Burnout Recovery

S25 Eugene Lee on burning out at 27yo

May 23, 2024 Dex Randall
S25 Eugene Lee on burning out at 27yo
Burnout Recovery
More Info
Burnout Recovery
S25 Eugene Lee on burning out at 27yo
May 23, 2024
Dex Randall

Send us a Text Message.

Special guest and fellow burnout recovery coach Eugene Lee talks about how he burned out at 27yo. I love this story because it represents young professionals who are burning out at ever increasing rates and very many are not receiving the support they need. I work with young men in college or recently graduated, because it's vital for them to make a strong start in their careers, through developing confidence in themselves as they learn and grow. Students of all ages are our future, and we need to be there for them.

N.B. Burnout can happen at any age!

Show Notes:
Give Yourself Some Leeway Burnout recovery coaching
Give Yourself Some Leeway podcast
Eugene and I speaking on his podcast episode #106

----------------------------------- Burnout Resources:
Get 1-on-1 burnout recovery coaching at https:/mini.dexrandall.com
Burnout Recovery eCourse: https://go.dexrandall.com/beatburnout
For even more TIPS see
FACEBOOK: @coachdexrandall
INSTAGRAM: @coachdexrandall
LINKEDIN: @coachdexrandall
TWITTER: @coachdexrandall
or join the FACEBOOK group for burnout coaches only

See https://linktr.ee/coachdexrandall for all links

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Special guest and fellow burnout recovery coach Eugene Lee talks about how he burned out at 27yo. I love this story because it represents young professionals who are burning out at ever increasing rates and very many are not receiving the support they need. I work with young men in college or recently graduated, because it's vital for them to make a strong start in their careers, through developing confidence in themselves as they learn and grow. Students of all ages are our future, and we need to be there for them.

N.B. Burnout can happen at any age!

Show Notes:
Give Yourself Some Leeway Burnout recovery coaching
Give Yourself Some Leeway podcast
Eugene and I speaking on his podcast episode #106

----------------------------------- Burnout Resources:
Get 1-on-1 burnout recovery coaching at https:/mini.dexrandall.com
Burnout Recovery eCourse: https://go.dexrandall.com/beatburnout
For even more TIPS see
FACEBOOK: @coachdexrandall
INSTAGRAM: @coachdexrandall
LINKEDIN: @coachdexrandall
TWITTER: @coachdexrandall
or join the FACEBOOK group for burnout coaches only

See https://linktr.ee/coachdexrandall for all links

[00:00:00] Dex: Hi everyone, my name's Dex Randall, and this is the Burnout to Leadership podcast, where I teach professional men to recover from burnout and get back to passion and reward at work.

[00:00:22] Hello, my friends, this is Dex, and today I'm very pleased to welcome a special guest, Eugene Lee, who is a fellow burnout recovery specialist, and according to his bio, a biohacker. I'm going to have to ask about that later. Anyway, he's writing a book about his own burnout in the food industry at 27 years old, and also his recovery process.

[00:00:43] I guested on his podcast, Give Yourself Some Leeway earlier this year, and I really wanted to have him back here to talk about his story with you. So hi, Eugene, how are you today?

[00:00:56] Eugene: I was about to say good morning, it was good morning for me, but hello Dex, your day is probably completely different on the other side of the world to me. Because I'm currently calling from Switzerland it's a good start to the day. Jumping on the podcast early in the morning is a great way to get the mind clear.

[00:01:11] Dex: We did have a great chat last time, so I'm sure we'll have another one today. 

[00:01:13] Eugene: We did, and we went off on many a tangent as well, but we have plenty to talk about, and there's plenty, especially in the burnout space, to be talked about, that needs to be normalized.

[00:01:24] Dex: There sure is. I'm right with you on that one. But let's begin. Just let's start by hearing a little bit, shall we, about your burnout and how that happened for you.

[00:01:35] Eugene: Yes, of course. And when it comes to my burnout, it's always hindsight. It's 20/20. And I always try to figure out when did it begin? And it goes back to childhood. It goes back to how we are conditioned, the behaviors that we learn as kids. And for me, that was growing up in a dairy farm in the south of Ireland in Cork.

