I was recently asked whether I was going through any of the burnout phases. I declined politely, saying I’m far from experiencing any of them. I do though tend to overreact a lot (this I didn’t say), but that is not an odd behavioral change. My overreactions are more of a personality trait, and not necessarily a sign that I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown.They do however tend to coincide with PMS.
After declining politely the diagnostic suggestion, I added that I usually enjoy stressful situations because I (still) love challenges. They make me feel alive and allow me to push further. I should maybe have revealed that I actually feel the opposite. I’m bored. I don’t feel challenged enough. It feels like I am suffering from viral boredom. And there is actually a word for that. Or rather a syndrome. The Bore-out syndrome. “The lack of work, boredom and consequent lack of satisfaction”. This apparently is common among individuals working in modern organizations, especially in office-based jobs.
So I am not alone. It is rather the absence of meaningful intellectually challenging tasks than the presence of stress, that is my biggest problem. So what now? Usually when you try to explain this at work, you get shuffled with more meaningless, repetitive, dull tasks.
So how to avoid falling into a vicious circle of meaninglessness? How to avoid the b-stings? Neither being burned out nor bored-out? Well, it always comes down to the magic trick. Finding the right balance. Maybe adjusting the expectations to what challenges work can provide, explore if there is intellectual fun to be had elsewhere? Being a bit bored every now and then is probably even good (and there is for sure an online article somewhere about that too).
Everything depends on the equilibrium, on the ‘just right’. I learned today that in Swedish they have a special word for this, ‘lagom’. Well, I guess in nearly all languages you have a special word that describes effortless the right balance you have to strike in life (to be happy). Not too little, not too much. ‘Pan Metron Ariston’ as the Greeks say. Finding the right equilibrium and balance. In life.
After all consideration, just-rightness, lagom-ness and the eternal balancing act, I decided to halt. To push the pause button. I will inhale very deeply and exhale all anger, frustration, and impatience. And then I will try to enjoy the now. Without any thoughts on yesterday or tomorrow. Just now.