Burnout brings you to a halt, literally and figuratively. “As if the battery is being pulled out to be able to charge again. The idea is to slow down your life,” says Diana Douma. In this article she reflects on the magic of rest, during and after a burnout.
In the first few months, your body and mind are still so set to do and go , that it is difficult to really relax.
Body wants to stop, head keeps going
In a world where we are constantly ‘on’, it is difficult to slow down. This has to do with habits, with learned ideas and with the nature of the beast. Relaxation often comes last. There are those who claim that if you don’t work hard, you won’t get what you want. But that is of course an ‘old’ belief. Ultimately it is about quality of life. If you do everything with love and pleasure, life will come to you naturally.
We go on and on, without pausing for a moment, without moments of rest. Until we are forced to stop due to an illness or burnout. When you end up in a burnout, it is very difficult to surrender yourself to what is there. You are still ‘on’. Your engine is still running. And when your body tells you to stop, your mind won’t believe it.
Your body is so intelligent that it knows when to put the brakes on. In the first weeks, or months, you are still in a ‘doing’ state. You are constantly in conflict with yourself about continuing or taking a rest. You get the feeling of falling or being weak when nothing could be further from the truth. You’ve been incredibly strong by holding on for so long and letting it get to the point where your body had to intervene. You’ve had a fighter mentality all along. You had to go on by yourself and didn’t want to give in to rest.
Now all kinds of thoughts are running through your head. You blame yourself and try to understand what’s going on with you. Everything and everyone feels like too much and thinking clearly is no longer there. Crying for nothing, panic attacks, depression, powerlessness and other feelings and emotions that come loose. A cesspool of sadness, anger and frustration opens up. Meanwhile, you feel powerless and try to regain control. But that’s exactly it: you’ve lost control. About yourself, your emotions, your feelings, your life, everything…
Starting the fight again
If you end up in a burnout, you start the fight again. You are fighting with yourself and with the situation that you cannot accept. Because you are still ‘on’, you do not know how to react and act. All these years you’ve been doing something a certain way and now you just have to give it up? Just give in to everything that happens to you? Just accept that your body doesn’t want to anymore? Allowing the sadness, frustration and anger to surface? Part of you doesn’t want that and doesn’t know how to do it at all, because you’ve always tucked everything away so nicely.
Another part will fight against everything that presents itself. Why do you have to give up? Why does everything feel like this? In the first few months, your body and mind are still so set to do and go , that it is difficult to really relax. Especially with all the emotions that come with it: emotions that you have not felt or wanted to feel for a long time. You get physical complaints that you didn’t know existed. You feel that you have completely lost purpose in your life and are trying to find a way through the whole process that brought you here.
Only in peace can you oversee your life and solutions will naturally emerge.
Burnout stops you
If you get a burnout, you will be stopped. As if the battery is being pulled out to be able to charge again. But your head is still spinning. You are meant to slow down. The point of a burnout is to pull the plug, so that you come back to yourself. Out of your head and to your heart, which should have happened a long time ago.
The idea is that you will listen to the needs of your body again, and therefore not ignore the signals, as you have done all these years. The idea is that you start thinking about life and look and especially feel whether this is the way you want to keep going. Perhaps there are more loving alternatives. The intention is that you will learn to live from the heart again, because that is where the most beautiful things happen and the most beautiful creations are created. Only in peace can you oversee your life and solutions will naturally emerge. Only in rest can your creativity flow again, which can and will bring you so much.
Rest takes you very far
It’s important to find a balance in your life so that you don’t get ahead of yourself again. Rest may take you further than always being ‘on’. Rest and listen to your body are so valuable. Many think that you will only achieve things if you work hard for them. But then they find out later in life that they have wasted their precious time on things that really matter little. It’s not always about money and works; it’s about making time for yourself, your family, and your friends… We often forget that consciously creating peace of mind ensures that you can enjoy life at any time, every day.
Rest helps to put things into perspective, to enjoy, relax, and be completely there, without life passing you by. Rest helps your body to listen to its needs. It also helps you to live more spontaneously, instead of meeting obligations and expectations. The spontaneity will make your life more fulfilling, because every moment is a surprise