MY EXPERIENCE OF A BURNOUT
Have you ever experienced burnout in your life? I like to be busy and hate wasting time which means that I get overwhelmed quite often. This was the first time in my life I’ve had a burnout though.
In this post, I will walk you through the experience; what caused it, what it felt like and the process of getting back to normal. I hope that it will help you to prevent getting to this point in the future or getting out of it faster when it happens.
WHAT IS GOING ON IN MY LIFE RIGHT NOW?
My boyfriend Charlie and I are leaving Scotland in a month to go to Australia for a year. That is probably the main cause of feeling the pressure of things having to be done, sorted and started before we leave.
In terms of my work, after creating a Mastermind that no-one signed up for, I was excited to take what I learned from it and repurpose the content. I started to write a book at the beginning of summer which had to be put aside while I focused on launching the Mastermind. Same with an idea for a product and a FB community I wanted to create for local small businesses, it was all put aside.
Starting new projects is always the hardest part for me. The fear of not knowing how to do it or how it’s going to go makes me procrastinate. In this case, I thought I would need to give myself some time off to get my energy back after stretching myself to the limits with the Mastermind launch. I spent a lot of time feeding my mind with new things, podcasts, and reading to soak in the inspiration and how-tos. I’m certain that flooding myself with too many new ideas and things I need to do for my business and life took the space needed for creativity to start working on new projects. And I’m still in the process of creating a WordPress website for a client and have a part-time job for a few hours a week.
Being an entrepreneur is an exciting journey. You get to create the life you want. You get to choose. On the other hand, it is not an easy journey. It takes some time to get to the point when you are financially secure, you get to say yes to only the things you want to do and no to everything else.
I wrote a blog post about my first year of self-employment if you’re interested to know what it was like for me here.
And then there is life. Going away soon, we overstretched with fitting guests in our schedule. It meant extra work with planning for everyone to have a good time and the logistics of it. Suddenly we found ourselves stressed and grumpy because there was no time left for our relationship, ourselves, and day to day things, let alone planning for Australia and everything that comes with it. Not to mention my crazy thinking processes of making sure I’m there for everyone in the best way I can.
WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED?
I get overwhelmed quite often because I like to be busy. Last week I tried to write all the things I need to do on paper to be able to see it and prioritise. I kept pushing, trying to catch up with everything and everyone. Thank you (not) social media for keeping me in the loop. Eventually, it got to the point where I was trying to work on a project and I froze. I was so distracted that I kept jumping from one thing to another even within the same project. It got completely out of my control. I was not able to do or finish anything. Not even follow my routine.
My brain reached the capacity to take any information in. Didn’t realise there was such a thing. All I was able to do was to sit and stare at the wall. No podcasts, no books, no music, no interaction with people, no social media, no emails,… I went completely blank. Even choosing what to have for breakfast seemed too much. I had no energy for the things I ‘needed’ to do, the things I love to do, or the things I want to do.
I was sick of constantly trying to catch up, working so hard to be everywhere and help everyone. I was sick of trying to follow guides on how to do just about anything in my life.
I realised that I create huge expectations for myself and because I cannot physically and mentally handle it, I put the expectations on the people around me and get disappointed.
I turned to meditation. Before, I didn’t think I could do it. Sitting still and not thinking about anything? Nope, it seemed like a waste of time. But now, I was ready. I tried a few guided ones. But, then I just followed Kyle Cease meditation style where you just sit with your thoughts in quiet. Let your thoughts come in and come out straight away. You don’t push anything out, the aim is to be ok with how you feel.
Through this process, I want to learn to focus and only give importance to the things that matter. Most of the things and thoughts that come to mind are crap and it takes all of the capacity to distract me from the important things.
A WEEK LATER…
I feel a lot better; I am getting my energy back. I still limit time on social media as much as I can and do what I feel like doing at that moment. I don’t force anything. Clearing my headspace more by meditating and not feeding it with new information helps me to gain my brain capacity back. Giving me the space to be creative and make better decisions.
Every time I start feeling the need to rush to catch up with something, reply to someone’s message or feel stressed, I back off and go to meditate. I need to figure out how I can make working and living sustainable so I never get to this point again. I am also trying to teach myself to filter all the crap out as I go.
HOW DO I FEEL ABOUT THIS EXPERIENCE?
I went through stages when I was annoyed about being so distracted. I was angry with myself for not following my routine and working fast enough to get everything done. At times, I felt emotional about getting myself to this point. And then I got to the point when all the emotions disappeared and all I could do was stare at the wall.
Despite all this, I have not stopped believing that this is happening for a reason. This is a part of the journey. It forces me to reevaluate what the important things I want to focus on are and how I can work smarter, not harder. This is the theme for the rest of the year for me!
I hope that sharing this experience will help you to prevent getting into a similar situation. A burnout can look differently for everyone. If you see yourself in my story, I encourage you to ask yourself all the time: “Am I prioritising or adding to my already busy schedule? Does this really matter or will this matter in a few months?”
We have the last quarter of the year ahead of us. Let’s finish the year feeling happy, fulfilled and accomplished!
If you have any more questions about my experience, don’t hesitate to drop me a message on Instagram @makeityouradventure.