Are you caught in the whirlwind of life, wishing you could find an off-switch for your never ending to-do list and anxious mind?
When you’re juggling work, family, and personal commitments it’s easy to become overwhelmed and burned out.
Early signs of burnout include emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and decreased productivity.
Instead of diving into another bottle of wine let’s get to the root of your burnout and find healthy ways to cope and keep burnout at bay.
I asked Dr. Sharon Grossman, a renowned expert and keynote speaker on stress and burnout, to guide us through the stress burnout continuum, so we can recognize the signs of burnout and address them before they become overwhelming.
As someone who has been there, I know firsthand that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to burnout. It’s important to understand the root cause of burnout before crafting a personalized solution.
Dr. Grossman breaks down the complexity of burnout into three distinct profiles: The Thinker, The Feeler, and The Doer.
Each of these profiles has unique characteristics that contribute to stress and burnout.
The Thinker tends to overanalyze everything, leading to excessive stress and anxiety.
The Feeler struggles with boundaries and frequently sacrifices their own well-being to please others.
The Doer takes on more than they can handle due to their constant need for action and productivity.
Perfectionism and impostor syndrome are like silent culprits in the world of burnout. Dr. Grossman and I discuss how these two common factors can drive us to work relentlessly, fearing that any momentary lapse could lead to disaster.
Burnout is a universal experience and by understanding its origins, recognizing its signs, and learning how to set boundaries and manage stress, we can build a brighter, more resilient future for ourselves.
In this episode, Casey and Sharon discuss:
Understanding the root cause of burnout
- The three factors that contribute to burnout: external stressors, underlying stressors and your personality
- Three burnout profiles: The Thinker, The Feeler, and The Doer
- Why perfectionism and impostor syndrome are two of the most common reasons people burn out
- Strategies to prevent & overcome burnout
- Why drinking alcohol to cope with burnout actually makes it worse
3 Ways I Can Support You In Drinking Less + Living More
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Connect with Dr. Sharon Grossman
Dr. Sharon Grossman is a renowned expert and keynote speaker on stress and burnout. She has dedicated their career to equipping people with practical tools and strategies to manage life’s pressures effectively.
Drawing from a rich background in psychology, Dr. Sharon brings a unique blend of personal experience, research-based insights, and practical wisdom to the conversation about the importance of decoding burnout. She continues to impact lives by shining a light on the often unspoken struggles many face in their personal and professional lives. You can find Dr. Sharon on her weekly podcast, Decode Your Burnout.
Learn more about Sharon and how she can help you with burnout, head over to www.drsharongrossman.com
Follow Dr. Grossman on LinkedIn @sharongrossman
Listen to the podcast, Decode Your Burnout
Watch Dr. Grossman’s free burnout training
Connect with Casey
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READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THIS PODCAST INTERVIEW
Are You Burned Out? How To Cope Without Drinking Over It with Dr. Sharon Grossman
Practical tools, strategy, manage life’s pressures effectively, Psychology, personal experience, research-based insight, wisdom, conversation, unspoken struggles, personal and professional lives, relax, reward, struggle, figure out, feeling, coping, behavior, emotions, thoughts, brain, interpret circumstances, life experiences, solutions, drinking to cope, drinking, burnout code, three buckets, are your stresses what’s going on right now?, emotional security, hyper cautious, resilient, take care of myself, scarcity mindset, anxiety, pat on the head, positive feedback, never wanted to let them down, boundaries, expectations, demands, traits, personality, thinker, feeler, doer, fear, irrational thoughts, belief, perfectionism, impostor syndrome, not good enough, quality, people pleasing, approval, say “no”, society, caretakers, successful, feeling, guilty, guilt, resentful, triggers, tolerate, empowerment, more choice, decide, setting expectations, conversation, calendaring, time management, sober, self-worth, productivity, outcomes, identity, relationship with yourself, prove something through your work, overwhelm, skills, life skills, emotional intelligence, uncovering the lies, beliefs, mindfulness, allow to be present, tune into yourself, understand what’s coming from within, what you have control over, refocusing, outside of our control, Enneagram, emotional exhaustion, cynicism, a reduction in your productivity, effectiveness at work, reset, stress burnout continuum, Burnout, burned out, recover, without drinking, stress, importance of decoding burnout, stressors, resources, upbringing
SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Dr. Sharon Grossman
Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.
In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.
Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a buzz, how to sit with your emotions when you’re lonely or angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, how to self soothe without a drink, and how to turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.
I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started.
Hi there. Today, we’re talking all about
Burnout. How to decode it, how to recognize, why you’re burned out, and how to recover from it without drinking.
So, my guest today is Dr. Sharon Grossman. She’s a renowned expert and keynote speaker on stress and burnout. She’s dedicated her career to equipping people with practical tools and strategy to manage life’s pressures effectively. Drawing from a rich background in psychology, Dr. Sharon brings a unique blend of personal experience, research based insights and practical wisdom to the conversation about the importance of decoding burnout, she continues to impact lives by shining a light on the often unspoken struggles many face in their personal and professional lives. You can find Dr. Sharon on her weekly podcast, Decode Your Burnout. I’m so excited you’re here.
I’m so excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me. And I’m looking forward to this conversation,
Casey McGuire Davidson 02:35
too. And I know burnout is something that so many women who are trying to do all the things and then drinking to forget about all the things or is there one way to relax and reward themselves after a long day struggle with and I’m excited to help them figure out why they’re burned out? And how to cope? Do you want to just kind of take us away?
