Recovering from Burnout
Are you burnt out? What the hell is burnout really? Burnout is a topic that is widely discussed and regularly mentioned in the media. It seems like everyone has experienced or will experience burnout at some point or another in their lifetime - it may even be perceived as a rite of passage for many. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines burnout as 'exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.' I see burnout as something that occurs when we are living a life that is misaligned with what we need mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Having been burnt out over the past year, and recovering from it over the past five months or so has me feeling called to share about my experience for anyone who may be going through it themselves. It can feel hopeless when you're in it, and sometimes you may not even realize you're going through it, so I hope what I write here can be of aid to anyone who is or thinks they may be burnt out.
A couple months back, I wrote a post about How Losing my Job was the Sign I Needed to Pursue my Passion. In that post, I talk about how I felt a near immediate sense of relief upon receiving the news that I was being let go from my last office job. While I felt relief by the time this event rolled around, the initial realization months prior, that the life I set out to create and worked so hard for was no longer fitting for me or what my soul wanted and needed was brutal. During that time, a lot of resistance came up for me and that stuck around for a long time. Long enough for me to really wear myself down to a point that even I didn't realize I was truly experiencing burnout. I'd always heard dramatic stories where burnout landed someone in serious illness, a meltdown, or even hospitalization, but that wasn't me [okay, maybe I was having a meltdown internally]. On the outside, I was functioning - I was alive, but in reality, I was just getting by - barely getting by. My personal life was affected the most, as I was retreating from most social engagements and offloading any obligations beyond the bare minimum requirements to get by in my life. Even though this was a difficult time, I know that this was necessary and served as a catalyst for my personal healing process and transformation. I am grateful for that phase, as it is what I needed to better understand myself and where my life needed to move next. If it were not for that time, I would not have dove so deep into the healing/wellness space and I likely would not have taken the jump to sign up for Breathwork Healer Training. It took quite awhile to recover from this bout of burnout and it's just been in the past couple months that have I seen my own natural energy, power, and sense of purpose reemerge. I finally feel more aligned with myself mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
So, how did I get to this place of more energy and alignment? It has required being incredibly gentle and patient with myself. Giving myself more downtime that I could ever have imagined surrendering to in the past. Completely reconfiguring and reimagining what productivity means to me. No more productivity for productivity's sake, but true tapping in and listening to what in necessary to move forward in a task or project. The willingness to create for creation's sake - such as writing just to write, painting just to paint, dancing just to dance, and singing just to sing - with no plan of necessarily sharing any of it. But then also, creating to share - sharing my experiences through social media, over coffee with new friends and people in the healing/wellness community, and here on the journal portion of my site. Even building this website has been a healing process for me and aided my recovery from burnout.
This may be a ramble of a post, but I know that so many people are struggling with feeling misaligned in their lives and feeling truly burnt out. Maybe it shows up as a feeling of wanting to run away or maybe you're utterly and completely exhausted, and barely have the time or the energy to nurture what truly matters to you [i.e., personal relationships, creativity, exercise]. Well, I'm here to tell you that there are a number of ways to handle it, even if you don't entirely know if you're even dealing with it. It is possible to sit with and live with burnout. It's possible to allow life to unfold in it's own time, as it feels right for you. You don't have to quit that job right this minute or sell everything you own to travel the world next week. If that feels right for you and you have the means to do so, then go ahead! But you can also trust in the timing of your life's unfolding and collect the tools to help you through it in the meantime.
I learned so much from my experience with burnout and Breathwork was a huge piece of helping me move through it. Breathwork brought me clarity and opened up doors where I never imagined they existed. So, if you're feeling stuck, confused, or unsure of what is next in life for you, but you do know that what you're doing isn't working anymore, I look forward to connecting with you over a private session or at an upcoming group or event.