[00:01:57] And first of all, people are like, Oh it's how your parents raised you. But you can't just blame your parents. Your parents raised you on their life experience. So the hard work ethic that my parents put into me was because that's how they had learned it. That was how they were conditioned. And yes, I can understand where that hard work ethic came from.

[00:02:18] Working on the farm. There's always work to be done and raising five kids. There's always chores to be done around the house. If not around the house, it's on the farm. But that even though that hard work ethic that they instilled in me served me later on in life. There was this self narrative that was passed down as part of that behavior, as part of that hard work ethic, and that was if you have nothing to do, or if you're so focused on thinking about X, then you're not spending enough time on Y.

[00:02:52] So if you have enough time to sit around and be alone with your thoughts, then you're not working hard enough on the farm, and they'll find work for you to do. If you don't know what it is right now, they'll send you up to the farm and find work for you to do once you get there. And that may have served me then, and it may have served me when I was working part time and studying and going to university, because I knew that I needed to immerse myself in the work if I wanted to get better, or I needed to immerse myself in the hard things to become more disciplined.

[00:03:25] But having the negative self narrative that made me feel like if you're at any time idle and left alone with your thoughts and have time to think about something. Then you're being lazy and you're being a waste of space that you're not putting in enough effort. And that's where it all started. That's how I showed up to school, how I showed up to university, how I showed up to my first full time job working in food microbiology.

[00:03:53] It was an area that I loved. I loved the work that I was doing. I felt that I had to pull up this veil. At least that's what I told myself. I had to put up this veil and I needed to be this high energy, high spirited, hard worker. And if I ever showed any sign of weakness or overwhelm, then I was not showing up at my best.

[00:04:15] And I was no longer fit for this role, that someone else would come in to replace me with higher energy and a more hardworking ethic. And that was always behind me. That was always in the back of my head. If I'm not showing up this way, someone else is going to replace me and I will be a failure.

[00:04:36] And carrying that high energy into the workplace, having 100 percent energy levels like that every day, 12 hours a day, four to five days a week, it's not sustainable. And if you have that in the back of your head, that you're trying to maintain this level of energy. at all times, then you're going to compensate after a while.

[00:05:02] Once you start off, yes, you're going to have the high energy because you're enthusiastic, but once it becomes your routine and as the hours go by and the stress levels go up with the job, then you're going to try and compensate, keep those energy levels. And for me, that was caffeine and sugar. Two quick fixes to get over the sleepiness, to get over the stress and just carry on through the day and compensate for the lack of energy.

[00:05:28] And that led me to a place where I had normalized keeping 20 to 30 cans of monster energy in the backseat of my car. And that was something that I might slip out to grab a can halfway through a day, or I might have a can on my way home just so that I wouldn't fall asleep at the wheel. And I had normalized that behavior because that was necessary for me to carry out the intensive work that I was doing.

[00:05:54] Dex: Are we talking about the food industry now? Is this while you were working with food?

[00:05:57] Eugene: Yes, this is while I was working the food industry.

[00:05:59] Dex: Because it's so normal there, this speediness and this massive energy

[00:06:04] Eugene: Yes, you just need it wasn't normalized. There was a lot of people who were so stressed out and they were like that they were so burnt out even then, but they would never admit to it. And they would come into work and it was always quiet quitting. It was, OK, I'm clocking in. I'm going to get through the day.

[00:06:24] I don't care by what means. I'm going to clock out and that's my time done. But I felt that I needed to come up. I need to show up with higher energy. In order to differentiate myself from the people who were not showing up, I needed to compensate for them not having the same energy as I did. And I need to show up better.

[00:06:45] And I needed to hold that mirror up to myself and be like, I don't want to get to a place where I am so complacent about my work. Because I like the work that I do. And I want to serve myself at the end of the day. I want to show up at my best. So that's why I compensated even more, to make sure that I showed up.

[00:07:06] with the high energy levels, even when I didn't feel like I had them. And anytime that I was caught out or someone pointed out that I wasn't my high energy self, I saw that as me letting myself down. Not that, oh, maybe I should check in with myself and see why are my energy levels not where they should be?

