You guys, I’m burnt out.

I have no clue why I’m writing this.  Seriously.

I have to deliver a 2.5 hour program this evening on radiographic technique (that I started writing last night and legit isn’t anywhere near done), and I have a full day of meetings ahead of me.

Something about the coffee to creamer ratio and the Backstreet Boys playlist I’m jamming out to is compelling me to allow these words to flow from my burnt out brain.

That’s right – you all called it and it’s happening; I think I’m starting to burn out – or at least I THOUGHT I was…

Thanksgiving came and went and with it came the cherished sliver of time I had with my sister.  Something always fills my heart with SO much joy when she’s in town (no worries, she was required to take a PCR COVID test in order to get off the island of Puerto Rico and another PCR in order to get back onto the island).  Anyone who knows me knows that when she’s in town, I go dark.  Nothing else matters but spending time, giggling and making memories with her.

Sunday morning, I held her as this strong, beautiful and resilient woman cried in my arms, saddened to have to say goodbye.  I had to be the strong one because – well, no because, I just was.  After she left, I sauntered into my office to open up an Outlook inbox of emails needing my attention, programs needing to be written and tasks I had no interest in completing.

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I had deadlines and tasks I needed to complete, but instead I spent my time brining my turkey and reviewing my sweet potatoes recipe.

So here I was… still in a turkey coma, slightly hungover, heartbroken and exhausted.  I had NO interest in rolling up my sleeves and writing amazing content to inspire the world, nor did I have any enthusiasm to respond to emails.

One of my business coaches emailed me: “You’ve been on my mind.  I wanted to check in.  How are things at your end?”  and I was honest with her and with myself – I told her I was overwhelmed and burnt out; I felt like I was lacking control over my work and I was struggling with clarity.

This is it, I thought to myself… this is how The Dental WINEgenist goes down – she suffocates herself in her own work!

Others had warned me: “be careful, you’re going to burn yourself out…” and as the Enneagram 3 I am, I knew they were wrong… because clearly its impossible to burn out when you love what you do, right?

Let’s fast forward to the good stuff:  I couldn’t shake it.  Yesterday, I worked a full clinical day, and yet the emails kept coming in… “Katrina, do you have this for me?”…. “Katrina, can you sign this and return it?”… “Katrina, when can we schedule xyz?”….

Last night, I sat down to write this damn program and yet, couldn’t do it – I opened up my journal and wrote.  And I have never felt more clarity in my whole life!  So for those of you who are also feeling burnout, perhaps this will help.  Here are the prompts I wrote about:

Brain Dump the Negatives

I wrote about all of the things that were overwhelming me, but even deeper than that.  I wrote about how I don’t have a system for organizing my emails, I should be automating some of this, why do I avoid emails that require my extreme focus, why do I have information all over the place, why does it seem like every task involves 17 million other tasks (example: “Katrina, we need you to sign this contract” turns into it not being an editable PDF so I have to print it and sign it/scan it but my printer is out of ink so I need to go to Office Max just to literally sign a damn contract…)

Brain Dump the Positives

Here’s the thing: writing about the negatives gave me clarity on the things I need to do to get my $h*t together.  I wrote about how all of the negatives are fixable if I just stop being a victim, sort through the things I can control, and rise above.  As one of my favorite life coaches says: “they don’t serve champagne at pity parties”

Track Your Progress

I started to develop a plan – things I needed to do to work through the things that got in the way, and critically evaluate the things most important to me: Energy, Focus, Foggy Thinking, Digestion, Pain and Mood.  For example: perhaps pairing boxed wine with about 7 handfuls of Junior Mints while posting dumb Instagram stories is maybe NOT the best way to elevate my energy, focus, thoughts and mood prior to having to build this still incomplete program (that I am delivering in less than 8 hours…). So how can I do a better job of setting myself up for success

You see, I realized that I’m not actually burnt out – just crawling out from the depths of my business and recognizing that it is perfectly acceptable to honor the holidays and beautiful time with family; realizing that the same grit and tenacity I needed when launching my business would need to pour out of me in taking control over the next layers of my work and most importantly – if you’re gonna whine, you Dental WINEgenist, throw away the Franzia and make sure it’s a decent vino you’re sipping…

Chins up, babes – we’ve got this!

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