author of “Fried: Why You Burn Out and How to Revive,” the two can look very similar. Both involve exhaustion, loss of interest, and lowered productivity, but there’s a key difference: “Burnout is work-related while depression affects your entire life,” Borysenko tells CBSMoneywatch. “If you’re burned out and you get a long enough vacation, you revive, whereas depressed people do not.”

Have you ever been truly burned out? How did you recharge yourself—and how long did it take for you to recover?

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One comment so far...

  • I don’t think so. I have reached a very stressful turning point a few times in my career, but it hasn’t taken long for me to figure out what my new direction might be.

    I guess for me, if I’m too much out of equilibrium, I recognize that a significant change is needed, and I get serious about figuring out what that change might be. Sometimes it’s a new attitude, sometimes it’s a diet or other physical adjustment. And once I figure it out and start implementing it, things get better pretty quickly.

    Then again, I don’t have significant ups and downs by nature. And also, when I “need” a break, a short break generally does the trick - even if it’s only 10 or 20 minutes.

    One thing I recommend to people who are in a long slump is to consider adding a vitamin D supplement. Over time, this made a big difference for me. A short yoga session each morning is nice also - though I must admit I fell out of practice around the time I became a mom, and haven’t gotten back into it.

    SKL  |  August 16th, 2011 at 1:31 am