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Ayu Adiati
Ayu Adiati

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

Lesson Learned: Massive Burnout In Learning Web Development

Hello Fellow Codenewbies πŸ‘‹,

You read an article or a Tweet on how someone becomes successful. That person's journey then becomes a motivation for you.

If they can do it, I can do it too!

Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's a good thing. Motivation is one of the factors that keep us going.

But one thing that we often forget, most of those successful stories also come with struggles.
And we tend to focus on the after stories, not the struggles.

Some people avoid sharing their struggles and have their reason for doing that.
But we all know that there is no rainbow without rain. There is no going up without being at the bottom at one point.

This post would be different than my other posts. I honestly hesitated to write, let alone publish, this article. But I decided to share my recent experience as a self-note and reminder for myself. And as a lesson for you to acknowledge when to take some breaks.

Massive burnout

I've been through a massive burnout not long ago.
I'm saying massive because it almost made me want to quit my learning journey.
Does it surprise you? Well, it did surprise me for sure.
All those years I put into learning could've been gone only in one day.

I've experienced burnout before. But I usually start fresh with some days of break (or procrastination).
This time it was different. Taking a break didn't make me feel better.
It started with me having a hard time understanding some concepts. Then I forgot many things I'd learned and done quite a lot before.
I had imposter syndrome, a panic attack, and got so frustrated that it led me to think of quitting.

What caused the massive burnout?

It was a smooth start for me at the beginning of framework learning. So I forgot that this journey is a marathon, not a sprint. I was rushing things. I wanted to add more and more to learn until I got stuck at one point.

I noticed that I started to get frustrated. But instead of taking a proper break, I pushed through because I didn't want to lose the momentum. I asked questions, and I even got some mentoring from some friends. I got some light after the mentoring sessions, but I got confused again. And I was too embarrassed to ask for more help, mainly because I wanted to ask for help on the same topic.

At the same time, many people I know got new jobs.
I'm super happy for them, but I also felt I was still far behind. And that was also one of the reasons I wanted to rush things.

Bottom line:

  • Rushing myself to learn things.
  • Ignoring the signs of burnout.
  • Not taking a proper break.
  • Not sharing my struggles.
  • Comparing myself to other people.

Those are the things that lead me to massive burnout.

How to survive a massive burnout?

It would be different for each person, but here is what I did:

1. Read the signs and take a step back

I did notice the sign of frustration, but I kept pushing through because I didn't want to lose the momentum.
Instead of being in the momentum, it pushed me away even further.

Take a step back when you read the sign of frustration or burnout. You won't lose your momentum. You're recharging yourself to go further with more energy. Whatever you do, it won't go anywhere, waiting for you to return.

Though it was a bit late, I took a step back and took a break.

2. Take a break

What I emphasize here is not to feel guilty when you decide to take a break. Let your mind off from your learning, work, and be present. Have fun!

My mistake was that when I took a break, I felt guilty for having a day or more off from learning. I did things that suppose to make me feel better, but my mind kept telling me, "Why can't I understand it? Why am I doing this while I should learn and try harder?"

I got much better after taking one week off from learning without feeling guilty.

Taking a real break from whatever you do is essential for your mental health.

3. Share the struggle

I finally shared my struggle with some friends. Surprisingly, I wasn't the only one frustrated in not understanding what I was learning.
After doing that, I felt the enormous burden lifted from my shoulders, and I got my motivation back.

Struggling is not a sign of weakness or being defeated. It's one of the learning processes that many people are experiencing at one point in their journey.

Don't feel embarrassed. Do share your struggles.
People around you could only give support if you tell them what's happening. And a bonus to that, you could get back your motivation.

4. Change the mindset

After I shared my struggles, one of my friends told me this.

Change your mindset from learning or doing to experimenting.

You could get frustrated and stressed when you learn something and don't get it. Or, you could encounter imposter syndrome when you do a project and get stuck.
But with the mindset of experimenting, all you need to do is try until you understand. Until whatever you do works.

No scientist knows how to produce a vaccine for a new virus in the beginning.
They do research, many experiments, and tests until they find one.

The experimenting mindset develops a sense of curiosity rather than failing.

I like this mindset. I started to apply this recently, and it makes me feel everything is all right, even on my bad day!

5. Compare to no one and celebrate more

Gentle reminder: Everyone's journey is different and unique.
I can't compare myself to someone who can put more time into learning than I.
I better not compare myself to someone who can understand things faster than me.
I can only compare where I am now and where I was before.

Seeing where I was 2.5 years ago and now where I understand much more things than a single line of HTML is enormous progress. And I completely forget that!