I’ll take you away. Yeah, I mean, to your point, I think this is a really, really important thing that women are dealing with, we know that women take on a whole bunch of stuff. And it’s not just at work, it’s also at home. And so, when you couple the two things together, it can really be too much. And we’re feeling the effect of that. So, you’re feeling stress, and that stress kind of piles on and I like to think of burnout as kind of like this onion, where you’ve got layer upon layer upon layer of stress that just accumulates. And it’s the chronic effects of those layers of stress that basically becomes burnout. And so, you know, you’ve, you’ve heard about burnout, this isn’t anything new. However, I like to talk about, really, now that you know that you’re burned out, what do you do about it? And we, if you go to Google, we hear about things like take a two week vacation. And we’ve seen throughout COVID how people are dealing with it by, you know, getting divorced by quitting their job by taking a sabbatical. We’re kind of jumping into all these different solutions. But I like to say that before you treat the problem, and before you create a solution for yourself, you really have to understand the root of the issue. And that’s where decode your burnout really was born. It’s about looking at how to understand your version of burnout, which might be very different from somebody else’s version of burnout. And the best way that I can explain this is that you and your friend or your colleague or your partner might be under the exact same circumstances. And your ways of coping with that circumstance can be very different.
So, we know that it’s not just the circumstance that we have to look at, we also have to look at the coping, and we have to look at and coping is really just a behavior. We also have to look at what comes before the coping, before the coping is all the emotions that you’re feeling. Are you feeling frustrated? Are you feeling angry? Are you feeling sad? Are you feeling? You know, guilty? Are you feeling resentful? There’s so many emotions? Where did those emotions come from? Your thoughts. And we have, I think the estimate is something like 60,000 thoughts a day, and your thoughts are going to be different from my thoughts, because you have a different brain, different life experiences. And so, we’re all very individual in the way that we look at the world and the way that we interpret the circumstances that we’re dealing with, that we call stress.
And so, some of us are going to be really excited. Like, I’ve talked to people, especially in healthcare, right, where we see tons and tons of burnout. And we’ve seen some people are like, Oh, my God, I’m totally burned out, I can’t do this another day. And then we’ve got other people who are like, Yay, I love it. I love that it’s like super-fast action. And like, you know, I’m a type A person and, like, bring it. So, we’re very individual in the way in our preferences, and the way that we cope and so many different ways. And so, I’m really a big proponent of let’s break this down, let’s look at what are the contributors to your burnout. And let’s not just create a one size fits all solution for burnout. But let’s actually tailor the solution to those contributors. And so, then I break that down, and I help people understand those three contributing factors, and then how to then create that customized solution.
So, Casey, let me ask you, have you ever burned out?
Casey McGuire Davidson 06:59
Oh, yeah, for sure. And I think it was sort of a combination of mine drinking, right, because I was drinking to cope, which was also, you know, frying my nervous system and making me sleep terribly. And feeling like anything additional would be like the straw that breaks the camel’s back. But also, what was going on at work, you know, in terms of, we had various periods of time where like, I was on a team where the entire team turned over twice, we had a really tough boss, and I was the person who stayed. And it was really difficult to, you know, take on this person’s work, and then that person’s work. And, you know, I was just beyond burned out with that with also my two little kids add drinking on top of that. And I just remember, my boss traveled a ton. And she came home and back to the office. And I was trying to explain to her what was going on. And she was trying to shift it. And at one point, she said to me, I don’t understand why this is so hard for you. And I was just like, Oh, my God, I’m over this, you know?
Yeah. So, I just want to highlight the main things that you were facing. Just I mean, and I know you just listed them. But I think, to recap, that is really important, because work. So, in our story that sometimes we need somebody from the outside to just pinpoint all the things that we’re dealing with so that we can see it for ourselves, right?
I like to break this burnout code up into three buckets. And so, the first one, we might say, based on what you’ve shared, are your stressors, like, what are, what’s going on right now? Now, you’re in a job where there’s high turnover, you have what you call a tough boss. And you probably can go even more into detail about what that means, what it means to work for somebody like that. But we can also get, I’m already getting a flavor for the setting in which you’re working, right that people don’t want to stick around. There’s something going on there that maybe is a little toxic, right? And when you are the one sticking around and you’re seeing the door, you know, just turning over and over and people coming in and out. It does something to your morale, even though you’re staying.
Right, because I was in a situation like that, too. And I know that just didn’t feel very good. Yeah, this is like, you know, I wish that this would work out. I wish that people would stick around. I want that sticky factor at work. I want people to love it here. And that’s not what’s happening. So, all these things that are external to your control. Then because of the shortage, there’s more demands on you. And stress, if we’re going to look at the definition of what that is, is simply when the demands exceed your resources. So here you are able to do so much, right, you’ve got a limited capacity of what you can do as one person. And now you’re expected to do the work of two or three people, all of a sudden, the demands are greater, but you’re not given more reach, there’s not more time in the day, you may not have access to an assistant or whatever it is that you need as a “resource”, right. So that’s stressful.
So, all of those things are just stressors at work, then we’ve got stressors at home, right, you’ve got two little kids. So that’s an additional thing. And that’s, I mean, we’re talking to women here. So many of us are dealing with stuff like that at home, or a lot of my clients now because, you know, we’re, we’re approaching that like, middle age mark. So many of my clients are now seeing that their parents are elderly, and they’re sickly, and they have to take care of them, or they have to figure things out for them. And there’s a lot of resentment around that. There’s a lot of additional stress around that. And then we also are seeing a lot of those folks passing away, which is then bringing on a lot of regret and sadness, and all kinds of other emotions. So, we’ve got all those things happening, right. And then on top of it, you’ve got a boss, who has no empathy, who just doesn’t get it. Right, so here you are, trying to do the work of more than one person. You’re seeing everybody just like running for the hills, you’re like, I’m going to stick it out, I’m going to do this, even though you’ve got all this other stress on your plate at home. And then this boss just doesn’t even. He can’t even give you the pat on the back that you deserve.
Yeah, exactly. That is a recipe for burnout, if nothing else, right. But we’re not even done. Because that’s just your kind of external stressors. We also have all of your underlying stuff that you kind of bring to the table from your upbringing, right, which means like, the way that you look at the world, all of your early life experiences that have shaped your beliefs. So, you bring all that to the table, which then also means that you’re going to interpret those situations that you’re in, in a very certain way, which might be different from somebody else, given a different background and upbringing, etc.
