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  • Casey Aladic

Burnout and Spenditude

September already? Despite the chaos and turmoil we have all experienced this year, we are closing in on the end of 2020. Some people have had a harder time than others, but what is clear is that many people have a feeling of uncertainty, exhaustion and stress. In 2020, it seems that there is a greater risk of many things – and one of them is burnout.

Spenditude is really about connecting your head and heart to your money.

It’s clear that stress, exhaustion and burnout can impact on your financial decision making. With the risk of burnout increased, we want to share some tools and resources to help make sure you are ok.

What is burnout anyway?

Basically, it is chronic stress that is not successfully managed (as defined by The World Health Organization). There are three main areas or symptoms to consider: exhaustion, alienation from activities and reduced performance when completing everyday tasks.

It’s important to be aware that some of these symptoms can be related to other conditions too (such as depression). We certainly don’t want you to self-diagnose! As we head towards the end of 2020 we are, in many ways, no clearer on the future than we were in January. But with so much change, it’s important to check in on yourself, your loved ones and also on your Spenditude. Here’s three things to think about.

1. Feeling tired?

The word exhaustion has been used a fair bit in 2020. Many people are drained, emotionally exhausted and lacking energy. This can result in physical symptoms too – like pain or gut problems – but it can also impact your sleep. Weird right? Exhaustion can cause sleep problems. Remember, sleep impacts decision making including financial choices (chapter 2 of Spenditude if you want to revisit).

In 2018 a study on burnout also found those impacted are more likely to leave their jobs, make errors at work, and to be at higher risk of accidents and near-miss events (1) . It’s important to prioritise sleep and rest to help improve your attitudes, behaviours and habits. Prioritise your sleep and rest to ensure your financial wellbeing.


2. Disconnected?

2020 has put a stop to many things, but it is more important than ever to keep connected to those things you care about. All the emotions attached to Covid-19 and the related impacts can sometimes cause people to retreat. No matter your circumstances – whether you are not working, working from home, out there on the front line or a parent or carer it’s not unusual at the moment to have a sense of numbness about work and about people. If you are experiencing burnout you might feel that life and work has become more stressful and frustrating. It can cause people to step back rather than forward to the support that is available.


Sometimes in moments like this we can look for support in the wrong places. Perhaps online shopping seems like something that will lift your mood (but you also know that the satisfaction of the purchase might not last long). Shopping is not the answer.


If you are feeling disconnected then please try to open those lines of communication – to your family, friends, boss or co-worker. Reach out to the support services that are in place to help.


3. Reduced performance?

No, not in the bedroom.


Most of us can relate to the feeling of not doing as well at work as we know we’re capable of – it could be happening now, or you may have experienced it in the past. Burnout can mean we are negative about tasks, have difficulty concentrating and lack some our normal levels of creativity. Depending on the job you’re in, the impact of this could mean that your pay is going to be impacted. It could also have wider ranging problems, depending on your job.

Burnout can impact the normal daily tasks at work, home and caring for family members. It’s important to recognise this and seek support – for your mental and physical health, but also to ensure that the financial risks that sit alongside performance are managed.

There are many things in life we don’t have control over. But remember, the future has always been uncertain. We have never known what's coming next.

Perhaps things feel less certain and more complicated right now. But remember, forward is forward no matter how small the step. As Einstein said ”life is like riding a bicycle – to keep your balance you must keep moving”.

If you need support, please reach out to a friend, a family member or perhaps to a service provider such as Beyond Blue (https://www.beyondblue.org.au/).

If you haven’t had a chance to read our latest e-book COVIDtude: never waste a good crisis, please jump online and download it now. It’s our gift to you and we hope it can help you survive through 2020 and beyond - by connecting your head, heart and wallet. It’s available for download at spenditude.com.


Special thanks to our guest blogger Casey Aladic, Organisational Psychologist.

Casey has provided us with a new perspective on links between burnout and Spenditude.



(1) West, Dyrbye, & Shanafelt, 2018

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