Burnout: Escape Alcatraz

Matej Nemček 🌱🌍
8 min readMar 22, 2021

No news, that in this digital-first era, especially during lockdowns and post-pandemic, people get easily jump on the burnout train. You may be one, soon.

Photo by Andi Wieser on Unsplash

The reason could be numerous. I personally see that people living on the planet Earth have bills to exist and live in comfort way, need resources to eat so similarly they need to produce some value to get paid and survive.

Maybe (crypto)UBI could help this, who knows. Speaking to family-dynamics or various politics-oriented issues, you may be a victim of burnout down spiral.

Let’s briefly try to identify signals and stages of upcoming burnout stages.

Stages of upcoming burnout

  • Honeymoon phase — where your body has a positive coping mechanism in order to avoid entering the next stages of burnout. Want to keep in this stage indefinitely.
  • Casual stress — stress is becoming a little harder to manage, affects you emotionally and mentally
  • Chronic stress — more frequent casual stress, irritability in certain situations.
  • Burnout —where your personal life entering a downward spiral. Self-doubt and social insolation, escapism activities.
  • Habitual burnout — Chronic mental fatigue, physical fatigue, illness and sadness

📚 Deep dive reading on stages.

Symptoms touching burnout down-spiral

  • Exhaustion — feeling depleted, having lowered concentration, being especially forgetful
  • Alienation — wanting to avoid social situations, feeling pessimistic, feeling cynical
  • Reduced performance — missing deadlines, feeling listless, being less engaged

When we burn out, it places deep stress on our personal relationships and businesses as well as damaging our own psyches and bodies. —the-real-cost-of-burnout-and-how-to-avoid-it

If you managed to identify yourself with symptoms or any stage, it’s good to briefly read through and avoid any worse scenario for your personal life. May save you some time ahead, as more deep you slip, the more time takes to get out.

Rebuilding Your Value Pyramid

Photo by Filip Gielda on Unsplash

The general thesis here I use, that you need to rebuild your core values pyramid. That’s how your brains work and you worship society to being an integral part of it. If you are coming from democractic nationality, more likely you can have the option to adopt a better version of your future-self thus missing part is to find your own will to participate in self-experiment. It may cost you your time and adds a new purpose in life.

Seek value that will help you grow over time, few long term bets with long-term players — yangwao

My reference comes brewed and fertilized from reading Annie Duke, Thinking in Bets.

Here I could paraphrase society on mimetics topic, that seeking true value matters for oneself.

Competition distracts us from things that are more important, meaningful, or valuable. — David Perell

“When I left after seven months and three days, one of the lawyers down the hall from me said, ‘You know, I had no idea it was possible to escape from Alcatraz.’ Of course that was not literally true, since all you had to do was go out the front door and not come back. But psychologically this was not what people were capable of. Because their identity was defined by competing so intensely with other people, they could not imagine leaving… On the outside, everybody wanted to get in. On the inside, everybody wanted to get out.” — Peter Thiel

Here would be your first homework to do and trying to establish and look for conceptions that will bring you your true new, there is no deadline as it’s will be rolling homework on your everyday basis once you will be recovering from burnout.

Photo by Manuel Cortina on Unsplash

Lower your inputs — calm your mind

Your brain works nonstop, so it’s eating what hears, sees, smells, thinks. That’s why being minimal first to cure your sensations is worth exploring and meditation is the best advice and habit you can embrace. Having time with one-self is worth mentioning. That’s so developing self-awareness is key and meditation is a tool to help on self-reflection

Intense and deep focus and intense and deep relaxation. Simple as that. Your brain has limited bandwidth and stamina to filter signals, growing memories, accessing memories, doing memory recalls and numerous other processes happening in your brain. The brain needs some time to reconstruct what the brain has encountered, that’s what the REM sleep-cycle is used to for, defragment your past days, making it whole and do sense-making for you.

Quality sleep

Having quality sleep is worthwhile, thus you should prioritize good quality sleep. I made quick writing on Optimal sleep habits. Lessons I’ve learned.

