Tag: itsokaytohavemultipleinterests

Three Books that have helped me start my burnout recovery journey

So this is an semi-extension of a post I did on LinkedIn earlier in the week. The reason why it is ‘semi’, I’m only including three out of the six books I had in that post.

I quit my job at the end of 2019 because I was burnt out on the whole academia route, and I had no energy to try to figure out my transition away from academia at the time. I would love to say that I spent all of 2020 self-reflecting, taking different courses, networking, and figuring things out–but I only did a little of that. I did do some self-reflection, I bought numerous e-courses, but I didn’t network that much and I still haven’t totally figured things out (though I’m getting closer).

It wasn’t until early this year (2021), when I read “Burnout: the secret to unlocking the stress cycle” by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski in addition to having a zoom call with a coach, that I’d realized while I had made some progress–I still have quite a ways to go.

Burnout talks about what burnout is, what causes it, and the best ways of dealing with it, not to mention how to try to ‘head it off’ to begin with. Without going into super detail, I will mention a few passages that stood out to me as I read the book.

There were three passages that really stood out to me and they were:

“We are built to oscillate between work and rest. When we allow for this oscillation, the quality of our work imporves along with our health.”

“The idea that you can use “grit” or “self-control” to stay focused and productive every minute of every day is not merely incorrect, it is gaslighting and it is potentially damaging your brain.”

“Wellness is not a state of being, but a state of action.”

The first two passages were stark reminders of why I left academia–I couldn’t handle the hours (even though as a staff scientist I was on a ‘normal work week’), and the idea that I had to be busy basically the entire eight hours of every day.

The final passage was just something I realized I needed to strive at–keeping in mind that any type of change takes time and it shouldn’t be seen as an end goal but a process.

I’ve come to ‘terms’ with the fact that I’m still semi-burnt out. I can now describe the feeling as being at teh bottom of a very deep hole/well/pit with very little illumination. Once I managed to find a lantern (or a torch), I was able to see my ‘pit’ with new eyes.

There is a staircase that meanders up the inside wall of the pit–I know that this is the way out, and that it won’t be a fast climb. I also notice that there are ‘slides’, some are short (seeming to connect different levels), but there is a long one that seems to come from the top–the one I hadn’t realized I was on, until it dumped me at the bottom. Also it seems to be connected to the othesr–possibly as a stark warning that lingering too long in certain areas can also lead to ‘burnout’.

The stairs and slides are a stark reminder that there will be no easy path for ‘recovering’ from burnout, and it brings to mind a quote/passage from the book ‘Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less’ by Tonya Dalton:

“You have to take this journey; you have to do the work because it is your path. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It belongs to you. So own it.”

The author talks to you about finding your ‘north star’ (or what you want to be doing) by using herself as an example. It was how to deal with ‘burnout’ without calling it ‘burnout’.

As much as I would love to brush everything under the rug and “pretend” to be on an even-keel, I know that I’m not there yet–and I’m both owning that fact and figuring out the work that needs to be done to move forward.

You might have noticed that there aren’t a lot of comments on my posts–in part I haven’t figured out the optimal key words to be sprinkling through everything, but also because most have been some type of spam comment. There had been one individual who had basically commented on a couple of posts that it seemed I liked to ‘whine’ more than I liked to ‘take action’. While I deleted those comments, looking back now maybe I should have taken a screenshot and used them as momentum to move forward faster.

Though the past couple of years haven’t been exactly a cakewalk–losing several dogs in 2018, dealing the depressive fallout throughout 2019 (not to mention the burnout), and then the pandemic last year–I’m actually ready for a ‘mild’ year (and hopefully that will be 2022?).

Though thinking back to those comments, I’m reminded that there are things I can’t control: basically how others read and intrepret my writing styles, but the one thing I can control (and I’m trying to get better at) is how I react to those comments.

There isn’t a quick and easy path for getting over anxiety and self-doubt. All I can do is to try to show up each day, and try to do something that pushes me slightly out of my comfort zone and into the stretch or risk zones.

There were two other quotes from ‘Joy of Missing Out’ that also resonated with me and they were:

“We need to stop treating each day as its own scorecard to be balanced. Look at your week as a whole and see if maybe you are spending more time on your priorities than you realize.”

“Productivity should be customized to you and the life you want to live.”