[00:07:27] Or is there something going on in my life? Am I, is it my health? Is it my relationships? Is there some grief or trauma that I haven't processed or regulated? And maybe I should get help with that. No, it was, Oh, I let my guard down. I let my guard down. I should be high energy all the time. 

[00:07:47] Dex: Who in their pauses to ask themselves those questions?

[00:07:50] Eugene: exactly.

[00:07:51] This is my early twenties. And of course, no one asked themselves those questions, especially in the university days. It was anytime anything like that came up, it was like the answer is at the bottom of a bottle of Jack Daniels or a bottle of Jameson. That's where the, especially in Ireland, that was 

[00:08:08] the toxic drinking culture . And that was something that never really sat well with me. Going through university, yes, everyone tends to binge on drink and they do pre drinking as well.

[00:08:20] And it was something that, as I worked longer hours, I didn't have the time for that drinking anymore. And even when I did have time off with friends, it was never a sit down and have a drink and enjoy it as an outlet. It was, okay, you have to go hell for leather. You have to go to 90 and see the end of the bottle, chug a bottle.

[00:08:40] It was never about enjoying the drink. It was about finishing the drink and getting to the effect. And that was just the way things are dealt with. It was, you don't talk about your self awareness. You don't talk about how you're truly feeling.

[00:08:55] You can block all of that out and find an outlet, rather than finding a way to process and regulate those feelings. It's easier to push them down or bottle them up. 

[00:09:06] Dex: Yeah, and I think there are going to be people listening to this who can relate to that very strongly as well.

[00:09:13] Eugene: And that's part of why I want to share my story and why I started Give Yourself Some Leeway, the podcast was when I burned out. I was working there for over five years before I completely burnt out. Looking back, I did have lapses where I was highly stressed and had a little breakdown, but never completely burnt out.

[00:09:35] It got to a point where I was so numb to my own emotions I had dulled all of my negative emotions so much that I didn't process any grief. I didn't process any time I got overstressed. It was, oh, I can work through this. And anytime I had loss in the family, it was okay the funeral is coming up.

[00:09:59] I need to work extra hard so that I can make up the hours so that I don't need to take time off work for the funeral. And my way of thinking was I can work my way through everything and not actually take the time to deal with that grief.

[00:10:13] Dex: How on earth did you have antennae long enough to notice you were in burnout then? How did you realize you were burnt out?

[00:10:19] Eugene: So what happened for me was I went to work as normal. And I was about four hours into my shift and it was just before my break time. I was doing environmental monitoring, testing the air in the factory. And next thing I was, time to go for my coffee break.

[00:10:36] And I sat down for two minutes to take a breather before I go for break. And I couldn't catch my breath. And I was hyperventilating. And next thing I thought that I had heart failure. And I was like, what the hell is happening to me? And I was like, Eugene, do you have heart failure?

[00:10:54] And it's no, Eugene, you can have heart failure. You're 27, you're pretty healthy. What's happening here? And I was so embarrassed, I just started having a panic attack because I didn't want anyone to see me in this state. I was working in a laboratory with about 20 other people and I was like, if they see me like this, they won't know what to do.

[00:11:15] They're going to think that I have issues that, I won't be capable to work here. I'm not competent anymore in my job. What am I going to do? And of course that wasn't their way of thinking. Of course they will be concerned for me and want to help me. My narrative was that, Oh no, if they spot me for being weak or incompetent, then they're going to flag that and I'm going to lose my job.

[00:11:35] So when I finally caught my breath, I said okay, I need to get this looked at. Otherwise this could cost me my career. And I rang my manager and said, look, I'm not feeling well. And I went to my doctor and explained everything. And they prescribed me with four weeks off work. They said, this is what you need. And I recommend you go for a long walk every day, head down to the forest, take some deep breaths. And this was so foreign to me.

[00:12:01] I looked at her and I was like, I don't take time off work. But that's not me. I've never done that in almost 10 years in the industry. Never took more than a week or two off work on holidays. And even then, I never fully switched off from the work that I was doing because all the emails and all the projects were always in the back of my head.

[00:12:23] Dex: So what did you think then about what to do next? 

