Dear Therapist,

My work as an accountant has been out-of-control busy for most of the last year with no end in sight. To make matters worse, the work is mind-numbingly dull leaving me a spent zombie at the end of the day. Most evenings I collapse in front of Netflix and fall asleep, only to get up the next morning and do it all again. I’m worried this is what my life has become – help!

Dear Spent,

You say your mind is numb, your body dead. No wonder you are concerned! The remedy for exhaustion here isn’t rest but instead energising engagement. Rather than ‘numbing out’ more with Netflix, I suggest you prioritise activities that will spark a little excitement, frivolity, creativity, fun. Our lives can feel quite empty and hopeless when our natural vitality has been smothered. Flirt with a favourite hobby from childhood: pull out your long-neglected charcoals and sketch a special memory, queue up Tchaikovsky and pirouette around the house, strum on that guitar, sing, paint, sew…with no intention other than to tap into a dormant joie de vivre that is still there, but too buried under spreadsheets to be noticeable at the moment.  

Your timing is perfect – lockdown restrictions are easing which allows you more flexibility to indulge in creative dates with your inner playmate. A year into the pandemic, it is also high time to establish a sustainable work routine which means carving out reinvigorating breaks throughout the day. Take ten minutes to pen a postcard to a loved one, read a few lines of inspiring poetry or hula-hoop in the garden.  

Equally important, notice the shift in energy from even these small actions. The advice may sound elementary but then so is the affliction: all work and no play does indeed make for a very dull existence.  


Do you have a question for Dear Therapist? Send it to [email protected] with Dear Therapist in the subject line and Charlotte Fox Weber or Kelly Hearn will get back to you.

Further reading

Can you get burnout working from home?

What is burnout?

Are extroverts more likely to get bored?

How has life changed under lockdown?

7 self-care tips for increasing energy at work