I’m tired of people romanticizing overexertion. Exhausted is not the new chic, coffee (though a delicious necessity) is not a food group, and running on fumes is not admirable. Why do we hold pedestals for sleepless nights, breakdowns, and inner turmoil? Are those really things to aspire to? Self-care. Balance. The ability to know when your body, mind, and spirit need to take a step back. Those are things we should admire. We have to stop blurring the line between ‘commitment’ and self-endangerment because too many people are burning out before they have a chance to truly shine.
I’m one of the most competitive people you’ll meet. And even as I work to build a home of mindfulness and self-care, I hear the messages that schools and workplaces and other generations put on students today.
Put in 5 hours of practice a day.
Get a job.
Study for your classes.
Build a resume.
Just being average calls for insane amounts of work, let alone striving for any sort of extra success.
So here I am, working on my Music Education degree, listening to all of the requirements and classes and observations and countless other tasks presented before me, with all of these people are reminding me not too work too hard or I’ll get burnt out.
And then one night it hit me.
Sitting on the floor of the percussion studio, I was too drained to pick up a pair of sticks or work on my marimba lesson piece. The instruments and books that allow me to do my favorite things in the world didn’t have any appeal. I was burnt out.
With all of the negative energies surrounding the phrase burnt out, I assumed that it was some horrible music-career ending thing. What I discovered that night, is that we all get burnt out. The thing that is actually important is that we allow ourselves to come back.
Being burnt out for a night isn’t the end of the world. It’s okay to take a night off because you physically can’t push through any more. It’s okay to listen to your body, listen to your brain, and save the energy for productive work after a relax and reset.
I’m working on reminders of why I keep going, a support system of people to talk to, and a quiet place to comfortably escape responsibility (in a responsible way). I’m trying to teach myself how to be okay with readjusting schedules for nights that my brain just can’t productively push through; and in doing that, I’ve found more success than otherwise.
So yeah, I’m a music major. I put in a lot of hours. I love what I do.
I do get burnt out.
But I get back up and shine.
If you’re reading this tonight and you struggle with feeling burnt out, I need you to know that being burnt out doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It does not mean you aren’t meant for this life or this career or this place. It means you’re human. It means you’re working hard. And it means you had a flame in the first place.