[00:12:25] Eugene: So what I thought was, okay, I'm given four weeks off work. I'm going to nail this burnout thing, once and for all, that's going to be a quick fix before we send me back to work. That's what I was told by my manager as well. I was like, yeah, you will recharge in the next four weeks and you'll be fine.

[00:12:40] You'll be straight back and you'll be your normal self again. But my normal self was this ball of stress that was compensating for a lack of energy for the past five years with caffeine and sugar. That was using an outlet at the weekends using alcohol. And this, none of these habits were serving me. And I did a lot of, you mentioned the biohacking element was that I was always looking at how could I improve my peak performance.

[00:13:13] Because everything was productivity driven. So I was always looking at, what are the supplements I can take that can boost my productivity so that I can show up better and have optimal energy levels?

[00:13:25] Dex: At work?

[00:13:25] Eugene: I was at work. I was taking on projects outside of work also.

[00:13:30] And I found that the reason why I was taking on extra projects and side hustles outside of work was because I was no longer aligned with the work I was doing where I started off 10 years ago. I needed to grow. I didn't have that opportunity in the role I was in.

[00:13:45] So I was looking for other projects outside of my role, still working full time hours, but I might work a 12 hour shift, but the four hours that I have before bedtime, I wanted to work on a side project. Because I wasn't being fulfilled.

[00:14:00] Dex: so you weren't working in the restaurant or service industry?

[00:14:03] Eugene: I was working in a microbiology. It was in the food technology industry.

[00:14:07] Dex: I see.

[00:14:07] Eugene: It was a long intensive day. And putting in a side project on top of that . I was not taking the time to take a step back and realize Why do I feel the need to take on all these side projects?

[00:14:18] At one point I was doing two university degrees outside of work while working full time and taking holidays on weekend days so that I could attend the university on Saturdays to to do extra modules. 

[00:14:34] Dex: Now the biohacking is starting to make sense, because most people I talk to who are into biohacking are for athletic purposes. Now I'm starting to see if you're working that many jobs at the same time, biohacking could have sounded like a very appealing way out.

[00:14:49] Eugene: Yes, it was. It was trying to get the levels of energy that you see in the top athletes. And I was trying to bring that into, how do I get that so that I can perform at my best both in industry and also while studying. And also while dealing with life at home, and what are all the supplements I can take?

[00:15:10] I never took a step back and said, maybe I'm taking on too much. Where am I, managing my own natural energy levels?

[00:15:19] Dex: Yeah.

[00:15:20] Eugene: When it comes back to the basics, how much water am I drinking every day? Am I getting enough sleep? And it was coming back to the very basics that are still considered biohacking because people don't have that awareness of their own limits, their own capacity and their own recovery levels.

[00:15:40] Because if you want to work at peak performance, you can't work at your peak 100 percent of the time. You need to get into that state of flow. You need to give yourself a chance to recover so that you can put your foot in the gas and go to 100. If you're at a hundred all the time, or if you're at top revs all the time, you're going to burn out.

[00:16:02] Dex: Yeah. Who was it? That very famous basketball player, but now I can't remember which one who sleeps 10 hours a night as part of his intentional recovery process

[00:16:11] Eugene: That's what it would take, especially up to the championship season, recovery is where it's at. And that was something that I had neglected for a very long time. When it comes to activities I always had my Fitbit on when I was working.

[00:16:25] And it was like, how many steps to get today? What was my maximum heart rate? I didn't push my heart rate enough to have my activity levels. I only got 15, 000 steps today. I should aim for 20,000, aim for 25,000. And there was always monitoring how much activity am I pushing myself through the day?

[00:16:40] Because that's how I monitored my health. And about 18 months ago, I started on Whoop. I don't wear it on my wrist though, because I always had my watch and my whoop. 

[00:16:53] So I started wearing mine on my ankle instead. So I don't look

[00:16:57] Dex: God. You look like a prisoner.

[00:16:59] Eugene: yeah. So like people don't tend to ask questions. If you have the battery on it, it looks like that ankle bracelet thing they have for prisoners. Some people ask questions and other people feel that they shouldn't ask questions and that's okay.

[00:17:11] They keep their distance. So

[00:17:12] Dex: You know what I use mine for?

