Author Topic: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated  (Read 12234 times)

brunetteUK

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Hi everyone!

My body and my brain have put a halt to my life, I've come to realize I'm in some sort of burnout, survival or emergency mode where I'm running on very little energy.

Plus...heartbreak.

Two weeks ago the guy I'd been seeing said he wanted to put a brake on things. Next day I come to work, I cry uncontrollably, in front of my very british manager, that's so unlike me. I can't stop crying for more than a minute so I take a day off and go home.

I thought it was just heart ache, I gave myself time. But the more time passed, the more I realized it's not just heart pain, I'm in despair regarding all aspects of my life, it's just that the romance was keeping me nicely distracted. I'm in that stage where I've done everything right, followed all the social rules, so why am I so miserable?

I have been pushing and pushing myself relentlessly, for years. I just can't anymore. I am so tired.

A few weeks ago I went to the doctor for stomach pain and discomfort and it turns out I have gastritis, mostly due to stress since I eat and drink pretty reasonably.

My question is: how to gather yourself up when you've been spreading yourself thin for so long?
How do I do a paradigm shift so I stop putting so much pressure on myself?
How do I come out from burnout and have more energy than just to survive?

I'm like: yeah, I won't do things they way I was doing them. But I have zero physical and mental energy to do anything.

note: mental health is ok, I've had depression for many years and I know the signs etc plus I'm seeing a psychologist. I'm not depressed. I'm mentally depleted.

Any advice, any stories will be much appreciated.

Thanks!

Rdy2Fire

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2019, 07:19:41 AM »
brunetteUK

I totally can related I was in all seriousness feeling exactly this way (even had stomach issues) years ago after a breakup and had a realization or enlightenment of "How did I get here???" I wish I had some really good advice for you as I sometimes wonder if I ever completely recovered from it. With that said, in my case, I just kept pushing forward, I actually started dating quickly but realized that wasn't going to solve much so I took a break from dating and within a year found a new job and just kept, as I said, pushing forward.

On the plus side you know the stomach issue is stress and feel mentally healthy so I'd say start making some changes, even small ones, maybe just taking a walk every day, reading a book you've wanted to or meeting up with a friend etc.

GreenEggs

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2019, 07:40:46 AM »
I think the fact that you recognize the problem is a good thing.


You need to reconnect with your inner self.  I can't tell you exactly how to do that, but consider things that comfort you down deep.  Maybe in a spiritual way, or a sentimental way.  Think about special times in your life that come to mind, things that connect you to your path in life.  Think about your early dreams & goals, things that speak your your senses, etc.  The thing that you love about life and love about yourself.  That's where I find strength when I've lost my way.




Peace,

CatamaranSailor

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2019, 08:11:43 AM »
I don't think anyone can (or has the right) to tell YOU what YOU should do. Advice is great and there are a lot of well meaning people who post on this site, but you are the only person who really can figure out the best course of action. I know that's not what you were asking for...my point is you feel like shit and you are the only person that can change that.

That being said, I can tell you what I would do if I were in your situation.

First, recognize that there are other people who have been through tough (much tougher) situations and have come out on the other side. When I start feeling overwhelmed I think about people who suffered through the concentration camps, people who have seen loved ones taken away by ISIS, etc. It helps me put my problems into perspective. Yep...I feel bad...legitimately so...but I'm not dying of a horrible disease, my kids are healthy and happy, etc. Reframing the problem helps me "get out of my own head" so to speak and look at the issues objectively.

Next, I have some brutally honest conversations with myself. What am I doing to make the situation better or worse? Usually it's relationships or jobs that cause the most stress in a person's life....two things you have far more control over than you realize. I've been in job situations that I hated and couldn't immediately quit due to financial obligations. However, rather than just simmer in a pot of misery, I turned my disgust at the situation into focused job searches.

Relationships are a tough one. Time for some tough self talk. Do you really want to be with someone who is not "all in." Are YOU someone you'd want to hang out with? I've had to come to grips with some unpleasant truths about myself (I can be a whiny little bitch). Put an action plan together to address the things you can control.