Stress log

How one could see that one mentality is draining? Bio-feedback devices like Garmin, Fitbit, Suunto, Apple Watch can help you show your daily and weekly average stress core, how your body copes with the stress load you are encountering.

Schedule your relaxation time

This was probably the hardest part for me to learn and escape working-loop. I’ve introduced myself into my life, the morning improvement cycle. I’ve got up early, ~ 5 AM, turn on a red light on, doing the calm long reading, taking notes, listening to audiobooks, watching MIT academic talks, whatever I’ve to learn from. From thereafter hour or so, no limit here to being curious, I’ll dress up for the bike and go for on 20minutes ~ 2hours meditation ride through woods, listening to birds as birdwatching really got me in!

Stretch your focus

This was a spicy one to rebuild. I’ve started a parallel background project to recreate the focus room in my small flat and went with Asian small offices style.

Rebuilt mental core values

After a time I’ve figured out what has brought true value to my life I’ve realized that having long-term meditation rides in woods somehow contributes to my thinking, gives me relaxation and time being with myself. Having bamboo 🎍 at home helps me better perceive time and progress. Rest like MacBook is a tool to survive and NAD+ is a supplement that promotes anti-ageing stuff.

Grow your worthy relationships

While you are building something new, try to focus engage and having deep-talks as during a pandemic is super easy to do that, once you found a common interest with another party. Try new formats like VR/Metaverses worlds where one could meet in a causal way. For one could figure out the problem with finding sense of purpose.

My suggestion is at Rick and Morty — You Pass Butter

Making U-turn in life

Once you are pass by that you growing healthy habits and routines, it’s the perfect time to helping others or solving interesting problems and engage your part of the brain which is rather curious than anxious

Finding purpose is about being driven by your values, not your anxiety. And when you look for the small pockets of purpose in a day, your energy level tends to rise. — burnout-is-now-our-default-state

Habits that helped me out

  • Supplements — starting with CBD oil might be great but you don’t want to stay there much longer. Vitamin D and check on L-tryptophan & 5-HTP will boost your positive levels.
  • Daily exercise — keep your body fat lean and gain Creatine to form new synapses
  • Red Light Therapy — help you with positive mood and memory recall if it’s trained properly.
  • Breathworks — cheapest and affordable for anyone. Morning Wim-Hof, 4–4–4–4–4 to regain focus during the day, 4–7–8 before sleep.
  • Fasting — caloric restriction helps a lot on your mood
  • Read a lot — self-explanatory, mind your brain diet and read high-quality pieces
  • Create — important as thanks to writings like this, my brain is connecting leaf nodes of knowledge and realizes me what I miss and what else I need to change in my life to be pixel perfect

Getting clocked again

Build habit, create a routine, make your day synthetic no matter what. — yangwao

As I sense this is was a crucial part, even for me. While people drop out of work — for whatever reasons, losing significant-other — a lot of scenarios may happen, you may lose your co-dependency. It may not be necessarily bad, it may be a perfect opportunity to thrive and you can learn to cope with that. People are used to dopamine-loops and that’s how our brain works. It’s hard to detract from loops you maybe got used to. Once you manage to get out, you will be truly thankful for youserlf.

Make your compounding way out

To repay your attention, I can share that since my last burnout, I’ve started working for my personal knowledge management using Obsidian.

I’m used to doing biohacking as I feel there domain expert with self-experiments on my wellbeing and pursue various enhancements accounting for memory, lower heart rate , optimal sleep habits, work from home: routines & habits , breathwork (yet to be written), making new connections and relationships on the way up, isolation during COVID19 for good wellbeing helped me become what I’m today. Being humble, my great way to gain deep present has started one burnout earlier where I’ve nailed down listenings from audiobooks.

Since then — my focus has broadened and apart from being into satellites — Starmesh, I’m more researching into synthetic biology, FMT, microbiome and longevity as I believe in a longer lifespan, usually range 300–800 years.

Being burned out was really a lesson and this time, it all played out for me, not against me 🥲

Thanks for reading

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