You are probably familiar with the terms burnout and overwhelm. They might often feel the same for Highly Sensitives…too much going on, can’t concentrate, overstimulated, out of control, feel on edge, unhappy at/with work, feel exhausted. But did you know you could have Boreout?
This is a fairly recently recognized condition. Yes, you can experience not just burnout, but its opposite.
So, what is Boreout, and how do HSPs experience it?
Boreout results from not having enough, or significant enough, responsibilities; doing mundane, tedious tasks; not having quality interactions; not being recognized for good work (feelings of futility); generally feeling a lack of purpose. It’s generally considered an effect created in the work environment, but I think such an experience could occur with those who are retired or at-home parents as well. If this is sustained it can have very negative effects similar to burnout.
HSPs thrive on having purpose, connection, meaning, creating value and yes, even recognition. If we’re not stimulated intellectually or socially or emotionally, or participate in meaningful activities, we can easily become bored. If this persists and we can’t remedy the situation, we can end up with Boreout.
So, if you find yourself feeling listless, unmotivated, tired, useless, empty, and having low energy, you may be experiencing a level of depression, or you could just be really under-challenged, lacking meaning in your life…boreout. And if you don’t find a solution, it could indeed lead to depression.
What to do if you’re Boreout?
To prevent or eliminate Boreout really requires a good work/life balance and the ability to create meaning. As HSPs we learn the importance of recharging…refilling our energy buckets so we can manage the onslaught of input we’re processing every day. If our environment is lacking purpose and interest, even excitement, we also need to add these to our world in some way.
1. Vary our tasks when possible. Change up our routines, swap responsibilities with co-workers if allowed, try a new way of doing something.
2. Ask for more or different responsibilities at work. The goal is not to do too much and end up burned out, just to make the tasks meaningful and stay busy enough to avoid boredom.
3. Engage with coworkers or take a break from home chores and chat with a friend or family member to break up the monotony.
4. Take frequent breaks. Pay attention to something interesting when not working or completing chores.
5. Make sure we have lots of purpose outside of work. Try new hobbies and activities that light us up.
6. Get enough sleep and fill our energy buckets. HSPs need quiet, down time to recharge, but we also need some positive stimulation.
7. Watch/listen to meaningful series/podcasts that get our minds moving. Avoid bingeing on social media.
8. Volunteer. This usually provides meaning and one thing HSPs really thrive on…helping.
9. Change jobs. If we have no passion for our work, it’s not going to stimulate us. Staying in a job or field that doesn’t fit becomes very draining and could certainly lead to Boreout.
If you’re experiencing some of the characteristics mentioned earlier in this article, it might be time to make some changes. It’s really easy for HSPs to be overwhelmed by their work environment, but we can also be underwhelmed, or boreout.
If you’re struggling with this and would like to talk with someone to create a plan, I’m available for a free consultation.