Yeah, right. And then you have on top of that, the thing that I like to talk about the most, which is your personality, right, or I call it like your burnout profile, okay. And that’s where we look at what specifically from your personality do you do, in your way of just being in the world and managing things and the expectations you put on yourself, that contribute to your burnout. And that’s really huge, because while all those other things we just mentioned, are there, you know, the boss doesn’t get it. And the people that are flocking and the kids at home, those things exist. And yet, those are the things you have the least control over.
The things that you have the most control over is your personality, your individual things that you kind of do the way that you think about things that contribute even more to your stress. And these are the things that we recognize the least. And this is why I like to highlight them. Right? These are the things that we often overlook.
So, before I go into the three burnout profiles, I just want to take a moment and just check in and say like any questions about anything, so far, anything that kind of popped up for you.
Casey McGuire Davidson 14:16
Oh, it completely resonated with me, because obviously, what maybe not obviously, I’ve done a lot of therapy since I stopped drinking. But one of the things that I recognized is, you know, growing up, I didn’t have a lot of security from my parents or like emotional security. They were like gone. And then I went to boarding school and I felt like I had to be like hyper cautious and resilient because I had nowhere, kind of, to go like, I had to get a job. I had to take care of myself. And then I went to work in Digital Marketing at startups. And there were so many layoffs and reorganizations. And, you know, even if I wasn’t being laid off, I was absorbing the work. And, you know, I remember getting laid off when I had a six month old son and I was the primary breadwinner, and it was my insurance. And so, I very much have this, like, at work, I have this scarcity mindset, and anxiety, like, all these people are leaving, but if I don’t hold it up, they’re going to get rid of me, too. And that all I think contributed to my feeling like, I have no resources, and yet I can’t fail. Does that make sense? Like when you?
Yeah, so I got to imagine that growing up the way that you did, where your parents weren’t there, and then you got kind of sent away, that that brings up a certain fear of some, like, I have to step it up. In other words, like the little girl in you was thinking, I got sent away, or my parents weren’t there, because of me, because I wasn’t stepping it up enough, right? And then we bring that into our work. And we’re like, I got to step it up at work, or else, they’re going to get rid of me here, too, you know, and that’s all the stuff that’s kind of in those first two buckets. And, as an aside, I find that people who have those adverse childhood experiences often seek out that chaos at work, right. That’s the startup mentality of like, it’s chaotic, we don’t really know what we’re doing yet. And so, you kind of flocked to those environments, because it’s, it’s familiar, the chaos is familiar.
Casey McGuire Davidson
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Casey McGuire Davidson 16:47
Yeah. And my, my, my husband always told me, and this was like, regardless of whether my boss was a man or woman that I had, like, this daddy complex with my boss, like, I just really wanted the pat on the head and the positive feedback and never wanted to let them down. And I was like, it’s so true, which meant I had terrible boundaries, I would just take on more and more and more, and never want to show them that. And yet, inside, I felt like I was being crushed by all these expectations.
Yeah. So, we have all that. And then you’ve got your own expectations, your own demands on yourself. And so, I really want to talk about that for people who are listening. And they’re like, yeah, all this makes sense. And what do I do about it? Right?
Yes, yeah. So, I’ve looked at the profiles of people who have burned out. And I was trying to kind of synthesize them down into some common traits, like, what are what are the things that we see over and over again, that keep coming up? And how can we kind of cluster them together, so it makes sense. And it’s just like a simple model for people to follow. And here’s what I found. I found that when you kind of synthesize it down, there’s these three main types that we see when it comes to your burnout profile, which is like a lot of your personality stuff coming in. And I like to call them the thinker, the feeler, and the doer. And so, I’ll give a quick description of each of these, with a caveat that because people often ask me this, they’re like, Well, what if I’m all three? And the truth of the matter is, it’s not that you have to be just one. The way that I describe it is, if you are more than one type, it just means that if you think about like an electric panel, you know, what happens when we plug in too many appliances, right? Like, like the switch just blows, and then we can’t, we can’t use anything, right. And so, I like to think about it as like, you just got too many things plugged in at that point. And then it just means that you have to work on unplugging more things. Right? So just keep that in mind.
So, we got the thinker, and the thinker is somebody who spends a lot of time in their head. So, they’re just over analyzing everything. And that can come out in a bunch of different ways. It might mean that it’s hard for you to make a decision because you’re constantly Well, if I do this, then this might happen. If I do that, then I don’t know. And then, so you’re like constantly like going between your options, and you can’t really settle on anything that just takes a lot of time and energy out of your day that you can’t afford to lose. That’s one way it shows up. Another is, just people who are very anxious. And they spend their time really thinking about the future and everything that could go wrong, and they catastrophize right. And a lot of it tends to be very irrational. And it doesn’t get resolved like, ever.
So, I had a client doesn’t example who worked for like a fortune 100 company. And he was incredibly successful. And he had been at the company for over a decade. So quite a long time, really high title. And you would think somebody like that would be very job secure. But as I said, a lot of this isn’t rational. And so, he would come to work literally every single day, for 12, 13, 14 years, every day, there wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t worry that he was going to get fired. And it wasn’t because he did a bad job. But he just had that innate belief. And it came probably from, you know, the instability in his childhood, and seeing his dad, like not being able to pay the bills. And so, whatever it was, so there was something there that created a fear and created these irrational thoughts. And those thoughts just would leave him. So, he’s coming and spending all this time and energy worrying about things that never happened. That’s another way that we kind of exhaust our resources. And we don’t really have anything to show for it.
