The Black Woman and Burnout

By Raven Young

I wish I could tell y’all I’m writing this from a place of love and light and carefree days, but I’m going to be 100% transparent and honest. I am facing a level of burnout I haven’t had in a while. I’m juggling a full-time career, marriage, and being a mom to a perfect one-year-old on top of my spiritual consulting business and writing for this amazing website. I. AM. TIRED Y’ALL. So I’m going channel this dead, negative energy into an advice column of a sort. We’re going to go through everything I’ve done in hopes someone will be able to self-reflect and recognize their burnout and be able to head things off before it gets too bad.

Signs of a Millennial, Mama Burnout (or burn out for every day, awesome black woman and how to fix it.)

  1. Disinterest in things you love- This is a big one for me. I know I’m at a new level of exhaustion when I can’t take ten minutes to do a yoga practice or watch the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
    1. The fix— self-reflect and look back at WHY you can’t take ten minutes or 45 minutes for yourself. Think about the last time you did what you loved and how it made you feel. Focus on those feelings, channel them in the moment, and then if time allows, DO IT! And after you’re done, self-reflect again. Allow those good feels from stretching or watching McDreamy on the beach with Meredith Grey to take over.
  2. Procrastination—This is probably the most significant sign of burnout for me. I will push things off (work, this blog post, laundry) because I don’t have the energy. And then the rush to meet a deadline puts me in an anxious state.
    1. The fix—A planner and physically writing things down is more therapeutic than you will ever know. Something about looking organized sends serotonin down my spine. It also is a way to hold yourself accountable. I had a boss that would constantly say, “A goal not written is just hot air.” You need to be able to track progress in a real and tangible way. Also, rewinding to accountability, pick someone from your tribe who will lovingly but firmly help hold you accountable. This does NOT excuse your self-accountability, but I’ve found I’m more willing to get things done when others know my deadline/goals and are for keeping me on track.
  3. The shut down—The most extreme symptom of burnout. You don’t do things you love, avoid people and conversations, and you just shut down. You become a shell of yourself and live in a state of anxiety and exhaustion.
    1. The fix— Lots of forgiveness and grace to yourself. As black women, we are almost always wearing more than one hat and trying to excel at everything. And that’s what makes us so strong and unique. But mamas, we must ask for help. We have to accept that sometimes we won’t check every single box or dot every “I” when we want to. Surround yourself with love. Write positive affirmations on your vanity mirror. Schedule a day to take care of YOU. I love the expression “you can’t pour from an empty glass.” Make sure you listen to your body.

I know this isn’t the comprehensive, end all be all fix to burnout, but it’s how I approach these periods in my life. And these things (along with some therapy) keep me from curling up in the fetal position and not accomplishing all the things I’m meant to do. So I hope this helps. I hope that whatever Superwoman out there sees these symptoms and takes care of herself so she can continue to make the world a better place.

Raven Young is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project LLC. Raven is a spiritually driven individual navigating corporate America. Follow her journey and connect on Instagram @raebeyy.

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