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The Burden of Burnout

By Anna Kaufman, DTM


It’s midnight. The Toastmasters club contest is tomorrow, more volunteers are needed and the membership dues are behind. The point where work, stress and pressure outweigh the enjoyment and cause a lack of energy is known as burnout. As a club officer or member, you’ve likely experienced this collapse—it affects you mentally, physically and emotionally.

I’ve been there and have helped others through it. Here are four tips to help you avoid the effects of stress and burnout.


1

Delegate.


Certain aspects of a leadership role have a bigger effect on the success of a club or an organization. As a club president, for instance, opening a meeting and scheduling executive committee meetings are critical to achieving a smooth flow. The president doesn’t always have to be the one to fulfill these tasks, however. Ask for help to make sure the critical pieces keep moving even if you’re not the one taking responsibility for them.


2

Take it in pieces.


Take one day at a time, one meeting at a time. It’s nice to look ahead and view the full picture, but taking small steps can sometimes be less daunting and will still get the work accomplished.


3

Be honest with yourself and your club members.


We all go through periods of burnout and experience exhaustion and lackluster energy. Acknowledging it shows strength of character, not weakness. People may respond positively when you admit your frame of mind and likely offer to help, allowing you to breathe a bit easier.


4

Take a break.


Whether it’s a meeting that you don’t attend, or a few days where you go without Toastmasters emails or phone calls, a hiatus can provide clarity and rejuvenation.

It’s not easy to move forward while in a state of burnout, but seeking support and practicing these tips can help you feel more grounded during this time.

For more tips on how to beat club officer burnout, read the Toastmaster magazine article Finish Strong from April 2016.