Editor Column: The burnout is real this week, let’s give ourselves some grace

Editor Column

Emilie Conlon, Editor-in-Chief


It’s funny, as we started planning content for this week’s edition, I knew I wanted to write a column about how it seems a large majority of us have been feeling lately—burned out, unmotivated and just really emotionally exhausted. 

Okay, so those feelings are not the funny part, the funny part is that while I’m sitting down to write this column, I’m laying in bed, binge watching season five of 90 Day Fiancé on Hulu and debating if I should crack open the pint of Cherry Garcia in the freezer while I wait for motivation and energy to find me. Jury’s still out on when—if at all—it will. 

The reason I wanted to share my thoughts on this topic is not only because in the last week I have been experiencing this on a major level, but after some conversations with a few friends and family members, it seems there’s a general consensus this week: We’re tired. 

Work is harder this week, general mundane tasks are harder this week, our energy levels are lower, we aren’t feeling social, we’re just straight up not having a good time this week. And while it sounds crazy that we can all be feeling the same at the same time, none of us can really seem to find an answer. 

I’m not sure if it’s the brutally cold and snowy weather, the fact that we haven’t seen the sun in about three months, cabin fever from quarantine or work from home burnout, but something has felt off this week. 

Personally, I can take a few stabs at why I might be feeling this way and I can speak for myself. For me, I am currently going through a period of change in my life, and I have been since about July, nonstop. I moved in July, switched duties at work, had my grandfather pass away in August and started getting serious about my mission with Valley Sentinel in September, all while trying to change my disciplines and habits to continuously work on myself and my character. I’m just now, barely feeling like I can come up for a breath of air. 

The ability to change and the adaptability of human beings is a beautiful thing. But change is hard, change is ugly and change is messy. It’s not an easy process and sometimes you feel like you don’t even recognize yourself. That can be an emotional disaster for someone, and sometimes, you just need to find peace. 

If you don’t find that peace yourself, your body will find a way to do it for you, and maybe that’s when you lose your motivation to do anything but watch TV on the couch and order food for take out. 

For me, I’m someone who at times struggles with anxiety and depression, so motivation and positive attitude can sometimes be difficult, layer that on top of other stressors, it can be easy to feel exactly like I mentioned before.  

Not to mention we are almost a year into a pandemic and should still be quarantining, sometimes I get majorly cooped up and just want to go back to life before COVID and I get incredibly frustrated that we can’t do that, and there really isn’t much I can do to get us there, not if I’m going to do my part in stopping the spread. 

This happened to me this past weekend: I woke up Saturday morning craving a big plate of fluffy pancakes, but didn’t feel up to going through the whole process of cooking them and cleaning up the dishes. In a pre-COVID world, I would have called up my friend and suggested brunch. I found myself feeling frustrated and emotional that I couldn’t do just that. It’s silly of course to get so frustrated over a plate of pancakes, but also, I think that’s a perfectly normal human response to spending almost a year not being able to go and do the social things that make us happy and reward us for our time spent working. That’s quarantine fatigue for you. 

Don’t even get me started on how many of us are working from home right now. Or should I say living at work? 

The bottom line is that everything seems stressful right now. We are living in a form of society and through a historical event (or a few, it seems) that we could never have been able to dream of, even in the craziest sci-fi, post-apocalyptic work of fiction. We can’t expect to continue operating at our best and we shouldn’t put the pressure on ourselves to continue being and acting like who we were before this. There’s no doubt that the events we’re going through as a society have changed and marked multiple generations forever, I think the last thing we’re worried about right now is forcing ourselves to finish that load of laundry. 

I’m not quite sure what the point of this column is, I’m a writer, it’s nice to write about how I’m feeling and share that with people, but I also know I’m not the only one who has been feeling this way, so I thought maybe sharing my thoughts on why I’m feeling this way might help others have some insight. If anything, you aren’t the only one feeling this way. Give yourself some grace, rest and come back stronger. 

And if you’re reading this thinking that I’m totally crazy, and this time has been the best time of your life, you’ve been the most productive you’ve ever been, that’s amazing. I’m so happy for you. Please reach out, share with us in a letter to the editor as to why that’s the case. We want to celebrate with you, and please, please share your motivation and positivity with the rest of us. 

Until then, I’ll be in my blanket burrito, making my way towards season six of 90 Day Fiancé.

Also, I’m totally cracking open that ice cream in the name of self care.