Recovery from Burnout

I think it may take a while to turn my life around and I’m content with these small steps. It took me ages to see that I’d hit burnout. I had so many healthy coping mechanisms in place to relax me and manage my mood that actually helped me to continue with my highly stressful lifestyle.

I practice mindfulness, take daily vitamins and supplements, use a light box in winter, twice daily nature walks, healthy eating and eliminated smoking and negative people.

A daily double gin x 2 in evenings was another strategy, an one Im looking at again just now and refraining from as an experiment. A couple of double gins and diet tonic seems to be pretty lightweight though. I didn’t really consider it unhealthy as most of those around me drink a heck of a lot more, and drinking huge amounts a night. I felt angelic in comparison and thought I was doing okay.

I rarely drink enough to make me feel a hangover the next day but when I do, I feel ashamed and guilty about what I’m doing to my life. I’ve been reading about the effect of even relatively small regular amounts, and I’m understanding that it does effect my mood. Quite a lot. It effects everyone’s mood negatively!

I’ve been taking 4 or 5 days off recently between drinking, I feel better nearly right away. A lot better. Lighter, clearer and I have more energy. And as I am recovering from a stress meltdown, I need all the help I can get, and not take a substance which lowers my mood and energy. I care about my self and my body, heart and mind these days.

It is odd to consider that these habits, especially the healthy ones helped me to continue way past the stress warning signs. Flashing red lights that yelled STOP! So yes, eventually the coping mechanisms, healthy and unhealthy, stopped working and I HAD to make some changes in my work life. I couldn’t not keep going or I’d end up I don’t know where, but in an even worse situation dealing with totally crashing and unable to cope, whatever that looks like, not washing, deep depression, full on addiction to something, sabotaging my business, giving up my counselling course, running out of money to pay the mortgage…

I made some radical changes which I am aware have a high financial risk but it had to be done. No more tinkering around the edges. For me the change was that I reduced my business. Cut it in half.

That was a about 4 weeks ago, and my insides breathed a sigh of relief. Now I’m treating myself like someone recovering from an illness. Just saying to to nearly everything I don’t absolutely have to do. I’m still paying the wages and the bills of course.

But now I’m turning my attention to what I’m taking into my body and feel strong enough to change some habits that I think will bring me back to my more buoyant natural state. And recover from this exhausted, fed up, lonely, bored character that I’ve started to turn into by doing too much of what I don’t enjoy for too long.

So I’m examining all areas to see what else I can remove that doesn’t serve me, and what I can add that I can manage in my still exhausted state. How can I repair the damage I’ve done by pushing myself too hard for too long?

  • I’d like more of the company of conscious people with healthy lifestyles. So tonight I’m attending a group that meets regularly called Authentic Connections. We sit around for 2 hours and share honestly. It’s not group therapy exactly but more just a place to be open and real. That’s tonight dealt with.
  • This morning I visited a shining bright light of a friend for a catch up
  • Continue this sobriety experiment
  • Take rests or naps whenever I want
  • Do as little business work as possible
  • Eat well with periods of fasting each day
  • Yesterday I got out of the city and took and elderly friend to a vegetarian restaurant for lunch, it was fabulous fun
  • Let the dog walker take the dog more often to reduce the pressure on me to entertain her and so I can give shorter walks when tired
  • Ignoring most calls and emails, and only answering those I want to
  • Do more of what inspires like my counselling work with clients

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