[00:17:13] Eugene: I need to deal with on the street.

[00:17:15] Dex: I use mine to make sure I don't overreach.

[00:17:19] Eugene: Don't overreach.

[00:17:21] Dex: Yeah. I don't do too much exercise.

[00:17:23] Eugene: Yeah. So that was exactly the shift for me. Instead of looking at how much activity and how much steps am I putting into every day, now I just check in the morning or if I'm feeling a little low at time of day, I look at my Whoop and I say, how was my recovery doing?

[00:17:41] Did I get enough sleep? What was the quality of that sleep? Are there other activities I can do? And now that they have the AI in the app as well, that monitors all your data and tells you, okay these are steps that you could take based on your HRV and based on your sleep. These are steps that you can take to improve your recovery.

[00:18:00] Dex: Quite good for those of us in burnout, I think, because, most of us are over workers, over efforters. We're trying to fix a problem that can't be fixed. So we just keep slamming like you've described earlier. I think a lot of people in burnout are like that. So I think it's quite a good device for that because it really tells you to offset your exercise against the quality of your recovery and sleep, and it tells you as well which activities are boosting your recovery.

[00:18:29] But unfortunately for me, meditation is minus one. It's actually worse.

[00:18:33] Eugene: Yeah. And it's funny how things work. Some things serve you or some things served you in the past and they no longer serve you. So it helps you to point out those things that you have in your routine that may have served you at a certain period in your life, but they no longer serve you.

[00:18:48] And sometimes people are like, Oh, but I can't stop doing that. That's the way things have always been done. Oh, I've always started my day with an extra large, frothy Frappuccino or something like that . That's the sugar fix that I need in order for me to work.

[00:19:03] Yes, but that's not serving you anymore. How about you switch to starting your day with a glass of water and see how you feel after that. Maybe you can have your Frappuccino an hour or two after you drink some water.

[00:19:15] Dex: I tell you what, if you're gonna tell me to do without my one coffee each day, stand well back after you've said it,

[00:19:22] Eugene: No and I've found as well, Whoop, is that my coffee actually helps me. I always start off my day, water and about two hours after I wake up, I have my black coffee

[00:19:31] Dex: Oh yeah,

[00:19:32] Eugene: I felt, yeah. And I found that serves me. Having your coffee too early when your cortisol levels are too high, the caffeine doesn't serve you as well as if you have your caffeine intake two hours after you wake up, because it helps to raise the cortisol levels a bit again, and also give you that caffeine boost.

[00:19:53] Dex: That's what I do. I get up, I exercise for an hour or two, and then I go and get a long black, just like you.

[00:19:58] Eugene: Yeah. Yeah. And this it serves me.

[00:20:00] Dex: I think it has a place. I only have one a day, so I'm pretty happy about that. But what do you think then, you've obviously got a very meticulous and almost academic approach to all of this biohacking stuff you talked about. 

[00:20:13] What worked for you?

[00:20:15] Eugene: One of the most important parts were realizing that it's not a sprint. When I was told that it was going to take four weeks, I just went hell for leather and I'm going to make it work in these four weeks. And if I don't recover from burnout in these four weeks, I'm a failure. That did not work out for me.

[00:20:31] It took me about three and a half years to fully break that burnout cycle. It took me a long time of trial and error to try and figure out why was I slipping back into the burnout cycle? Why was I always sabotaging myself? It took me a long time to figure out why I kept on putting myself back in the same situations.

[00:20:52] Why was I no longer aligned with the work that I thought that I loved, that I thought I was set for life? And I got to a point where it's not comfortable. But once I increased my awareness about myself and actually sat down and was alone with my thoughts for a bit. and figure it out. What do I value most in life?

[00:21:14] What stresses me out the most? Am I actually getting a return on investment on the time that I spend at work? Do I get reciprocated energy back from the work I do? Am I being fulfilled? I like to start off my years with like a power phrase that I carry into everything that I do

[00:21:33] and last year, my phrase was Does this help me to grow? And that was everything from my health, career, relationships, everything. Does this help me to grow? If I pick up a snack bar in the shop does this help me to grow? How does this make me feel? Is there another option here I could pick up that could help me grow?