Yeah. Yeah. And there’s a lot of other examples, but like, I think the most common ones, when it comes to burnout with for the thinker are things like perfectionism, and impostor syndrome, and sometimes they go hand in hand. And really, those are demands that we put on ourselves with the expectation that what we do in the world has to be epic. Like, we cannot accept anything less than, right. And so, we’re constantly in this phase of like, it’s not good enough, it’s not good enough, not good enough, and always working on quality. That’s the perfectionism piece. And then if you can’t do it quite as good as you think it should be, then we get into imposter syndrome, which is people that really believe that doesn’t matter, like how they got their job, and whether they’re qualified for it are not in their own minds. They’re convinced that they don’t deserve to be there, that everybody else has been fooled. And that tomorrow, even though today, they’re safe tomorrow, this is where the anxiety comes in. They might lose their job, because somebody will figure it out, they will make a mistake, I had this one client who was worried about, she was like a VP of her company, she was worried about sending out she was every Monday she’d send out an email to the entire company. And she was like, I’m going to make a mistake, one of these emails, I’m going to, like, totally humiliate myself, and she would literally go through every email about five 8, 10 times. Can you imagine? How many emails do we send a day? Right? And can you imagine if you had to read each one, like, 10 times? How much time that would waste that you couldn’t get anything else done? Right?
Yeah. So, these are the kinds of things when we’re overthinking things, that we are wasting away our all of our resources, and then we have less time to do all the things that we really need to get done. And then there’s that crunch, where we feel really crushed by everything that we still have to get done. Right. So, we’re dealing with our own mind, we’re dealing with this, just like crazy demand for quality, and worry about the future and safety and just all of these things.
Casey McGuire Davidson 23:31
Yeah, that completely resonates with me, I was constantly in fear of being laid off or let go, despite, you know, continually getting promoted at every UI had and yet, just this level of anxiety that would continue to go through like I used to be in in E-Commerce, online sales. And the sales numbers would you know, finish for the day, and flip over at midnight, I would put my daughter to bed fall asleep with her and set an alarm to wake up at 11:55 in key, you know, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, key moments, so I could like report to my boss what we sold for the day, which is ridiculous. It’s a ridiculous thing to do. And now looking back, having started working for myself, I’m like that was so unnecessary. I wonder if I went back if I’d be different, but I don’t know.
Yeah, so the question is, are we doing too much which we’ll talk about in the doer? Are we doing too much because of that fear of getting let go and that conviction that we need to do more in order to avoid that? That could be the association there, which sounds like that’s what was going on for you. Right? It starts it starts with your thoughts.
Yeah, really? So, if I was, if you were a client of mine at the time, I would have said, let’s, let’s work on that, let’s clean up your thoughts. Because that’s what’s contributing to the behavior and that compulsion to feel like if I don’t do this, and that’s, I call it a compulsion on purpose. Because if you think about what OCD is, right, we kind of throw that term around. But it’s really like an obsession and a compulsion. And you can have either one. It’s, it’s about I’m obsessive about this thought that if I don’t do x, then y is going to happen. And then I have the behavior that stems from that thought that says, Okay, well, now I have to wash my hands, because I’ve got germs, and I’m going to get sick or so you know, and in your case, it was like, I got to, like, wake up at midnight and check on the stats so that I can deliver the report, you know, and, and so that’s what we have to really look at is not just the behavior, but where’s that behavior coming from? And if you’re, if you’re a thinker, I think you understand what I’m talking about here, right? And that’s very, very common.
The second profile that I think is really important, especially with women, not only but, you know, this is definitely a biggie is the feeler. And the feeler is somebody who tends to be very focused on pleasing other people. And that’s where our boundaries don’t exist. Right? This is where we take on something just because somebody asked, and we don’t think about, Do I have the resources to take on another thing? No, we’re just focused on, if I do this, that person is going to be happy, they’ll be pleased with me. And that feels good, right? We want that approval. And so, this is really challenging, because if you come from that fear based background of I’m not acceptable, what I’m doing isn’t good enough, then I have to do more, or people aren’t going to like me, if I say no, that’s a big fear. Right?
Like, we are really raised in a society to be caretakers and caretaking, we can expand on that definition. But like, we all have our own version of it. I think, ultimately, it’s about pleasing other people. In some respect. That’s, I think, how we’ve interpreted that as women. And I think there’s a lot of expectations that society has for us. And it’s our job. Now that we’re talking about this, to then rethink how we want to be in the world. And what does it mean, with regards to the societal expectations? How do we actually target that? How do we do it in a way that’s successful, which means that we don’t walk around feeling guilty, and other people are able to hear what we have to say, which is those boundaries, right. And I think that can be really challenging, because we don’t spend a lot of time getting trained on how to do this. Right. So, people are like, Yeah, you should just have some boundaries. And you’re like, yeah, what does that even look like? What does it sound like? Right? Who’s actually had that modeled for them? Not too many. Right?
Casey McGuire Davidson 28:17
So, like, internal boundaries with yourself, you know, yeah, external boundaries with telling people what you’re able to do, but then also that guilt and that, holding on to that and that worry?
Exactly. And I’m glad you said that. Because if it’s true that the guilt is stemming from a thought that we have, then again, it comes back to cleaning up your thinking around that situation. So, what are you telling yourself about the fact that somebody asked you to do something? And you’re not going to take it on? Right? Are you telling yourself well, I should say yes. If I don’t say yes, then something horrible is going to happen. If you’re telling yourself those kinds of stories, you are going to feel guilty. Right? So, in other words, the guilt doesn’t come from the person asking you to do the thing. It comes from your story about what it means that you’re going to say no. Yeah. And on the flip side of that, and here’s why it’s kind of a lose-lose. On the flip side of that, if you say yes, what happens is, that’s where we end up feeling resentful. Yes. So, you can’t win, right? If you say yes, then you’re resentful. And if you say no, you feel guilty.
Casey McGuire Davidson 29:33
And find the really, you’re both two huge triggers to want to check out and drink, right? We tend to like drink at people or feel like I do all this for everyone else, and I don’t have anything for myself and so I deserve to reward myself or this is the one reward I have.
Yeah. And that’s actually really important to talk about, because a lot of times So, as you said, the drinking serves as a reward. But we’re actually fooling ourselves here. Because if you’re saying to yourself, I’m going to say yes to this person, which means I have to work harder. But now I feel resentful. And in order for me to deal with my resentment I’m going to drink, then you’re just complicating the whole situation? Yeah. Because now you have more stress, because you have to do the thing that you took on that you didn’t really want to take on. And if that person doesn’t show their enthusiasm, their appreciation of you doing the thing to your liking, yeah, then you’re going to be like, Well, I just did this thing, and how can they really appreciate me, and you go down that rabbit hole. So, there’s more of that. And now you’re having to deal with all these emotions that have built up? And in order to feel better, now you’re going to drink? But what if you just figured out how to say no, in a way that alleviated you from that burden to begin with? without feeling guilty? That’s the key.