Again, both were a stark reminder that I made the right choice in leaving the academic world behind, and that I am slowly figuring out how to move into either the industry world or the freelancing world.

Seeing those quote reminded me to look at this passage from ‘How to be Everything: A Guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up’ by Emilie Wapnick:

“When you lose interest in something, you must always consider that you’ve gotten what you came for; you have completed your mission. […] That is why you lose interest; not because you’re flawed or lazy or unable to focus but because you’re finished.”

This statement has resonated with me for quite a while, and truthfully is probably the one reason why I’ve been having such a hard time figuring out my transition: I’ve been afraid of losing interest in the project/company/sector/subject and becoming bored.

To combat that ‘fear’, I’m starting to generate ‘brain dump lists’ and ‘mind maps’ of anything and everything that has ever caught my attention over the years–with the end goal of figuring out how to turn all those ideas into a self-sustaining freelancing/online/remote career.

As I’ve made it up the first staircase, I glance around me and notice there is a table with a stack of books, a pad of paper with pens, a cup of coffee (or is tea?), along with a computer–I’ve made it to the first level: Self Reflection.

I will make myself at home for awhile among these books, papers, and computer. I will have my coffee and tea and contemplate on the routes that led me to the bottom of the pit, and up that first staircase towards burnout ‘recovery’.

I would highly recommend all three books and give them all five out of five stars (listed here again for reference):

Burnout: The secret to unlocking the stress cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski

The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less by Tonya Dalton

How to be everything: A guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up by Emilie Wapnick

So I am still on my journey to heal from ‘burnout’–I’ve made some good progress over the past few months, but I also know I have quite a ways to go until I feel that joy and other happy emotions when thinking of another job–though I do feel those emotions (along with fear) when I think of doing freelance, so maybe I’m further on the path than I originally thought.

Have you read these books? What did you think of them? What are some of your favorite personal development books?

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Check-in on the 150+ goal challenge. 100 days in, & only 1902 days left.

So I’m 100 days into this challenge, and there are sixty-six days left in 2020. We’re also just about a week away from the presidential election as well (fingers crossed it goes the way I’m hoping).

I decided a couple of weeks ago, that I should probably look at the list again, and see if there were any goals that I wanted to remove (for whatever reason), and possibly any goals I wanted to add—but also to see where I was in terms of the different goals.

There is still the pandemic going on—which means that the travel plans are still on hold, and I’m still sheltering in place. I will probably continue to shelter in place at least until March of 2021 (when hopefully a possible vaccine is available). I’m still working on trying to figure out what my ‘new normal’ is going to be looking like.

As I stated in a previous post, I’m also thinking of replacing the list on the odds and end bucket list with this list—so that change may be occurring soon as well.

So how are things progressing?

Professional development and career:  On-going

            1. Transition into an industry position (probably remote/online or freelancing at this point to start); there will be several posts on this goal

            2. Learn a programming language (python or R—ties in with #6)—going to go with python to begin with.

            3. Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:

                        4. Dream Job Hack Removed, currently going through the modules but trying to tailor to my needs (program is best for those wanting to get into high level manager type roles—not the greatest for someone switching from research to industry and who also hasn’t been in a manager type role).

                        5. Medical Writers Organization

                        6. Data Scientist Syndicate—Finished September 3rd 2020

                        7. Project Management Consortium

                        8. Management Consulting Firm

                        9. All other courses—see additional lists in the journal.

            10. More interacting on Linkedin—Hard to score these, I’m doing the best with #11; though I have started doing my own posts—mainly photographs and quotes; need to start working more on the other 2 (especially the giving/asking for recommendations).

                        11. Sharing articles from various biotech pages, and other science pages

                        12. Commenting on posts

                        13. Giving/Asking for recommendations

                        14. Start writing my own posts

            15. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals—trying to get better at the editorial or to-do-list calendars.

            16. Renew professional memberships—Need to pick just one or two currently to renew; can’t do all at once.

Both Personal and Professional Development—still working on all of these

            17. Become fluent in Spanish

            18. Become fluent in German

            19. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish

20. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books; this will include books from my previous attempts at 1001-day challenges as well. I have over 300 books on the list, and I would like to get through at least 100 of them before I keep adding to the list.

