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Waking up and hitting the snooze button. Continually feeling tired throughout the day. There’s no spark, excitement, or passion, because quite honestly, every day feels like a homework assignment you don’t have the energy to do. You constantly feel behind—not just in your performance at work—but also in your relationships and connection to self. And then there’s stress.
Stress prevents you from being as productive as you once were, which often results in incomplete projects and an ever-growing to-do list. As hard as you try, it can sometimes feel like you just can't climb out from under the pile. This is what burnout can look like for many, and this growing epidemic is a thief that robs the world of passionate change agents, influencers, leaders, teachers, artists, and innovators.
The term “burnout” was coined in the 1970s by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger to describe severe stress and high ideals. Burnout has a wide range of symptoms—apathy and a sense of hopelessness being the #1 killer of joy. There’s this sense that nothing is going right or nothing matters. As the symptoms worsen, these feelings may become immobilizing, making it seems like "what's the point?"
If this sounds like you, you might feel perplexed, as you’ve done everything the experts say you should do. You tried sleeping longer hours, improving diet, taking time for yoga, and writing in a journal. You even seek refuge outside the city when you can to pick up the pieces of your own sanity. Yet, even after all the wishing and hoping (and a few too many cups of coffee) nothing seems to budge you to move forward in life.
I know first hand how exhausting it can be trying to move beyond the cycles of burnout. But why? I spent years as an entrepreneur feeling on top of the world when I was staying busy and getting things done. In hindsight, pushing hard all the time caused me to move from a state of lack. Somewhere in me was a strong belief that I am not enough. What I love has always been tangled up in my profession, so it became a blind spot. Until I was bumping up against burnout, it was hard to see my relationship with myself and work was the issue.
Hustling is aggressive, forceful, and most importantly, it’s a hurried approach to reach a goal or offer a service. Anytime you feel hurried you tend to be slightly out of alignment, no longer experiencing joy in the moment.
As I started to witness this in myself and shift away from the hustle, I was able to see that my days looked like a squirrel munching and hoarding acorns. However, every time I believed that I was breaking up with the hustle mentality, I found myself back at it again. Logic unconvinced that doing less or having faith was a step towards accomplishment.
I noticed many of the high achievers I've worked with have this strong belief that for one to be successful in life, you have to fill up your time with pushing through, constantly. Our brain works like a computer—programming gets inputted in from experiences, other individuals or society, and we start to identify as the software. We can live in logic, powering through and being practical, or on the other side of the spectrum wishful, waiting around hoping things will come to you. I’m here to tell you there is a place in between.
This middle path helps to make a change to occur in conformity with will. Our will is our most powerful tool which gives us the freedom to make choices. The human condition spins counter-clockwise, against the will of nature which causes us to feel negative and supports our inner dialogue that life is a struggle. Burnout is a result of the thoughts we are thinking, the forces behind our why. Do you stay busy to feel needed and special?
We can adopt as many affirmations and Jedi mind tricks as we’d like, but at the core of this epidemic lies our issue with self-worth. As I continue to discover this greater worthiness, the emotional charge to fight or deny fades. There is a way to serve others while meeting my own needs and living an abundant life. I just needed to get out of my own way first. Energetic healing and training handed down through ancient mystery school tradition has been the strongest catalyst to achieve this state in my life. Tools to shift perception supported me in seeing motivations and blocks I was previously unaware of.
Like any pattern or program wired in us, it takes time to break down a system and implement a new version. This world can be our playground to learn, grow, and try new things if we allow ourselves time to stop constantly striving.
Waking up and for once, preemptively turning off the snooze button. Continually feeling a lightness at work, in a flow state—tinges of spark, excitement, and passion bubbling through, just because. You feel in the right place at the right time, and the right amount of pressure empowers you to trust the middle path.
Want more tips on fighting burnout? Follow Emily Leahy on Instagram and Twitter at @iamemilyleahy.
February is Black History Month—a celebration of the achievements and contributions of African Americans in society. As the beauty and wellness industry becomes a more welcoming and inclusive space for all, we are taking this opportunity to continue to shine a light on the gap of inclusivity and diversity in our industry, and take action to promote, empower, and honor the Black community that shapes and grows wellness.
While the beauty industry is making improvements—it's important to showcase and support Black businesses and the creatives in this space every day. To honor them, we're shouting out some of our favorite Black-owned beauty and wellness businesses to support.
Beauty Bin is a full-service day spa and dry bar located in Asheville, NC. With a focus on inclusivity for people of all backgrounds, genders, and races, their MO is to match the outer beauty of every client to their inner beauty. From eyelash extensions and hydrafacials to waxing and massage, Beauty Bin is a one-stop-shop for all the spa services.
The KIKA Method® is a gentle assisted stretching process that loosens up tight muscles freeing your body from pain and stress. By practicing this method, clients can experience decreased muscle tension, increased energy, enhanced flexibility, a substantial reduction in stress, improved posture and relaxation, and increased mental clarity. While its headquarters is located in Las Vegas, NV, they have multiple locations sprinkled throughout the US, including Atlanta, New York City, and Dallas—just to name a few.
At Kimberly Coleman Salon, their philosophy begins with promoting healthy tresses, elegant sets, unique accouterments, perfect pampering of hands and feet, and precision cuts. Known for working with models and celebrities, they fully appreciate and celebrate the diversity of their clientele which also includes super moms and warrior dads.
Pressed Roots was developed with the simple concept in mind—that everyone deserves access to easy, and quality hair care. What started as a single pop-up shop in Boston, grew to a multi-city pop-up tour, and is now slated to be the largest national hair salon franchise specializing in the care and styling of highly textured hair, they launched their first flagship location in Dallas, TX.
Jersey City resident, Alyza Brevard-Rodriguez started SW3AT. The company began as a fitness apparel line in 2015 but evolved into a sanctuary catered to health and wellness now known as SW3AT Sauna Studio—the first infrared sauna studio in Jersey City. The healing power of infrared heat therapy is a phenomenal option for holistic health proven to strengthen the immune system and provide relief from joint stiffness and muscle pain. It is also supportive of any fitness program as it aids in weight loss (you can torch up to 900 calories in a 45-minute session) while also detoxifying your body from some of the most harmful toxins.
Kelli Coleman and Anika Jackson opened The TEN Nail Bar in Detroit to address a void in their city. They saw a need for a quality, modern nail bar that could also serve as a fun social space for Detroit’s residents and professionals. They designed the TEN to provide their clients with a #Perfect10 experience—where you can relax, enjoy music, a drink, your friends, a clean and precise manicure, and a much-needed break from all your hectic days.
Located in the beautiful downtown Hyde Park Chicago area, Bettye O Day Spa specializes in first-class treatments. They aim to nurture and relax each of their clients with individualized and innovative therapeutic techniques. From body wraps and massages to facials and hydrotherapy, this day spa promises to be a safe place for healing to occur.
Looking for more businesses to support? ClassPass has also created a list of Black-owned business to check out all year-round. While both of these lists are a great start to get you familiar with many of the Black-owned businesses either in your neighborhood or around the globe, we have only scratched the surface. We'd love to keep these lists growing.If you have any businesses you'd like to see on this list, click here to submit a Black-owned business we should be highlighting as well!