The table wobble broke me.

A letter from Jane

Jane Clark of BrandSwan

Is Jane burned out or stressed? It’s hard to say.

Hi everyone! It’s Jane.

Here’s a little window into my small world of mental health.

I try to be better every day. Better for the people around me so I can create more meaningful relationships. Good mental health isn’t a destination. One day you can have your sh!t together — you’re open-minded, accept feedback easily, uplift the team and keep morale high, and then… you burn out. Although it has symptoms, it can seem to happen in an instant. A situation you would have handled well now cripples you, and you’re too debilitated to recover in a professional manner. It’s the worst. Does that moment of emotion, absolutely noticed by your family, friends, and coworkers reduce their trust in you? Did you say or do anything that you’re not proud of?

Or worse, did you make someone feel bad? This gets me every time.

I usually snap out of it when I realize how much my attitude can affect those around me. I immediately feel myself drop the shield I put up and have an immense sense of guilt that I need to be strong. Nicer. Better. Whatever. For them. When working with my yogi Emily Dougherty, I always think about my mantra. “I’m a positive force for the light of all people.” If I’m not doing that, what am I here for?

On Valentine’s Day, I went out with the husband. We had a reservation, which let’s be real, doesn’t mean a whole lot on that day. We were put at a super tiny table by the door that had a huge wobble. They asked us what we’d like, but when I realized that we really couldn’t order what we wanted because it simply would not fit on the table, plus the energy of all the people around me, I had a panic attack. (A great article if you want to know the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack.) I just froze, couldn’t speak, unable to make decisions. Of course my husband noticed and was upset that I was upset. He asked if I wanted to leave. I told him I’d be okay, and I was riding the wave. I told myself I would recover and I did. No way were we leaving! We’re celebrating V-Day at a restaurant if it’s the last thing we do. We were eventually moved to another table and we had a great time.

It’s not unusual that my mood affects those around me. It’s a gift and a curse. I have a big personality and it’s a lot of pressure on days like these to not hurt my loved ones with grumpiness.

Bob Ross once said, “it’s like in life. Gotta have a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come.” Without experiencing a bit of sadness, I suppose joy wouldn’t be a thing.

Grumpy. Am I just grumpy?

I’m diagnosed general anxiety disorder, and when I was first treated years ago, they never actually told me that, and I get it. Words have power. Giving it a name could give it more control over my life. Sometimes I wonder…

With mental health being so in the forefront, every symptom, every time we feel sad, every time we feel immense joy, or procrastination, or overstimulation, we assume there is something wrong with us. We use words like manic, burnout, bipolar, borderline personality, ADHD, anxiety disorder, depression, etc, etc. Anyone can have a bad week. If you’re finding you have more bad days than good days, it might be a good idea to seek help.

When you’re burned out, you can get short with those around you. This is my cure for diffusing those moments.

What I do in the moment: Stop, Drop & Roll


You know you’re feeling a kind of way and you know it’s not your usual self. Stop talking. It’s okay to say, “I’m not in the right headspace for this conversation.”


Drop what you can. Take a nap. Go Meditate. Step away. Just take yourself out of the situation and put your brain on cruise control.


Roll out of bed the next day with a better mindset and feel yourself restored. (Sometimes you have to rinse and repeat and I always recommend a bit of humor.)

Burnout Symptoms

Are you stressed and leading to burnout? I love this article from HelpGuide.org.

This article covers:

  • Stress vs. burnout
  • Physical signs and symptoms
  • Emotional signs and symptoms
  • Behavioral signs and symptoms

Pre-Burnout Symptoms

  • Every day is a bad day.
  • Caring about your work or home life seems like a total waste of energy.
  • You’re exhausted all the time.
  • The majority of your day is spent on tasks you find either mind-numbingly dull or overwhelming.
  • You feel like nothing you do makes a difference or is appreciated.

(Please, if you are having bad thoughts, or you feel there is no way out, please reach out to someone — a therapist, a doctor, or another medical professional.)

You can continue this conversation during our Telecoffee Mastermind on zoom on May 18th, 2021. Registering is free.

Jane Clark, Co-Founder & Brand Strategist of BrandSwan

Jane Clark, Co-Founder & Creative Director of BrandSwan

Chat more with me over at our Reveal Your Inner Awesome Facebook Group if you’re feeling social. We talk about all sorts of real topics.

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