[00:21:54] And it was the same at work. I'd look at work and if something was stressing me out, does pursuing this project help me to grow? What are the elements that could help me to grow? Is there something else I could be doing that could help me to grow? And then this year I shifted from growth to service.

[00:22:10] So my power phrase is, how does this help me be of service to me or to others? And if I'm doing something and it's not of service to me or to others, then why am I spending my time on that? And it's not that I always push it off and say, Oh if it's not of service to me or to others, then I don't do it.

[00:22:30] I need to find the reason why I'm pursuing this, because maybe we're being led because of behaviors or conditioning in our past. But if you're aware of it and maybe I'm pursuing this. It might not be of particular benefit , but maybe it's part of my rest and recovery.

[00:22:46] And that is of service to me, but not in my productivity driven mind where I'm like, no, it needs to be an active service. Sometimes you need to take a step back and realize how much you've done today.

[00:23:00] Be more compassionate. And it always comes back to my three pillars of self awareness, self compassion, and self care. Because if you don't take care of these three pillars of yourself first, you cannot be of service to anyone. To your family, to your friends, to your kids, to your work colleagues, to any of the work you do, to yourself.

[00:23:20] Especially if you don't take care of yourself, you won't be of service to anyone else in life. And that's what leads a lot of people to burnout, where they don't feel the fulfillment in what they do and they're spending energy into so many different areas of their life, but not taking time to take care of themselves 

[00:23:37] Dex: I would agree with that. There's pretty rampant self neglect, sometimes verging on self abuse.

[00:23:42] Eugene: Yes.

[00:23:42] Dex: But I think self care is a very, I don't use the word self care very much because it has a certain connotation that isn't quite in line. I'm more in line with what you think, which is, you replenish the goodness in yourself.

[00:23:55] So you're thriving and that goodness overflows onto the people around you more than, going to have a hot tub or something. 

[00:24:02] Eugene: When it comes to all the self care routines, I'm doing air quotes here to myself but all these self care routines and people say, Oh, the best way you need to start your day is go into an infrared sauna and take a cold plunge. And that's the best way you can take care of yourself.

[00:24:18] No we need to get back to the basics. We need to get primitive here. We need to go back to our instincts. In order to take care of yourself, when was the last time you smiled? 

[00:24:28] Eugene: And some people are so uncomfortable that they feel they need to be stoic and alpha and they don't smile. They need to be tough, they need to have this mask, this veil that they show to the world and they can't show any sign of weakness. And I asked them when was the last time they smiled and they were like, oh no, smiling makes me look silly.

[00:24:46] So one of the first things I get them to do , it is heartbreaking because they have built up such an image that they feel like they can't show any signs of weakness. They never look for help and it just breaks them from the inside. And they feel like they can never Oh, a hundred percent and

[00:25:02] Dex: In Burnout, we've all been through that stage.

[00:25:05] Eugene: Yes,

[00:25:06] I don't think we were different than that.

[00:25:08] yes. Exactly. It's about not being able to look for support because you've built this image for so long and you don't want to be, appear weak and incompetent. And one of the things I tell them, I'm like, look, this is the most basic steps that I give people.

[00:25:21] They're like that's so easy. I want a real action step. If it's so easy, you'd be doing it already. It would be in your subconscious, but we need to reprogram that and get you doing this on a regular basis. And it's the first thing in the morning when you go to brush your teeth and you look in the mirror, give yourself a smile.

[00:25:37] You start off your day with a smile, and

[00:25:40] Dex: or do something that you personally love to do.

[00:25:44] Eugene: yes, exactly. You just need to, you just need to get the smile. And that's the most basic thing I could think of. You started off your day with a smile and at least one person has smiled back at you. And yes, that's you.

[00:25:55] That's your reflection. Now you start it off. That's your win for today. You've done your action step for today. And that was smile. Now, if you want to do any extra smiles during the day, be that to yourself, anytime you see yourself in a reflection, maybe you smile at your dog, maybe you smile at your partner, maybe you smile at a work colleague.

