If you are burned out, you can experience physical complaints and feel emotionally touchy and mentally overstimulated. You are out of balance on just about every level. How do you find your balance again, especially if you are highly sensitive?
To start by taking all these levels seriously and giving yourself what you need at each level. Take the time to recover physically and give your emotions space. And watch your thoughts, because they can rush you back into action too soon.
Getting into balance: give feelings space
If you process what you have not yet digested, it gives relief to your mind. Let your sadness be there, as well as any anger at how things turned out. Also feel your fear for the future. It is also important to notice when you tend to want to get back to work quickly.
You may feel a pressure to know what you want, to perform at work or to hold your own financially and not depend on your partner. Wanting to do all of these things right can put a lot of pressure on you. This can be unconscious, and still give you a lot of tension and anxiety that you do not understand.
Stop excessive wanting and needing
Therefore, you become aware of your thoughts and deeper motives of wanting to live up to expectations. That of others or your own. High expectations can lead to big disappointments and that is not conducive to your recovery. On the contrary, this is how you maintain the imbalance.
That’s why it’s important to learn to drop out of thinking and feel first. Only then can you start doing something. As long as you act out of thinking that you have to act, your actions show imbalance and there is the risk of going too far again. How do you get in balance then?
Restoring balance on the physical level
Burnout is not just psychological or a matter of mindset . After you have robbed yourself for so long, the burnout has become a physical illness and you can have a multitude of physical complaints. Your recovery should focus on that in the first place.
In the beginning you are allowed to sleep, rest, move quietly, do not want or have to do too much. It may also be necessary to (temporarily) eat differently and take supplements. Complaints can also be hormonal, especially if you are of the age for the menopause.
Finding new balance emotionally, mentally and spiritually
It’s good to involve the emotional level as well, because you can have a sense of failure and not know your worth. Then a process can begin of living through all kinds of feelings and emotions, which you may have hidden away for a long time. And don’t forget the mental or cognitive level; your thoughts and beliefs.
Finally, you can look back and wonder how it could have come to this and what is the meaning of this forced period of stillness, I call that the spiritual level. What is the meaning or the deeper meaning of your burnout? Getting an answer to this, and seeing what positive change is needed in your life, can give a sense of meaning.
Burnout invites you to feel
Burnout forces you to stand still. It is essentially an invitation to feel and thus be true to yourself, instead of wanting to conform to the outside world. It’s about learning to live in the now, instead of always focusing on what still needs to be done in the future. Because that just contributed to the process of looting.
If you notice that you are too much in your head, if you experience restlessness and busy thoughts, take a deep breath. Do that three times. Breathe in through your nose and slowly exhale through your mouth. That way you can calm your mind. Then try to look at your thoughts from a point high in the back of your head, or above your head.
Getting into balance: from thinking to feeling
What you think, the mental or cognitive level, is very important, because your thoughts and beliefs are -mostly old- conclusions you once made that still guide you. Negative assumptions about who you are that make you behave a certain way.
It is an essential part of the pattern that led to the burnout. You may be thinking about what other work you want to do, what choices you have to make, and the like. This can cause a lot of anxiety and cost energy. Under such thoughts is often fear of shortage and that in turn makes you think ‘I have to…’ and so you can keep going round in the same circle and lose a lot of energy .
Being in balance: from feeling to doing
Therefore, stop excessive thinking and go through feeling to doing! How? Meditating can help (download a free meditation from me) or do the short breathing exercise I described above. Bring your attention into your body. Do you feel tension somewhere in your body? Or do you feel an emotion somewhere, perhaps very vaguely? Where do you feel it? Put your hand on it. Go with all your attention to the feeling. Allow it.
Always ask yourself: What do I need now? Ask that feeling in your body. Be quiet, there will be an answer for sure. Then do what your body asks of you. Walking, eating, resting, sleeping. Or maybe cry first. Don’t feel like doing anything? Then sit like this for a while and be still. You will automatically move.
Overview of help at the different levels
I have listed which help or guidance can help you to recover and regain balance, especially if you are highly sensitive. In the diagram below you will find an overview from the physical to the spiritual level with possible forms of therapy or guidance.
I hope it helps you, or someone you know, find appropriate help or guidance at every stage in your recovery process.