            21. Finish the books on scientific writing

            22. Start building up a portfolio of work (writing/data analysis/plus other ideas)

            23. Develop a daily writing habit (tied with several goals below)

            24. Write a letter to my future self

Personal development and hobbies—started a few, but need to also start in on others as well

            25. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            26. More photographyHave been doing this; started a new challenge (though I haven’t been totally consistent with daily postings) and updating/adding pages

                        27. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)

                        28. Update photography pages on blog

            29. Make my own jewelry

            30. Learn to cross-stitch

            31. Get a new sewing machine—On hold; seems getting a sewing machine there is a 50/50 risk that the machine will have problems winding the bobbin

                        32. Make a new quilt (or this may wait until I move)

                        33. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (for backdrop for any zoom calls)

            34. Start a new afghan (write a post on finishing the other)—need to figure out how to patch the other afghans

            35. Show case crafts on blog (possibly a weekly update?)

            36. Start writing a book

            37. Learn Photoshop

            38. Write in journal daily (answer questions/prompts from journaling books and free thought)

            39. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            40. Learn basic sign language

            41. Start a virtual book club

Finances—still working on these, since I’m taking time off there isn’t a steady paycheck coming in yet.

            42. Create monthly budgets—currently this is just paying off the bills.

            43. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly—some are high, but that is due to buying a couple of personal/professional development courses that were rather expensive.

            44. Declutter the house (way of earning extra cash)

            45. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)—this will be tied in with #44, #46, and any other ways of trying to earn a little extra cash.

            46. Talk with financial person about short-term investment possibilities

            47. Continue doing the small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash

            48. Finish the various financial e-courses, and decide when/how to start investing

Fitness & Health—On going

            49. Get into the best shape of my life

            50. Multivitamin and supplements daily

            51. Manage to make it through the following Beachbody workouts

                                    52. Morning Meltdown 100 (will probably do this 2-3 times, as I’m currently doing this program right now—07/19/2020)—Finished my first round on 9/15/2020

                                    53. Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt (should be done mid-Nov)

                                    54. 10 Rounds—Will be starting this mid-Nov & done by Christmas.

                                    55. Barre Blend

                                    56. Insanity Max 30

                                    57. LIIFT4 (have already done this program once); 2nd round will be done mid-Nov (combined this with Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt)

                                    58. 22-Minute Hard Corps

                                    59. T20

                                    60. Insanity

                                    61. Insanity: Asylum 1

                                    62. Insanity: Asylum 2

                                    63. 4 weeks of Prep

                                    64. 6 weeks of the work

                                    65. T25 (have already done this program once)

                                    66. Brazil Butt Lift

                                    67. 21-Day Fix (Already done this program once)

                                    68. 21-Day Fix Extreme (Already done this program once)

                                    69. Country Heat (already done this program once)

                                    70. CIZE

                                    71. Muscle Burns Fat

                                    72. Muscle Burns Fat Advanced

                                    73. 30-Day Breakaway (this is a maybe—it’s running based)

                                    74. 9-week control freak

                                    75. Shawn Week

                                    76. 80-Day Obsession

                                    77. Brazil Butt Lift: Carnivale

                                    78. Shift Shop: Proving Grounds

                                    79. P90

            Plus any other possible Beachbody program that is coming out that I may want to add.

            80. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes

            81. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            82.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            83.  Hold a 90 second plank

            84.  Meditate nightly

            85.  Start jogging (as another way to try to keep my mental health up)—may tie this in with #73

            86.  60-80 oz of water a day

            87.  Stretch daily

            88. Go one weekend a month with no social media (no scrolling through social media pages; may still post on the sites)

            89. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)—on my way; I’ve managed to hit all month goals (and surpass slightly).

Blog and Social Media–Ongoing

            90.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            91.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            92.  Finish blog to biz course

            93.  Launch a YouTube channel

            94. Launch an online course

            95. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            96. Rebrand myself (?)

            97. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            98. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            99. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            100. Publish at least two blog series

            101.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        102. Blog

                        103. Instagram

                        104. Facebook pages

                        105. Twitter

                        106. Pintrest

            107. Get Fit with Jessi to 1000+ likes/follows

            108. Get becomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows

            109. Various top 10 author lists

            110. Various top 10 book series lists

            111. Launch a podcast

Spirituality–Ongoing

            112. Full/New Moon Goals

            113. Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)

            114. Weekly (or daily) tarot/oracle card readings

            115. 15 minutes outdoors in the morning (coffee only) weather permitting; probably on hold now until spring—fall/winter mornings are usually somewhere between the 30s and 50s (if it’s closer to the higher end—maybe).

