I’m writing this blog post in the dark, sitting on the floor of our bedroom, as the 9-year-old falls asleep, the last refrains of the cat meditation she loves mewling from my phone. Downstairs, my partner is also typing in the dark like some kind of WFH fugitive, hoping the 2-year-old doesn’t wake up. Tomorrow will be a flurry of meals cooked with conference calls in our ears, muting a strategic Zoom meeting to try to remember rudimentary geometry, fishing sinister pieces of plastic out of a tiny mouth, hoping a flailing kid doesn’t somehow send that video of her singing the potty song to a client.
Our situation isn’t unique — many are facing days as chaotic and impossible, and many are facing far worse. They’re struggling with unemployment, being forced to choose between physical safety and a paycheck, facing pervasive systemic inequities, caring for family and friends sick with the virus, and grappling with the grief of losing loved ones.
So, it’s no wonder that there have been about a library-worth of articles written on burnout in 2020. There are articles about parental burnout, nurse burnout, essential worker burnout, teacher burnout, remote work burnout, Zoom burnout, quarantine burnout. It’s fair to say 2020, among a lot of other things, is officially the Year of Burnout.
That’s why Brené Brown’s podcast episode with Emily and Amelia Nagoski was a breath of fresh air. Brené and her guests, the authors of Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, offer science-backed guidance on how to move through constant stress, recover from burnout, and thrive again.
This episode is chock-full of great learning on how to, as Emily and Amelia say, complete the stress cycle, which allows you to reach a state of equilibrium. The authors also emphasize that the process of recovering from habitual stress is not a solo adventure — it’s a collective activity. The lessons here are invaluable in informing the kind of emotionally intelligent leadership that the workforce — and the staffing industry — need right now.
Looking for more podcasts episodes that will increase your EQ? Check out my interview with Mullady Voelker, President of Strategic Growth at GIFTED Healthcare, where we talk about trauma-informed leadership and how to lead through uncertain times.