I recently asked a few people who have experienced burnout what was their biggest tip they would give to anyone suffering from it. Their responses had a surprising number of themes running through them! Here are their thoughts:
Burnout is an exhaustion of the soul long before it becomes fatigue in the body. Take a deep look at what needs to change in your life for you to be truly living a creative, nurtured, brilliant life. You don’t have to change it all at once (hello overwhelm!), but every choice towards your joy will begin to alleviate your physical symptoms.
Recovering from burnout and then ensuring you never experience it again, requires a complete lifestyle change. You have to be completely honest about the things that cause you stress, anxiety and that horrid ‘fight or flight’ reaction – this includes but is not limited to; people, situations, the way you work, the work you do, the hours you work, unhealed wounds, your diet, your self-care, sleep etc and then deal with each of these. Ask yourself what you need and then ensure you make this non-negotiable. Other people may not understand and think you’re being weird or selfish, but your health is too important to worry what others think.
Take time out. Stop burning the candle both ends. As far as possible let go of anything causing you stress or unhappiness.
That getting angry about your situation and stressed about your inability to ‘perform’ do what you had always done before just makes recovery take longer.
Start by switching off all the incoming traffic, whether that’s in the form of your electronics or face to face engagements with people. I’ve you’ve carved out that quiet corner, pull out a journal (or any random piece of paper) and just start pouring out your thoughts. Note down all those lists of “must dos”, braindump your ideas, describe the feelings that are plaguing you… just get it all OUT. Once it’s there, in black and white, you can plot your plan of attack.
Be kind to yourself!
I have had two series rounds of chronic fatigue. 10 years ago it took me 18 months to clear it. In 2017, 6 weeks. The biggest difference was I look beyond what was going on. I knew there was something that was occurring in my subconscious programming that was contributing to my illness. Once I dealt with that, the treatment worked like magic.
What I found fascinating was the common theme coming through all of the responses: slow down, stop doing what doesn’t nourish you, become selfish if you have to and prioritise
What do you think?