I haven’t been around here so much lately. I thought I’d share why that is, and why I’m on a slightly different journey right now.
A few years ago I realised I had proper adrenal fatigue. Not the “I’m-feeling-a bito-tired-this-week-and-need-lots-of-sleep type fatigue”, but the type where your bones ache, exercise makes you more tired and you walk around in a fog a lot of the time (the homeopaths reading this will appreciate that as a sepia type person for most of my life, not feeling good after exercise was a very weird thing).
I’d been working with clients in clinic who had adrenal fatigue at a variety of stages and at the time I thought I understood how it felt. When I really had adrenal fatigue I realised I had no concept of how self-limiting and shitty you can feel when you’re that fatigued.
Time for a change
I’ve got a lot of gratitude though: as a therapist I recognised the pattern. For those outside of the a world of natural medicine they often don’t recognise the signs until they are much further down the path.
I carried on doing what I was doing with more awareness for the need to rest. I took the right supplements, saw my homeopath and kinesiologist. That helped but it wasn’t enough. My body was asking for a complete change. As one of my course tutors used to say: sometimes it takes a break down to have a break through.
It took me about a year of carrying on to realise this. By this stage I felt like I was walking around like a zombie a lot of the time and would save most of my energy for seeing clients – after all you need a good amount of energy to analyse a case well and provide a good service. I’d expend all of my energy doing this work, then come home and numb out with TV box sets and sleep for much of the weekend.
A passionless pursuit
The marketing of my practice became robotic. I’d set a self-imposed schedule for myself – and I was bloody well going to stick to it – I said to myself at the time. It was a passionless pursuit. The saving grace was that I LOVED my actual work with my gorgeous clients and I found that work I was doing fascinating and rewarding. But it was completely draining me too.
Feeling conflicted about this, it dawned on me at some point that it was inauthentic to continue like this. How could I invite my clients to consider what needs changing in their life to improve their health if I wouldn’t significantly change mine when my body was calling out for it? As a therapist I knew the answer deep down was to clear space, prioritise self-care and heal.
Making the change
Over the course of this time I’ve progressively changed my working life. I have seen fewer clients in clinic, done minimal marketing so I can maintain a connection with my community and I have done more tech work which I find is less of a drain on me. There is no emotional engagement and I can work any time I have the energy without having to market my socks off to fill up my schedule (after all, the projects tend to be bigger and go for longer).
I’m even doing less self-employed work and went back to an IT project last summer part time. I was freaked by the thought of having to keep certain hours and have a manager again but the reality has been liberating – I don’t need to worry about enough work coming in to cover my basic needs and if I get ill, I have sick leave. For now, this is the tonic I need while I heal.
Thinking ahead to the future there I know I need to do things differently. I’ve studied 3 different complementary health disciplines and have an abundance of knowledge that I’m passionate to share, but I’m aware that just having a busy 1:1 practice is not the right forum. After all, this can happen to any of us – what do we do if we get sick or have a life event happen and we need to take a break? Having complete income reliance on a 1:1 practice just didn’t make sense – it was time to diversify.
I know I’m not the only one. I’ve been chatting with massage therapists, homeopaths, acupuncturists, chiropractors, energy healers and kinesiologists and have heard similar sentiments: that low energy, low immunity, headaches or full on burn-out are common and represent big sources of stress in practice. I believe it doesn’t have to be that way.
So, I’m now on a slightly different journey. I’ll still be seeing a small number of clients in clinic but I’m exploring other ways of creating streams of income. The possibilities on the internet are endless. By sharing our knowledge more widely we offer the opportunity of connecting and inspiring a greater number of people than we can do in a 1:1 environment, along with freeing up our precious time. So that’s the journey I’m on – to learn how I can use the knowledge I have in other ways to benefit and inspire others, while taking care of my energy levels.
If you would like to join me on this journey I welcome you. My intention is to share what I learn along the way so you can do the same thing – if it feels right for you.
Over to you
Have you experienced burn-out before? Did you find a great strategy or coping mechanism? I’d love to hear from you, reply in the comments below.