Burn Out is Real, But You Can Always Reignite the Flame

Is anyone else feeling exhausted or overwhelmed lately? I don’t mean from day-to-day responsibilities like work or school, but rather our civic and social responsibilities. 2020 is about halfway over, and so far, it’s smacked us with so many new daily concerns. How do we live our lives while also being civilly and socially conscious? It’s exhausting to think about.

We’re living through a global pandemic. We’re undergoing a social revolution in the form of the next major civil rights movement. We’re amping up towards a major presidential election. We’re watching the eyes of many open up for the first time to social injustice, while many others tightly shut it out. We’re fearing both the health and safety of humanity and the economic prosperity of our country. We’re experiencing history.

But we’re also trying to continue living and moving forward. So how do you reconcile the burnout and exhaustion with the overwhelming need to be a part of this chapter in history?

I find myself feeling guilty for not being as active as I would like to be, even though I spend most of my non-working hours (and many of my working hours, too) educating myself and others, advocating for things I care about and doing the best I can to make a positive impact on the world. But it just feels like I could be doing so much more. There are so many issues the world is facing right now, it’s overwhelming. I want to do something about everything, but realistically, I know that’s not possible.

I usually try to come up with some sort of solution to the emotional issues I face, but not with this. I’m not going to tell myself—or anyone else—that I don’t need to feel guilty about being exhausted and overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of global injustices I want to take on. But I am going to recognize and accept those feelings of guilt and inferiority. I’m not going to try to make them go away. I don’t want them to go away. I firmly believe those feelings are what motivate me, and I refuse to lose my motivation. Hopefully, someday, I’ll be in a better position to make the impact I want to make.

Let yourself feel exhausted and overwhelmed for a little bit. Right now, the world is exhausting and overwhelming. But don’t let the burn out burn you down. Let it drive you to be better.

Stay healthy, stay safe.


Kayla W.