Yeah, right. And that goes back to your point, which is, you’ve got to start with those internal boundaries. You have to start with total clarity of like, what do I want? What can I take on? And, you know, we talked about boundaries. Boundaries aren’t just about what you’re going to say no to, but it’s also about what you say yes to, and in order for you to draw any sort of boundaries internally so that you can then communicate them externally, you have to be totally clear. What do you say yes to? Why do you say yes to it? What do you say no to? And why do you say no to it? Right? And we just have to sit with ourselves and think about that. Like, if somebody mistreated you? Would you put up with it? Would you say something, do something? Right? Why not?
Casey McGuire Davidson 32:08
Well, I mean, it depends, right? Because I feel like in a work situation, I probably tolerate that a lot more than I would, in my personal life, where, you know, you feel like you have more empowerment and more choice. I’ve gotten way better at that, you know, in in recent years in terms of boundaries, and saying no, and sort of releasing the outcome of that, or what’s on other people. But I mean, at one point, my therapist said to me, Well, you get to decide how much you’re going to take on at work. And I was like, No, I don’t, they just give it to me, they decide, you know how much I need to do. And that was just a hard realization to come to that I had power in that situation, and that it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
So, what did you do? Like once you had that realization that, actually you get to decide how much you take on what changed?
Casey McGuire Davidson 33:11
Well, I didn’t figure it out for many years. For a while, I just drank a bottle of wine a night and then took Ambien to sleep through the night notice self not a good solution. If anyone’s doing that, that doesn’t really help. I mean, I started with small things like finally, you know, I was sort of addicted to my work, email, and people would email on Saturdays. And I feel like I had to respond. And it was like this huge ping pong game. And so finally, I told my boss, I said, I am not looking at email over the weekend to spend time with my family. If anything comes up, that’s urgent. Of course, I’m on it text me. And so that really helped kind of just setting those expectations with her, which allowed me to release a lot of that anxiety. Some of it was just figuring out how to say no, in a kind way to I mean, everybody asked more of your colleagues, or whoever and just being like, actually, I’ve got a really full plate. I’m not the right person to help you out with this, but I know you, it’s going to be awesome. And you’re going to find someone who can help and just kind of see, the other thing I do is when people ask me to do things, I mean, including like, at my husband’s my son’s school, where they’re like, We need someone to do XYZ. I’m like, I’ve got to check my workload right now. Will you email me so that I can kind of understand what’s included? 90% of the time, they won’t email, and they’ll find someone else?
Oh, my God, there’s just such good tips. And so, what I want to highlight from what you’ve said is, you started out by saying it’s about setting expectations. Right. And, again, I think we have to be really clear on And what we want, and what we don’t want, what we can take on and what we can’t take on before we can set those expectations. So, sitting down with yourself first and saying like, what do I have on my plate? What can I take on? What don’t I want to take on even if I could take it off? Because that’s a whole other thing that leads to resentment. Right?
So yeah, I have the time. I really don’t want to work on this project. Yeah, that’s another thing, right? So, it’s not just about I don’t have time for it. But like, maybe it’s just not a fit. And, and that’s actually important. I don’t want highlight this, because fit is something that if you’re working, and you’re doing things that don’t fit you that in and of itself can lead to burnout. Right? So that’s something important to really think about. What are you doing? What of those things actually are, are fitting to you? And what are people asking you to take on of those things? Which one would be a fit, if you have the time? And you can say, you know, right now, as you said, my plate is full, but as of next week, I’m going to have some time on Monday, and I would love to work on this project, then if that’s still relevant in terms of timing or whatever. Right. So, in other words, it doesn’t have to be like a firm Yes. Or firm. No, it can be later.
Yeah. Right. Like, and here’s specifically when so but the problem is, a lot of times, we’re not organized in terms of our schedules enough to know what time we have. Yeah. So that’s a whole other thing, a whole other conversation about like, calendaring and really time management and understanding everything that you have to do.
Casey McGuire Davidson 36:48
is just going to say is that what helped me is, when people emailed me, I always felt like it was a fire drill like, oh, oh, they want this, I have to jump on it and get it back to them right away. And it would just be one more thing. And I started emailing them back and being like, yeah, absolutely happy to get to this. What’s your timeline for when Yes, I was just going to say perfect, just knowing because sometimes they’ll be like, end of next week, and I would have thrown off my entire day to try to get it done. Before I picked up my kids from daycare.
Yeah, these are great tips. So, what’s your timeline on this? Right? What are your expectations? If I was going to say yes to this? How soon do you need this? And then I can see if I’ve got time to get it done by then. And if not, then I’m not your person. Right? So, just having the ability to say that without feeling guilty, and if you’re feeling guilty, then I would say you want to look at what are you telling yourself? You shouldn’t be doing that you’re not? Right, I should say yes to every request. Is that something that you tell yourself? Because sometimes when we say these things out loud to ourselves, we’re like, That’s ridiculous. Why am I saying this? Right? That doesn’t make any sense. So just actually putting it down on paper or verbalizing, it can help you bring it up to the surface and see what’s driving those emotions, which then if we’re not thinking about it, we’re not really conscious of them, can lead us to these automatic behaviors of either like quickly saying yes to everything, and then paying the price for it. And you know, you gave a really great example of, so I said, Yes, right, took on too much. And then I was feeling all these emotions, like I was feeling stressed. And I was feeling frustrated and resentful, and all this stuff. And then I had to drink so that I feel better. But then my drinking got in the way of my sleep. So, then I take an Ambien, right. And so, it’s like, notice, when we have the wrong solution, how that creates additional problems that we need to then find solutions for, or another version of that is, and then it gained so much weight from drinking that then I had to go on a diet. And then now you’re dealing with all this other stuff, right? So, if we can just get to the root of the issue, then we don’t even have to get to the point of drinking and then everything that comes after it to fix our life backup.