[00:26:14] They're all bonuses, but you started off by having that one smile with yourself at the start of the day. And now, anyone that you smile towards, be it your family, friend, work colleague, your pet, they're bonus smiles. And you might get a smile back. And maybe if you smile more often with all these people in your life, things may seem a bit more positive, a bit more easygoing, and it might be easier to express yourself on a daily basis.

[00:26:43] So something as simple as smiling at your reflection first thing in the morning can offset a lot of other smiles, although we're in other places of your life. And the other one that I always recommend as well, starting off, and this is my biggest biohacking is starting your day with a glass of water and people are like, Oh, a glass of water.

[00:27:05] Anyone can do that. I'm like, yes, but no one is .No one is starting off the day with a glass of water and being like, Oh, this is the best thing I can do for my body right now. Your body is so dehydrated when you wake up. And how can you make clear decisions if your body is dehydrated? If you're not giving yourself that clarity at the start of the day, if you're giving yourself a sugar laden frappuccino, that's not going to fuel you for the rest of your day.

[00:27:31] You're going to slump by 11am. How are you going to make key decisions in your life? How do you know you're actually making the best decisions at work, the best decisions for your family, the best decisions for your health?

[00:27:42] Dex: Yeah. It's interesting. I think we share more or less the same principles of recovery from burnout, but what every coach I meet applies those in a completely different way, which I find fascinating.

[00:27:57] Eugene: Yes, it always comes back. Yes, we have a similar approach, a similar way to recovering, but not everyone is the same. And this was also something that I encountered very early when I started sharing my experience of burnout. When I started Give Yourself Some Leeway, it was about trying to normalize talking about mental health in the workplace.

[00:28:17] I wanted to document my experience because when I was going through my burnout, I didn't find many other people talking about it, especially men. We are very few. I mean, you and me, Dex

[00:28:29] Dex: I didn't about my burnout when I went into burnout though. I didn't mention it to anyone.

[00:28:34] Disappeared out of my job and sat at home and thought, hope nobody finds out. So I was the same back then.

[00:28:39] Eugene: exactly. It was just taboo. And I and it was only once I recovered, I was like, I should probably tell people about this. And as soon as I started talking about it to work colleagues, they were like, Yeah, I felt that way for a while too, and I

[00:28:54] Dex: It can be a bit risky for some people mentioning it at work though, because some people do get stigmatized and discriminated against. they mention something like burnout, I think it's a legitimate place to take caution. I wouldn't necessarily do it everywhere. For example, I work with a lot of people in the medical profession and they really get into trouble in the HR

[00:29:21] Eugene: Yes,

[00:29:22] Dex: like that.

[00:29:23] Eugene: yes, and that was also part of it, was that people felt that they couldn't talk about it. And I had many a discussion about employee assistance programs that people offer at work for people's mental health, and I was told not to promote it. I was like, why are you telling people about our employee assistance program?

[00:29:44] Why are so many people taking it up now? I was like if it's there, it should be, everyone should take it. Every employee, whether it be a 100 or 1000 employees that you have, if they are all opting for the employee assistance program, it's a good sign that they're looking for support.

[00:29:59] But at least they're looking for the help and getting the help that they need for that problem rather than sitting on their hands, feeling like they can do nothing and

[00:30:08] Dex: I do wonder if they're going to get the support that they need if there's a lot of them and they're complaining about the same organization, is that organization going to support them through the problem?

[00:30:19] Eugene: .Yes. So more often than not, the employee assistance program, when it comes to the counseling is usually offered by like a health insurer and that it's a hundred percent confidential from the company. And this was something that was also brought up was that, The only way to access the employee assistance program was if they contacted the HR manager directly. I brought this up, I was like, look, these people are not even telling their friends, their family, they're not going to approach a manager. Definitely not the HR manager to tell them that they're feeling burnt out or stressed or overwhelmed because they feel it will affect their career. If this is a 100 percent confidential line, there should just be a poster up on the bulletin board that says, If you're feeling this way, there is help available.

[00:31:03] A hundred percent confidential number. Not even your best friend's dog was, is going to know how you're feeling.

[00:31:11] Dex: I feel the same way about burnout recovery in general, though, that it should be confidential because it's nobody else's business.

