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Worn Out and Maybe Burned Out

Ever feel worn out and/or burned out?  Don’t worry you aren’t alone.  As a matter of fact most people have this happen to them and I have it happening right now.  I even started a this thread on SQLServerCentral to get some advice about it.  This is why my blogging has been limited recently, I just don’t want to be on my computer once I get home from work.  I’ve basically been just keeping up with email via my phone. 

So what started it?

Really, I can’t point to one thing that started it, but I can say that between some bad lifestyle choices and a confluence of life events probably led to it. 

First the bad lifestyle choices:

  1. Bad diet.  I was munching on junk food all the time, particularly at night, the worst time to do that.
  2. No exercise.  I used to at least play basketball on a regular basis, but I let that fall off and never replaced it with anything.
  3. Not enough sleep.  I wasn’t doing anything, but I wasn’t sleeping well either.

Now the life events:

  1. Potential work change.  I don’t know if I’m mentioned this before, but my current position at New Tribes Mission is a 4 year commitment that ends at the end of June 2011.  I know it seems far away but my wife and I believe we need to make a decision by the end of January so both NTM and we can make the necessary plans.  You can read more about this on our ministry blog here & here.  This could also lead to a change in fields.  I still enjoy working with SQL Server and doing development work, but not like I used to when I‘d dream in code.
  2. Alice’s Dad, my father-in-law, being diagnosed and having surgery for stomach cancer, subsequently entering a nursing home, and being told he is terminal.  You can follow this here.
  3. Our middle child, Evan (9), breaking his left arm at school, a “nasty” break according to the orthopedic surgeon.  He required a plate and 6 screws.
  4. Semi-crunch time on the never ending project at the office.

All this led to my ending up in the ER the Sunday before Thanksgiving because I had chest pains.  I ended up spending the night in the hospital for observation.  Praise the Lord, I hadn’t had a heart attack, but I am dealing with some kind of digestive issue still to be determined and high cholesterol. 

So how do I get out of it?

Well, oddly enough I started coming out of it the week before I ended up in the hospital.  I spoke with my boss about the potential work change and started walking before work and at lunch.  Of course, being in the hospital tends to send you back into a funk.  Added to that I found out my father has cancer in the lymph nodes on the left side of his neck…

Here’s what I’m trying to help me get re-motivated and help me avoid it in the future:

  1. Exercise.  I had started before I went to the hospital and it was helping, now with high cholesterol I need to do it even more.  Still keeping at a walk until I finish some follow-up doctor visits, but it IS making a difference in my energy level and ability to focus.
  2. Diet.  Again this is partly due to medical issues, but I’m on a low fat diet and eating more fruits and vegetables.  I’m hungry a lot because of reduced portions and not as much snacking, but it is helping as well.
  3. Sleep.   Getting enough rest is definitely important for anyone to function at an optimal level.  The amount of sleep each person needs will vary, but if you are struggling every day, it is probably time to get some rest.
  4. Priorities.  Just getting one thing accomplished each day is a motivator.  I need to do a better job of setting tasks so I can check something off each day.
  5. Friends.  Just getting advice on the thread I started on SSC and talking with friends and family has made a big difference.  Talking about problems is hard, but it is necessary.
  6. Perspective.  In the grand scheme of things my life is pretty good.  I have a job where I can take a week off to help care for my children without issues, who else can say that?  See my What I’m Thankful For post for other things.
  7. Faith.  This is part of who I am and really does help me get through some tough times.  Knowing that God has a plan helps me to relax and not worry. 

What about you?  Have you been there?  What have you done to overcome it?


Posted by Jason Brimhall on 2 December 2010

Good to see you have a plan to get it fixed now.

Posted by Jason E Bacani on 3 December 2010

Thanks for sharing.  And I hope things go better for you.  I think burnout is a concern of SQL Server and IT professionals in general, and I am glad it hasn't lead to something more serious for you.  Best of luck, and (if time permits) keep us informed!!!

Posted by Steve Jones on 3 December 2010

Hope you feel better, and good luck moving forward.

Posted by Jack Corbett on 3 December 2010

Thanks for the comments guys.  

I'm not sure I really have a plan to get it fixed, but I have some steps to try that will hopefully help things get better.

At the least the exercise and diet will get my health in line.

Posted by Tim Mitchell on 9 December 2010

Identifying the cause(s), and being willing to address them, is at least half the battle.  Hang in there.

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