Casey McGuire Davidson 39:17
Yeah, and one thing I found is a lot of women and I’ll, I should just talk about myself, but don’t like confrontation and don’t like saying no. So, to some extent we drink, we push all of this resentment down, and then we’re angry at ourselves, right? Because it’s easier or more emotionally comfortable to blame yourself for being overwhelmed, unable to cope, whatever it was, because I feel this way because I drank a bottle of wine last night as opposed to, I feel this way because of course this is too much, and I need to set boundaries.
So, I had a client who talked to me, and she was constantly saying yes to work, and working all the time and felt overwhelmed. And she was like, after we dug into stuff, she’s like, actually, I think I stopped drinking, because then I couldn’t work. It, you know, like, then I wouldn’t send emails to clients, I wouldn’t do anything. So, it’s crazy that we’re almost like, sometimes physically incapacitating ourselves, rather than making the decision that we’re just turning off the computer. And if it doesn’t get done today, it doesn’t get done.
Yeah. So that’s an extreme example of like, where you really can’t do anything. I had a friend who recently said that she was going to go sober. And what she found was, she was like, you know, when you go to yoga class in the morning, and you’re not hungover, it’s such a totally different experience. And I was like, What do you know?
Casey McGuire Davidson 41:02
Oh completely, or, like, when you don’t drink, you literally are less stressed, because drinking strike, spikes, your cortisol, the stress hormone. So, there’s so many knock on effects, but the desire to just take it on and then feel resentful or overwhelmed and want to check out that’s real. So, I think that figuring out the work that you do, why you’re burned out, and your thoughts and what you can do to deal with that as sort of exercising a muscle, so that you don’t get to the point where you’re just like, I can’t take this, I want to check out.
Right? So, you’re saying, not only are you resentful of your situation, but you’re resentful of yourself for the decisions that you’ve made about saying yes, or drinking or whatever it was that came after. And I would say these, these thoughts can be very fleeting, as we now go into the next day and the next day. And so, I would, I would ask people to write down all the things that you feel resentful for. And see how many times you experienced the same thing over and over again, right? How many days did you wake up this week feeling resentful of yourself? For the same things, like, saying yes to something that you don’t want to do? Or drinking? Because you felt resentful? And how many times did you feel resentful of other people? Because they asked you to do something that you don’t want to say yes to that you felt kind of guilty? You know, if you said no, so you took it on? Or that they didn’t appreciate you enough for having done whatever it was that they asked you to do, right? And just see if that’s a recurring pattern for you.
Then you really want to look at how can you engage differently, which starts again with the story, right? What are you going to tell yourself so that you can then tell it to other people, right, you have to make peace with? I’m going to stand up for myself, I’m going to really protect my time. This is something I’ve been saying to people.
Recently, I guess, I get a lot of people on LinkedIn, especially who are, like, Hey, would you love I’d love the work that you’re doing. Can we chat. And you know, if it’s not something that’s very specific about, you know, let’s like, work together, whatever it is. I just don’t have time for that. Right. And that’s something that I probably would have done a couple of years ago, because I love meeting new people. But I’m so busy. That, if I said yes to all those requests, I would be like, now, I’ve got so much other stuff to do. And I don’t have time to do it. I just like ,I don’t want to stress myself out. So, what I’ve been saying to people is, I’m very protective of my time. And if you have a specific question, please text it to me, I’m happy to answer. If you’re interested in resources on burnout, I’ve got tons of free stuff on my website, I’m happy to share. And so, like, I just kind of direct them towards what they’re looking for, instead of like me spending half an hour on a call with them, because I used to do back-to-back like, every day talking to lots of people taking notes on the calls and it just doesn’t go anywhere. And I’m like, Well, I just wasted like so much of my time. Right.
So that’s the thing that I think we all have to kind of think about. How does it show up in your life? And what can you do to cut some of that out so that it doesn’t lead to the resentment and the guilt and the drinking? Yeah. Yeah.
And then finally, we have the doer. And those are simply people who take on more than they can chew. Alright, and There’s again, that compulsion to constantly be doing something. So, these are your type A typically. Those are the people who are like, I love action, I love taking on lots of stuff, you know, I’m so excited, I got all these projects, and you’re all over the map. And then you become overwhelmed, because you’ve got way too much stuff going on. And that overwhelm leads you to not be able to do anything. Right, or to feel like it’s a burden, and it’s stressful, and then you’re burned out, and then your performance really declines. And then you really can’t do anything.
And then if you’re, and the thing about the doers, that I like to say is that their identity is very much wrapped up in the doing. In other words, their self-worth is derived from their productivity. So, if they can’t produce lots of outcomes, they feel “less” them, which is what drives the whole mechanism. That’s what creates that compulsion to constantly do more and more and more, and it doesn’t ever end. And this is the thing that leads to all the problems because you, you know, we tell ourselves, we cannot fool ourselves to believe that if I just do this, and if I just accomplish this, then I will have arrived. And this is what we call, the arrival fallacy because you never arrived, because you’re always on to the next thing, right? This thing false. Like you finish it, you accomplish it. And we sometimes celebrate that most of the time we don’t. And even when we do celebrate it, it’s very short-lived. And then we’re on to the next.
Yeah, right. So, it doesn’t actually ever end, as we like to say our to your to-do list doesn’t ever die. We’re always adding more things, there’s always more to do. But we have to look at your relationship with yourself. If you are telling yourself that you aren’t enough that you have to prove something through your work, then this is a recipe for burnout.
Casey McGuire Davidson 47:05
So how do you do that? Obviously, you look at your thoughts, which are driving your behaviors, what fears do you have that is driving you to take on too much, whether it’s mentally or actually doing too much that’s leading to overwhelm? And once you’ve sort of looked at that, then what? Is it all about boundaries?
No, there’s a lot of different things. I like to look at what skills I can teach people because those skills are transferable. It’s not like, oh, I can only use it in this context. No, like these are life skills.
