How crazy! Well I do, luckily.
You probably don’t feel like you’ve won a lottery ticket when you’re home sick with a burnout. Yet, eventually, when you have recovered and settled down, often comes the realization that your life looks different than you would like and you want to change that.
The will to change makes you open to growth and development, to new things and discovery. You are at the beginning of a journey. A beautiful journey to yourself, to your essence. And that’s exactly why you’re lucky.
Although burnout is still often not recognized (by employers), it is one of the most common (mental) occupational diseases. A high workload, demanding colleagues and managers, too much responsibility, (money) worries and long hours can be the cause. Are you a perfectionist yourself, do you want to meet the expectations of others or are you highly sensitive, then you have a few extra challenges.
The result is a feeling that you are falling short everywhere, sleeping badly, eating less healthily, no longer wanting to exercise or intimacy, putting your social life on the back burner and that all helps you further down the drain. So a vicious circle.
Do you ignore the first signs of stress such as irritability, fatigue and listlessness? And will the Monday blues become a Sunday blues or do you even dread going back to work on Monday? Do you wake up and have to drag yourself out of bed or do you start to cry at the thought that you have to go to work? Then it’s wrong.
Eventually, you report sick and begin the recovery process. Depending on your resilience, willingness to change, personality, possibly other underlying causes and the cooperation of the employer, this goes faster for some people than for others.
Relaxation as medicine
Take a rest and do nothing! Of course you don’t want to or can’t do that at all at first, until you start to realize that you have to. Making sure that you start to feel relaxed again in your head and your body is now a priority. You don’t set an alarm, you finally have time to read the pile of books that have been staring at you for months. Time to discover new hobbies, paint the attic or take care of the garden. You suddenly make time and space for yourself again. That’s nice!
You become more and more relaxed and there is room again to think about your next step, about what you actually want in life, what your passion is and what makes you happy. And then you most likely come to the conclusion that you don’t really know that well. How are you going to give your life a new direction? What steps will you take? Which qualities do you want to use? And how do you make sure it doesn’t happen to you a second time, I mean that burnout.
Your body has taken a big hit, so you want to do something with that too. Maybe more cycling or walking, taking yoga classes or maybe swimming or boxing suits you better. Whatever it is you want to do, it’s about getting moving again, literally and figuratively. And that’s good. Because now you have the opportunity to grow, to learn.
Burnout as the start of a new beginning
A burnout is a signal from your system, it penetrates everything, your body, your soul, your thoughts. Because you are forced to take a rest, there is time for reflection and settlement. You often hear that people who have had a burnout or are recovering from it discover that they have many other qualities that they do not use at all.
That they don’t really want to live up to the picture that society paints. That they don’t work and live from their hearts. And they don’t know exactly what they actually want. Well that’s quite difficult. Because how do you know what you love to do if you haven’t done it before?
Take this moment to follow a training, course or workshop. Just something you like. What you are interested in or what you admire in others. Go on a journey of discovery. It is also a good time to discover whether you still want to work as an employee, or whether you want to realize that dream of starting your own business. Maybe you want to do a volunteer job or become a trainer at a youth team.
A burnout is the beginning of a reset of your body, mind and soul, the start of a new beginning. Use these to really listen to your inner voice. And see it as an opportunity, as a new direction. Which direction do you choose?