Beating burnout

By Younas Chaudhary

Have you felt physically or mentally burned out at your job? Yes, burnout is real, and I have seen it happen both in life and business. You start drilling an oil well and all you get is a dry hole, you try again, and it yields the same negative results. Obviously, you get disappointed, and you feel you have accomplished nothing while losing lots of money.

Younas Chaudhary

In a cyclical oil market, I have experienced burnout many times, though I have learned to handle it well. In the mid 1980’s, oil prices fell to $8 a barrel and my investors took me to court blaming me for low profits. A few months earlier, oil prices were high, and they were praising me because they were making profits.

I still remember the feeling of helplessness, lethargy, and disappointment when the investors took me to court. I thought of other options including whether I should leave the oil business and return to Edmonton where I had a steady job and a peaceful life!

But I stood tall, made a deal to buy out the investors, paid off all past due loan payments, and later fully paid off the loan. Interestingly, only a few months later oil prices increased, and I was making good profits.

Each time I got my wrists slapped because of a bad decision or a business not running well, I looked back at my life and thought: “What the heck do I have to lose? I came to the West with $30 in my pocket, so anything more is a blessing!” This led me more into thinking positively whenever I got burned-out.

Our lives have their low and high points so how we deal with them makes a difference. In a volatile business like the oil industry, getting burned out is common because oil prices are determined by global geopolitical forces. Last year, when oil prices tanked, my team ended up acquiring several new properties. I had predicted that prices would go up and as soon as they did, we looked like heroes. What if the prices had dropped or stagnated? Yes, like others, I too would have been burned out and would have felt irritable.

We get burned out in life when situations are beyond our control. In June 2014, when my wife was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, my life turned upside down. I had never thought that this would happen to our family. I was so depressed and down that I could not concentrate on my business or other aspects of my life. This went on for a few years.

To keep myself busy, I started writing my book “From Dirt Roads to Black Gold,” which certainly gave me an emotional release and prevented further burnout. It was hard and people around me told me to get therapy and take things day by day. With the passage of time, I am in a much better position to take care of myself as well as my wife’s day to day needs.

According to the Mayo Clinic, burnout is not a medical diagnosis. “Some experts think that other conditions, such as depression, are behind burnout. Researchers point out that individual factors, such as personality traits and family life, influence who experiences job burnout.”

In home life and in work, when I get burned out, I try to stay with positive thinking. I think positively when I am down because I feel something good is waiting for me around the corner. Strangely, it has worked every time. My hope and positive thinking, despite being in a tough situation, has always helped me make a quick turnaround.

If you find your coworker a bit moody, be kind to her/him and ask about what is happening. It could be anything from a sick child to a financial situation at home. Try to talk with comfort, let them know it is okay to feel burned out, and add some positive thinking to that person’s life.

One of the best ways to tackle burnout is to start exercising. This combination of positive mental thoughts and physical fitness will help you tackle any unpleasant thoughts, perk you up, and help you reclaim your life.

Regular walking, yoga, mindfulness, good eating habits, and better sleep are all good ways to help you overcome burnout and put you on a path filled with confidence and positive energy.

And, if things still do not work well, seek help from a trained mental health specialist because living with burnout can impact both your physical and mental health. While I agree we cannot solve life’s problems with a flicker of our eyes, there are ways you can escape burnout and lead a happy, healthy, and positive life.



The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.

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