Navigating Burnout: Stories from Women in the Workplace

By Temidayo Awosanmi

Mar 21, 2024

In a world where people often juggle multiple roles and responsibilities, the relentless pursuit of success can sometimes take a heavy toll on us. In our Women’s Month series, we want to shed light on a topic that resonates deeply with countless people and women worldwide: burnout.

Article Cover - Navigating Burnout

This article explores the unfiltered experiences of women who have confronted burnout, sharing their struggles and successes.

To protect the privacy and anonymity of the individuals involved, all names in the following stories have been changed.

Susan, 51 - Accountant

"I used to feel excited about going to my job, but suddenly, it was replaced with overwhelming fatigue. It was tiring to get out of bed in the morning and I lost interest in my daily work routine, which I used to love. I realized I was only going to the job because I had to earn a living.

To help me navigate this, I remind myself of my 'why' which is to provide for my children and give them an advantage in life. I also try to avoid being in denial and acknowledge that experiencing burnout is not uncommon, and I focus on activities that bring me happiness while staying mindful of my thoughts and emotions."

Kristy, 25 - Marketing Lead

"My burnout story started at my job working at a marketing agency which was stressful, especially doing the same tasks over again. Despite the initial challenges of our small staff number, more responsibilities were continuously delegated to me even after the hiring of new staff.

The increasing workload eventually took its toll on me when I was wrongly blamed for a task that was not mine to handle. That was my breaking point (I think I cried, I am not certain).

To navigate this, I reached out to my partner for emotional support, it is always great to have someone to talk about it with. I also had a conversation with my boss about the multiple tasks that were not mine to handle and I am happy we resolved it."

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Haley, 24 - Writer

"I have experienced multiple burnouts but the year of August 2022 marked a significant period of burnout for me. Balancing multiple jobs and volunteering responsibilities took a toll on my mental wellbeing.

As an extrovert, who particularly loves being around people, I realized I was withdrawing to myself. I found myself unable to perform my best and resorted to stress-eating.

To navigate this challenging time, I made a conscious decision to take a break from everything. As a writer, I stopped writing from August to December 2022, disconnecting from work and focusing on activities that brought me joy, like watching K-dramas and prioritizing sufficient rest."

Woman expressing being under stress

Anu, 24 - Social Media Manager

"I started experiencing constant headaches, even after resting. I had pushed myself beyond my limits, trying to avoid any hint of laziness. The constant need for coming up with ideas at my job became exhausting, leading me to realize that I was burnt out. I reached a point where I felt fed up with work and discovered that I was happier when I engaged in activities unrelated to my job.

Navigating through burnout was tough, especially because I desperately needed a break from work. Unfortunately, I couldn't take one due to the end-of-year peak period at my company.

While burnout doesn't disappear overnight, I found ways to cope. I focused on activities that brought me joy, like spending time with friends and family, prioritizing my time with God, getting enough rest, reducing my screen time, indulging in my cravings, and staying hydrated."

woman in front of laptop expressing frustration and fatigue

Jemima, 26 - Operations & Strategy

"I started noticing that I was becoming unnecessarily cranky and easily irritated. I decided to take some time to sit with my emotions and figure out what was going on with me. That's when I realized I was just tired and burnt out.

To navigate through this challenging time, I try to take time off from work. If that's not possible, I push through and engage in activities that bring me joy. I might binge-watch a series or movie, listen to Afrobeats music that makes me want to dance, take a walk, read a fiction novel, or visit a friend to chat about random things and just escape from the pressures of the world.

Florence, 28 - Software Engineer

"I began to notice a persistent feeling of demotivation and sadness. There were times when I would break down and feel overwhelmed, questioning whether I was doing enough. I also found myself experiencing a creative block, struggling to come up with new ideas.

Being self-aware, I made a conscious effort to acknowledge these feelings and avoid denying them. I recognized the importance of taking breaks, whether it was for 24 hours, a week, or even a month, depending on what I needed. During these breaks, I focused on relaxation and revisited my goals and vision board to help guide my motivation.

One of my go-to strategies for finding inspiration and fresh ideas is diving into books. Reading allows me to explore different perspectives and get ideas that spark creativity. I also find podcasts featuring top individuals in my niche helpful."

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