Others–ongoing

            116. Keep at least 3 plants alive

            117. Design a science based board game

            118. Create and update digital vision board

            119. Reorganize my storage unit

            120. Put in at least one flower garden around the house (backyard, and/or front yard)

            121. Help put up partial privacy fence in backyard

            122. Start downsizing clothes and creating different “minimum” wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out)

            123. Develop at least 10 different 100-day challenges

                        One challenge will be 100 days of iPhone Photography.

            124. Start downsizing rest of my things./ as well—would like to probably be able to live comfortably in a smallish size apartment (or house) wherever I move for the next job.

TV shows to binge watch—Haven’t felt like sitting and watching anything lately

            125. Hawaii 5-0 (latest remake)

            126. Grimm

            127. The Librarians

            128. Once Upon A Time

            129. Blacklist

            130. Numbers

            131. Agents of SHIELD

Goals on hold due to the global coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak (either because they require traveling, going into a large store, and/or being around large groups of people):

            132. Re-pierce my ears

133. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        134. Present at a scientific conference

            135. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

            136. Move to a new (or maybe not new) city for job

            137. Visit at least 3 new countries

            138. Visit at least one new national and/or state park

            139. Visit at least one new national and/or state monument

            140. Visit at least one new zoo

            141. Visit at least one new aquarium

            142. Fly out and/or land at 3 new (to me) airports

            143. Visit at least one new city

            144. Visit at least one new state

            145. See the northern lights

            146. Attend at least one blogging conference

            147. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            148. Swim with whale sharks

            149. Parasailing

            150. Run a 5K (connects back to goals #73 & #85)

Once I move:

            151. Get fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs

            152. New couch & chair for living room

            153. New dresser for bedroom

            154. New mattress & box spring for bed and/or a new bed set

            155. New TV & stand

            156. New desk/craft workstation

So in terms of the goals:

So I’ve removed one goal (finish the Dream Job Hack program), though I’m still going to work through a little that I think is relevant to what I need to be doing. I did find the program helpful, but it is geared more towards people who have been (or are in) management type positions—while I would like to get there, I know that I probably need to start a step or two below.

I’m making some headway with others—I’ve finished the data science syndicate program from the Cheeky Scientist Association (will be writing a post on late shortly), and am looking forward to trying to learn python and then start building a data science portfolio.

I’m working my way through the medical writers organization (another advanced Cheeky Scientist program), and am hoping to have that finished by mid-November, and again start working on building up a writing portfolio.

Currently I’m thinking of going in the freelance/online/remote direction for work (namely because of the pandemic and not really wanting to figure out the whole headache of trying to move two animals, all of my stuff, and myself to a different state currently). So in that case, I’m also thinking of possibly rebranding the blog (I have a couple of different names bouncing around, a decision will be made probably early next year sometime).

I’m still working on developing an editorial calendar/to-be accomplished list hybrid that works for me. I’ve realized that I swing between two extremes: I get over-ambitious and try to cram way to stuff in everyday, or I don’t get anything really accomplished.

I’m trying to work on that by possibly going to larger bullet journals that I can paperclip in my to-be-accomplished lists (which would then be discarded once everything as accomplished) instead of having to write out the lists constantly.

I’m also working on a schedule that will let me bounce back and forth between different things. I just finished reading “ How to be everything: A guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up” by Emilie Wapnick.

I will be posting a review on the book soon (hopefully this week)—but it was nice to see that I’m not the only one who has felt drawn in different directions and not having a clue how to handle things. I was pleased to find that I’m a mixed-style multipotentialite—someone who goes between having quite a few different projects going on at once to only having one or two projects going on at once.

So that has definitely been a major breakthrough during the last few weeks—now it is a matter of me fully embracing that aspect of myself and figuring how the best ways of working that way—without triggering massive anxiety attacks (stay tuned).

I also removed the “number” of workouts from my fitness goals—the main reason I was starting to get tired. Everyone needs a rest day, and I’ve shown myself that I can still push play on Monday morning even if I take the weekend off (as told by the workout schedule).

So I am slowly making progress on the first ~124 (or I guess 123) goals; the last twenty-odd goals still require the pandemic to be brought under control and for me then to be willing to slowly start leaving the house and going to places that will actually have other people present as well.

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