[00:31:19] Eugene: yeah

[00:31:20] Dex: Even your employers. I don't think it's their business either.

[00:31:23] Eugene: it's the same as weight loss or anything is that that if you don't, if you feel so, so self ashamed around something like burnout, or as people feel like self ashamed about the last 10 pounds and need to lose, well, you're not going to approach everyone and work and say, Oh, I'm trying really hard to lose those last 10 pounds that I feel really conscious of something that nobody else might may even see.

[00:31:45] But you also don't want to come across as feeling insecure when you're trying to have that image as a leader, or as a manager, or even as a work colleague, that you don't want your manager to see you as being weak. Knowing that you have that support there, and also having the confidentiality that it's not going to affect your career. Because yes, the taboo is still there, and as much as we try to normalize it, This has been conditioned in us for years. It's been conditioned in many an industry. And it's just how corporate is that they see, Oh, we see someone who's not able to manage their stress or I see it in healthcare and they have doctors who go through some of the most traumatizing.

[00:32:32] like events that are seeing people die every day, people going through sickness, through cancer, and they're told, or if they feel stressed or overwhelmed, they're not taking their resilience training seriously enough, rather than being met with compassion. And it's a brutal industry. If we can't talk about our mental health, especially in healthcare, Where we are dealing with mental health services, but when it comes to people who are working in mental health services, they need to be 100 percent resilient to any mental health conditions that may arise from the work that they do.

[00:33:09] I can go down this rabbit hole all day about normalizing the conversation around burnout and mental health in the workplace,

[00:33:15] Dex: Yeah.

[00:33:16] Eugene: because people don't talk about it enough. If we don't talk about it, then we're not going to be able to change anything. No one's going to take any action, and we can't get help.

[00:33:25] We can't get awareness of the people who need that help in order to make that change.

[00:33:30] Dex: Yeah, I feel you on that one. Sadly, though, we have come to the end of our time together. I could have done at least a double on that one, but

[00:33:38] Eugene: I could do a hundred percent, I could do a Joe Rogan on that and go on for the next four or five hours and be like, and I can keep going, I keep going, talking about this.

[00:33:44] Dex: yeah, we could. There's so many more topics we could have covered, but it really has been such a pleasure to chat with you again today.

[00:33:50] Eugene: likewise, Dex, it's great. And I think it's all the more reason why we need to have these conversations as well as to help other people normalize having these conversations.

[00:34:00] Dex: Yes. Yeah. Especially because we ourselves have been through burnout. We understand how difficult it is to work with burnout in yourself.

[00:34:09] Eugene: Yes. And everyone's experience is different. As you've said, everyone's approach to healing can be different because of where our minds take us on that journey. And while the fundamentals may be the same, may be similar, our approaches may be different in how to actually overcome that burnout, how to overcome that cycle because of what self sabotaging factors are taking place within our mind.

[00:34:31] Where are we holding ourselves back?

[00:34:33] Dex: Yeah. Yeah. And I think that's how it's supposed to be. We're all supposed to do it differently and we'll pull the people to us who are the right people for us that we can help is my discovery of it really. And yes.

[00:34:46] Eugene: that's why we have so many burnout coaches here because not everyone is going to have the same approach or is going to have the same way to as I said, we have the fundamentals, but our approaches may be different. We can personalize that approach so that we can get people on their burnout recovery journey,

[00:35:05] Dex: And for any listeners who are relating to Eugene's story and the way that he works, please have a look for his website and social links, which I'm going to put in the show notes of the podcast and get in touch with him. And also as you've been listening, if you've enjoyed today's show, I really would love you to rate and review the podcast, because this is how we are able to reach out and help more people who suffer from burnout.

[00:35:30] And if you yourself are in burnout, please feel free to come and speak with Eugene or come and talk to me and we can make a plan for you to recover and get back to your best performance, leadership, and most of all enjoyment inside working out. Thank you so much for listening today. 

Our Learned Work Ethic
Caffeine and Sugar as Compensation
Realization of Burnout
Biohacking and Recovery
Caffeine intake and cortisol levels
Recovery process and self-awareness
Self-compassion and self-care
Smiling and mental welbeing
Overcoming workplace stigma