And when it comes to the thinker, I would say the main skill there is emotional intelligence, understanding how there’s a connection between your thoughts and your feelings. We often really miss this one step, we think that all of these circumstances in our life lead us to feel a certain way, which is why we’ll say things like, you make me so angry. Right? And it’s like, somebody can’t make you angry. They do what they do, which is the circumstance and then you interpret that to mean something. And that interpretation is what makes you angry.
You know, when I was younger, I had a friend of a friend. Like what she wanted to get together, and it was potentially going to rain. And I mentioned that, and she said, Well, you’re not made of sugar. And I didn’t really understand what that expression meant. And so, I thought she meant that I wasn’t like sweet that it wasn’t a nice person. And I was so offended. Right? And I called my mom, and I was like she’s there was a read to me, you know, and my mom was like, Well, what did she say? And I told her and she’s like, that doesn’t mean that. Right? Yeah.
And I think it’s a funny story. But it’s kind of exemplary of what happens in our brain is we come up with some interpretation of what is going on around us. And that very much leads to how we feel. And so, when we get in control of our mind, it is just transformative. Really. It really is. And so that’s the really deep work that I love to do with my clients is help them understand exactly what’s going on in their mind. Sometimes they don’t even have access to their thoughts. Like sometimes it’s so automatic, that they’re like, Well, I you know, I just feel angry. And it’s like, well, what are you telling yourself and like really having to pull it out of them. And other times you have people who are so clear on their thoughts, but they’re so disconnected from their emotion When’s that? I’ll ask them like, so how does that make you feel? And that’s really hard for them to answer, or where do you feel that in your body? And they’re like, oh, no, you know, it’s, they’re very much in their heads. So, and I think a lot of the thinkers sometimes fall into that, like, they’ll know, like, big picture, like I’m anxious or whatever. But a lot of times, it’s hard to like, really pinpoint what’s going on with you. So, I think a lot of that work on emotional intelligence is super helpful for them.
For, I think the other the other main skill, the second one is time management, as we said, because you have to know how to get super clear on what you already have going on, how to manage your time, how to take things off your plate, how to say no, all of that falls under time management, that allows you to create those boundaries that allows you to communicate what you can, and can’t do, and set expectations with other people.
All the things that you said. And then the third thing is, really working on your relationship with yourself. Right. And some of that is just uncovering the lies, uncovering the beliefs that you have extracted from your early life experiences. So, you had mentioned, for instance, that your parents were never around. Now, everybody’s got their own version of that, right? But it’s what do we make that mean, and if we make it mean that I have to prove my worth, because if I am worthy, then they’ll keep me around, right? That I have, then I become that doer. And then I’m stuck in this perpetual pattern, that I have to work on the belief, that story that I tell myself, because otherwise I’m going to keep doing the same behavior, right? Or, if you’re that people pleaser, and you believe that it’s your job to take care of other people, then you have to constantly say yes to everybody that haven’t been, then we have to work on that belief. So, I think all of those things are really important.
Just to recap, the emotional intelligence, the time management, your relationship with yourself. And within that, you know, I teach things like mindfulness and things that allow you to be present and really tune into yourself and understand what’s coming from within what’s coming from without. What do you have control over and really refocusing people on the things they have control over? Because we really do spend a lot of time spinning our wheels, focusing on everything that’s outside of our control. And that makes us crazy.
Casey McGuire Davidson 52:48
Yeah. I think that’s awesome. I mean, I could talk to you all day about various things. And when you were talking in that last bit about the doer that resonated with the quite a bit too, in terms of, you know, my parents who used to go play tennis on the weekends. And when they left, I was like, seven years old, I would like to try to clean the whole house, and then like, hide, so they’d come home and be like, Oh, my God, who cleaned the house, which is insane. I have a nine year old daughter, and it would never occur to her to do that. And also, I remember, I did a podcast on the Enneagram. And the guy was taking me through my, what I was, and he asked me this question of like, how do you earn love? And I launched into like, a 20 minute description of all the ways I earned love. And he was like, Okay, you’re an Enneagram, three, the achiever. Because I will ask 80% of people that question, and they’ll be stumped. They’ll be like, Why don’t earn love? And I was like, I could never imagine being stumped by that question. So, I did want to ask you last, how do you know, if you’re burned out? Can you give me the symptoms of like, how people might be able to be like, Okay, this is burnout versus something else.
Yeah, so, you know, if you look up burnout, like on the Google’s there’s three main things that they talk about, and that’s emotional exhaustion. It’s cynicism, and it’s a reduction in your productivity or your if, you know, effectiveness at work. And I like to expand on that and say, we all know what stress feels like. Right? Well, hello. I’m so stressed. I’ve had such a, like, long day and I have so much going on. But when you have chronic stress, not just acute stress, we feel the difference. And it’s usually when you go away and you’ve got that long weekend, you’ve got that four day weekend. And you’re just starting to get back to yourself. But then you have to go back to work. And so, you don’t really have a chance to really reset. But most of the time, you just have a two day weekend. And it’s just never enough, right? That’s the exhaustion. Because it’s not just physical, it’s really emotional. It’s mental. It’s like, you’re so fried, you can’t even think straight, you’ve got that brain fog.
Yeah, and I like to say that there is a stress burnout continuum. So, you can fall anywhere on that continuum. When you are in the earlier stages. That’s where I think you’re starting to notice that things are turning on you, that you’re tired more than usual, that you can’t really focus at work, that you’re maybe losing some of your motivation and drive, even though you’re that super driven person normally, and you’re like, I don’t even recognize myself, right? You start to notice these things changing or sometimes other people notice things about you. And they’ll say like, are you okay? Why? Right.
So, a lot of times, we don’t even notice it, especially in the early stages. When we get to the deeper stages of burnout, you really know it, because now you’re probably drinking a lot more than you were before, you’re probably sleeping a lot less than you were before, your relationships are just all over the place, especially the one with yourself, you’re probably not taking care of yourself, you’re not if you’re the person that was exercising, maybe you’re not exercising, or maybe you’re trying to cope with all the other things. And then you’re like thinking maybe I put all my eggs in that exercise bucket, and you’re true, you’re trying to overdo it over here. And it’s not really making a dent. And you’re like super frustrated. So, it can really show up in a lot of different ways.
