Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, VP of Content and Engaged Learning for WorkInSports.com and this is the Work in Sports podcast…
I’ve been thinking a lot about energy, burnout and mental health lately - so in searching through our database of inbound questions for this here show, I was hunting and pecking for questions on this subject...and I found a lot.
This is something many of you are dealing with and want to discuss. These are very personal subjects, but I think it can help to have a larger discussion so that you, the individual at home, can know you are not alone in this battle for mental health and energy and the battle against burnout.
I picked this one from jane in Ohio -- but really I could have picked 20 others. Before I get into Jane’s question, know that you can send me your career-focused questions either by connecting with me on LinkedIn and messaging me there or by emailing be at bclapp at workinsports.com --
Here’s Jane’s really good question --
“Hi Brian, I’m a big fan of the podcast and the knowledge you share - you have helped me immensely in my career. I have a topic for you to discuss on your show. In the first few months of quarantine, I framed my mind around the idea that this would be just a few months, and I could get through it. I took a pay cut but kept my job, and I’ve sat in my apartment essentially by myself for 3 months, but I kept telling myself it was temporary. The longer this drags on, the more I feel myself losing hope. I don’t mean suicidal or anything that dramatic, but I would use terms like depressed, confused, frustrated, and kind of burnt out. I’m not looking to you to solve me in a clinical sense, I just want to have the conversation so that others know they aren’t alone if they are feeling the same way”
Hey Jane, first off thanks for your email, showing this level of vulnerability and putting yourself out there is impressive, so thank you.
First I’ll share a couple of personal anecdotes then we’ll get into a little more robust ideas on how to handle this. I want to stress beforehand, I’m not a doctor or psychiatrist and if you are feeling depressed and having suicidal thoughts, please I beg you talk to someone. Someone you love, someone with expertise - just talk to someone. Another voice matters.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been thinking a lot about burnout, energy, and mental health lately.
Energy is an important topic to me -- and think of energy like spirit, enthusiasm and excitement -- not necessarily the ability to run a marathon.
I believe, we all have things in our life that provide us energy. We gain energy from certain experiences, lifestyles, endeavors, challenges -- I know people who gain energy from social experiences, so they needed to have a balance of work and workplace social engagement. I know people that gain energy from completing a complex task, so they always kept a Rubix cube with them, or a book of puzzles, I know others that gain energy from their environment -- so a walk in the woods or a run makes them feel energized.
I think learning this about yourself is one of the most important goals you can have in life.
What gives you strength, energy, vitality enthusiasm?
Pay attention to your body and your energy levels and understand what makes them grow and change and diminish and flourish.
When you figure this out, lean into those experiences.
I battle some seasonal depression -- maybe depression isn’t the right word, but when the sun goes down early and the weather is cold, I lose my energy focus and “want to”. I am solar-powered, I love the green of the trees, the noises of nature, the sun on my body. That makes me feel energized. So with that in mind, and our current situation I have been worried about my own mental state when things turn grey again. I know that I have to focus on getting outside no matter the weather. I have to make that time each day.