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My Burnout Made It’s Debut In A Pretty Pink Dress

On January 2, 2020, it was 6pm and I was getting dressed for a friend’s wedding. For 30 minutes I was battling between indecision of what to wear and worrying that I was running late (it started at 7pm and I had an hour to drive) …running late was an understatement. When I finally picked a dress, it wouldn’t zip. The damn dress wouldn’t zip! All the praying and cursing wasn’t helping. In that moment after one last failed attempt, I fell to the floor in a puddle and started crying. Not cute tears crying but ugly crying aka ‘cow bawlin’ as known to us Caribbean people! Eventually by the grace of God I zipped the dress, and made it to the wedding, 30 minutes late.

This was the moment I knew I was on the verge of a complete breakdown and needed to make some changes in my life or risk something worse than crying in a pink puddle over a wardrobe malfunction.

So how did I get to this point? My theory is sheer exhaustion and unhappiness. I was exhausted from work and unhappy in my job and personal life. In that moment, I thought about all the college friends and worried about navigating the “what you been up to?” “How’s the job?” “how come you’re not married?” questions. Now there are clearly a few things that led to this point, but let’s talk about one of the biggies, I was burned out from my job. Burnt to a crisp.

Burnout is one of these intangible things that can be difficult to describe but it’s something most of us can relate to and/or experienced at some point in our lives. I define it as physical and mental exhaustion with no motivation to do anything. In other words, fren was too tired to give a sh*t.

I give credit to long work hours, limited boundaries and lack of self care as the root cause for my burnout.

I had bills, so…work?

My average workday was a minimum of 12 hours. During the busiest times of the year, I was working 12- 15 hour days and weekends for months on end. I did this for almost eight years. In the beginning, I was so happy to have a job and suffered from imposter syndrome that I worked hard to prove myself and focused on that paycheck.

What are these boundaries you speak of?

Friend here had no boundaries. I never said no to my work tasks, worked long days and weekends. I’d pull 60 hour work weeks minimum and for a select few months out of the year had the honor of spending Saturdays and Sundays toiling away as well. I didn’t know at the time how unsustainable this was. I was in my mid-20s and had yet to learn that the era of bouncing back from all nighters, eating pasta at 3 am and being out partying like I didn’t have a home…was coming to end.

Who had time for self care?

I knew what self care was or at least I think I did. It was occasional spa days and one off vacation days right? Wrong. I didn’t understand that I needed daily physical and mental escapes from the stressors. When we’re young we tend to operate on one speed…fast. We often think “this is just for a time” “I know this isn’t forever so let me power through”. My lack of self care was evident in getting minimal sleep, erratic eating habits, no breaks during the days and ignoring all signs my body desperately communicated to me to slow down.

After almost 8 years of averaging 12 hour days, working weekends during busy seasons and just not taking care of myself, I was forced to acknowledge that this was not working and something had to change.

No one should be surprised I got to the “pink puddle”point. I’m honestly just surprised it took me so long to wake up. Human beings can’t sustain themselves like this for extended periods of time without consequences. If you’re under physical and mental stress constantly, at some point you’ll crash or become a crying mess in a pretty pink dress.



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