But I would invite everybody to think about because I think most people have had a burnout experience, whether it’s at work, or at home, right. And I specifically say that because I never really burned out at work. But I can tell you what it feels like to burnout at home. Between like my husband and the kids, and everybody’s driving me crazy. And I’m starting out. Yes, I have to, like, run my business and do all that stuff. But then I got all these other things going on. And I’ve got a teenager at home. And we’re dealing with a lot of attitude, people who have gotten to know what I’m talking about.
So yeah, I kind of am like burned out on a lot of that stuff. So, you just don’t want it like sometimes I have these fantasies of running away. Right? Like, I don’t want to do this anymore. Like I don’t, what would happen if I just, like, disappeared? Right? I think those are some signs that there’s some serious problems going on? Yeah, yeah. That’s how you know. And if you’re curious, you want to find out more, I really, really spell it out in my book.
So, people can really get a sense of the symptoms and how to, like, to ask yourself different questions, I’ve got a lot of kind of like workbook kind of exercises in there. I think that would be a really great resource for people to really get a deeper sense. But I say that also with the caveat that I wouldn’t recommend my book to somebody who’s severely burned out. Because I feel like when you’re in the lighter versions of burnout, you can kind of coach yourself through it. And I think that the more burned out you are, the further along that spectrum you are, the more you need, like a therapist or coach or somebody to work with you. Because you’re just you’re just not going to be able to find the resources to take care of yourself. Like it’s just you’re that far gone.
Casey McGuire Davidson 58:44
What’s the name of your book, so everybody can find it?
Yeah, it’s called, The 7 E-solution To Burnout. And I think right now we we’ve taken an off of Amazon, because we’re talking to some publishers about it. But you can find out on my website. So, if you go to drsharongrossman.com. There’s a link in there that you can find out more information. And I got lots of other free resources on burnout as well on the website.
Casey McGuire Davidson 59:13
I’ll put that in the show notes for sure. But drsharongrossman.com. Yeah. And what about your podcast?
So, my podcast is, as we said, called, Decode Your Burnout. And it focuses on two kinds of guests. I’ve got the people that come on, just talk about their burnout story. And that’s kind of how we started the podcast. And I was decoding it kind of in a similar way to what we were having this conversation in the beginning today, right where I was really highlighting for people after they share their story about what fits into which bucket for them so that they can come up with their own burnout code and understand like now what I need to focus on in order to create that customized solution. The other guests that I have is because I wanted my listeners to Well, the first guests I had was because I wanted my listeners to say, I have that version of burnout, right? Burnout shows up so differently, but I really resonate with that guests version of it. And then that person shared three tips on what helped them.
And so, if I’m like, if you can find a version of burnout, that’s very similar to the story that you’re experiencing right now, then the tips that that person shares might be really helpful for you with your version. The other type of guests I have is somebody who is an expert in their field. And it can be a whole bunch of different things. Because I really also wanted my listeners to have an opportunity to grow, and to learn about what it really takes to be successful in the world without burning out. And so those folks come on. And they’ll often have a burnout story. But really, the focus there is on their area of expertise. And they’re there to debunk three myths about what it means to be successful in their specific field. And then we’re trying to use those as tips for all of us, regardless of what field we’re in, so that we can figure out what success looks like, without killing ourselves in the process, right? We sometimes there’s like, yeah, you have a lot of high achieving women listening to this podcast, if they’re burned out, because they are trying to reach success, but they’re not going about it in a sustainable way. I want other experts to be able to share, like what their wisdom is from having done it in their respective fields. So those are the two kinds of guests that we have on the show.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:01:39
I love that. I think that’s so interesting. And where else can people find you? Is your website, the best place? Are you on social media?
I am on social, mostly on LinkedIn. But really the best place is on my website, because we update there. I actually for people who want those weekly updates, I do have a newsletter that comes out every Friday. It’s called the burnout digest. And in it, I highlight the blog article of the week, which is always about some version of burnout. I’ve got a link to that week’s podcast episode. And I always include some additional materials like a TEDx video that I think people should watch, because I’m a huge Ted fan.
So, you know, people are interested in constantly being in the know about everything that’s new and happening with the with respect to burnout and everything around it, I highly recommend signing up for the newsletter, and you’ll get every Friday, you’ll get an email in your inbox first thing in the morning, that that’s perfect, thank you so much.
I know that the women listening to this are going to take so much away from this and what you know, now have more information about how to dive into their thoughts and how that’s influencing them.
I’m so glad that we have this opportunity to talk. And I think that it is really, really important for each of us to be able to really decipher what is in our control and what we’re bringing to the table that contributes to more of the problem, because we have more power to do something about that and help ourselves. So that’s super, super important to my mission. And I also would say that if you’re listening to this podcast, and you work for a company that has this as kind of a big issue, we’ve seen a lot of burnout in the workplace, not just individually, but like in teams and things of that nature, that I also do workshops, and in Keynote, speaking at conferences and things like that.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:03:43
So, something else that I just want to mention as something that I can add for companies, because I know so many different workplaces that I was in big, you know, fortune 500 companies and startups where it’s a real issue. And they’re looking for solutions, right to improve employee mental health so that it doesn’t impact performance. So, that’s great to know that companies are bringing you in to talk about that.
Yeah, and then share Casey’s podcasts with them as well.
Casey McGuire Davidson 1:04:11
Yeah, absolutely. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here.
Thank you again for having me and for all of your listeners for tuning in.
Thank you for listening to this episode of The Hello Someday Podcast. If you’re interested in learning more about me or the work I do or accessing free resources and guides to help you build a life you love without alcohol, please visit hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I would be so grateful if you would take a few minutes to rate and review this podcast so that more women can find it and join the conversation about drinking less and living more.