And now, instead of beating myself up for being slow, I'm learning from my friends who got the jobs. I asked how they got there and what we needed to get there. Experiences are the best teacher, not only ours but also other people's. And I'm fortunate to have friends who share their experiences so I can learn from them.

You (and I) should celebrate more. Celebrate our accomplishments! It doesn't matter how small it is!
Last time, I bought myself a cute pen because I could render a component without looking back at the tutorial. Sounds silly? Well, it was a small win after all!

Final Words

I could encounter another burnout in the future. If that time comes, I will reflect on this post and remind myself that I was there before and survived.

I hope this could help you as well if you're in the same situation as I did 😊

Thank you for reading!
Last, you can find me on Twitter. Let's connect! 😊

Top comments (19)

mccurcio profile image
Matt C • Edited

I remind myself that Education is not a race to finish first.
It is only a race against myself to learn what I can do well.

For me, the paradox of Education is that you learn the extent of your knowledge.
Q. What am I good at doing?
Q. What areas do I need help in?

Education is not learning everything, that's impossible. Carpenters don't learn to build every imaginable home. They learn how to use their tools well. Carpenters do not build skyscrapers. They know what the limits of building with wood are.

anitabe404 profile image
Anita Beauchamp

Yes, knowing our limits is what ultimately allows us to be useful without grinding ourselves down. If we had to know everything, we could never rest and we'd always have to learn at a lightning-fast speed as technology changes quickly. If we know our tools and the limits of those tools, we can accept the work that we're capable of and let the rest pass us.

Excellent point Matt!

adiatiayu profile image
Ayu Adiati

Agree with you, Matt!
Especially in it's impossible to learn everything!

ellativity profile image
Ella (she/her/elle)

Thanks so much for sharing this, @adiatiayu - so much honesty and truth.

I really love the note to your future self:

I could encounter another burnout in the future. If that time comes, I will look back at this post, and remind me that I was there before and I survived.

mccurcio profile image
Matt C

Ayu & Ella,

so much honesty and truth - Ayu

HEAR, Hear.
If I didn't say it before, I'll say it now.
Thank you for sharing and starting this thread/discussion.

adiatiayu profile image
Ayu Adiati

Thank you for reading and giving such great tips, Matt!

adiatiayu profile image
Ayu Adiati

Thank you so much for reading, @ellativity 😊

Yes, I really need to remind my future self πŸ˜„

anitabe404 profile image
Anita Beauchamp

This is an important article. It gave me the nudge that I needed to slow down as I've been feeling a bit stressed and discouraged myself. You give really great tips on combatting it, and I will be putting these into practice.

Your post has inspired me to share some of my struggles in a post of my own. Thank you!

adiatiayu profile image
Ayu Adiati

Thank you for reading, and I'm glad if it helped you in some way, Anita! πŸ˜€

I hope you would get much better after slowing down, and looking forward to read your post! πŸ˜„

kawazack profile image
kawazack • Edited

"Why can't I understand it? Why am I doing this while I should learn and try harder?"

Thanks for this honest pain sharing. I felt that sometimes! :P

"The only thing I can compare is where I am now and where I was before" This is the waaaaay, yaaaay!

adiatiayu profile image
Ayu Adiati

Thank you for reading and welcome to CodeNewbie! πŸ˜ƒ

There are many ways to do networking and be in a community.
CodeNewbie is defenitely one of them!
If you find anyone who has same interest as you (language, skill, etc.), you can follow them and send them private message.
I'm not quite sure if only you who need to follow them, or they have to follow you back for you to be able to send message. But you can always drop comment and ask if they're into some discussions.

If you're on Twitter, you can follow tech ppl and see how it goes from there. That's how I found my communities 😊

I've wrote a blogpost about how I found my communities here. Hopefully it helps πŸ˜„

blitzdex27 profile image

This is a good read. Thank you for sharing. I also experienced this before, and my personal solution is to exercise. I had this itchy feeling that it will wake up the brains in my muscles to process the learning contents faster. Just a metaphor. Good luck to us newbies!

adiatiayu profile image
Ayu Adiati

Thank you for reading, @blitzdex27 ! πŸ˜€
Excercise is one great solutions as well!
Glad that you've overcome it 😊

adiatiayu profile image
Ayu Adiati

Thank you for reading πŸ˜„
I really do hope that you're doing much better now, @jasonbraganza !

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Great read

adiatiayu profile image
Ayu Adiati

Thank you and also for reading, @ben 😊

nicm42 profile image

I keep thinking I've learnt this lesson and then end up needing to learn it again. So this was a good reminder.

adiatiayu profile image
Ayu Adiati

Thanks, Nic!
It happens to me too! That's why I wrote this post one of the reasons is as self-reminder πŸ˜„

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