I've also come to understand the power of chaos. Chaos at first glance is horrible and frightening. Until you realize what chaos does to your brain. Chaos focuses you like nothing else. Imagine you are suddenly picked up right now and deposited halfway around the world. No money, no friends, nothing. You suddenly find yourself in a completely foreign city where you don't speak the language. You'd be scared (of course) but I guarantee you...you wouldn't be thinking about breakups or jobs.  Your brain would kick into overdrive. You'd be 1000% alert...looking, hearing, smelling everything. Your survival instincts would kick in. You'd be on the lookout for danger while at the same time trying to figure out how to get home. You would of course figure it out. You'd make your way to your embassy, or get a local to make a call for you. The point is, all that chaos would focus you in a way that would make you feel truly alive (and terrified for sure). You'd get home glad to be alive and you'd have a story to tell for the rest of your life.

Now, I'm NOT SAYING throw your life into complete chaos....at least not to that extent. What I am saying is that sometimes you need to do something EXTERNAL to get yourself out of focusing on the INTERNAL too much.

I personally go on trips to feel good but especially when I'm feeling the way you are right now. Travel IS CHAOS just in a much more controlled fashion. Travel hits all the same buttons...foreign environment, brain on high alert, etc.

There are plenty of ways to travel for little $$$

Personally I love Workaway https://www.workaway.info/

Free room and board in exchange for help. You can go to Amsterdam and help restore 18th century sailing ships, you can go to Africa and help build schools, you can go to South America and work on a coffee plantation. There are literally thousands of opportunities.

Yeah..I know...you have a job. Time for more brutal self talk...Is it a job you love? Will they give you a sabbatical? Do you care? I traveled for a year and was worried about the resume gap. It was actually a terrific conversation starter when I started interviewing....recruiters were far more interested in what I'd done in Normandy than the last certification I'd passed.

Long post, I know.

SImply put, get out of your own head. Be honest with yourself and understand that no one...not your friends, therapist or Internet strangers can solve this for you. Put a little healthy chaos into your life (safely of course).

:}




mozar

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2019, 08:35:38 AM »
Just know that it took years to get to this state of being burnt out. You're not going to recover in a couple of weeks. It will take a year+.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2019, 11:34:16 AM »
I appreciate your messages so much! It warms my heart.

brunetteUK

I totally can related I was in all seriousness feeling exactly this way (even had stomach issues) years ago after a breakup and had a realization or enlightenment of "How did I get here???" I wish I had some really good advice for you as I sometimes wonder if I ever completely recovered from it. With that said, in my case, I just kept pushing forward, I actually started dating quickly but realized that wasn't going to solve much so I took a break from dating and within a year found a new job and just kept, as I said, pushing forward.

On the plus side you know the stomach issue is stress and feel mentally healthy so I'd say start making some changes, even small ones, maybe just taking a walk every day, reading a book you've wanted to or meeting up with a friend etc.

I feel for you! Hope your stomach issues are better and well done for not jumping back into dating. I did that a few years ago after a big breakup and only stopped...last week, your figured it out much quicker!
Right now I don't know if I need small changes or big changes, so I'm just let time pass slowly.

You need to reconnect with your inner self.  I can't tell you exactly how to do that, but consider things that comfort you down deep.  Maybe in a spiritual way, or a sentimental way.  Think about special times in your life that come to mind, things that connect you to your path in life.  Think about your early dreams & goals, things that speak your your senses, etc.  The thing that you love about life and love about yourself.  That's where I find strength when I've lost my way.

That's so true @GreenEggs , thanks. I'm moving away from the picture perfect life I told myself I should have, the way I should feel, the accomplishments I should have. Trying to get a grasp of what you just said, the inner me.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2019, 11:56:03 AM »

What am I doing to make the situation better or worse? Usually it's relationships or jobs that cause the most stress in a person's life....two things you have far more control over than you realize.

Wise words @CatamaranSailor ! The thing is, it's not even the job itself or the relationships itself. I have grown a lot in both areas and manage both much better than before. It's the PRESSURE, because it's NEVER ENOUGH, must try harder, never there yet. On the work side, I've realized this week that I'm in a great, great job. It's in commercial finance, I've only dreeeeamed of making the move from accounting to commercial finance for years and here I am, in a role that is bang on what I wanted. So why was I beating myself forwards so much? Oh...I need the Finance Business Partner title and the salary increase, so then I'd need the Finance Whatever title and so on.

I'm tired of this beating up.

Relationships are a tough one. Time for some tough self talk. Do you really want to be with someone who is not "all in." Are YOU someone you'd want to hang out with? I've had to come to grips with some unpleasant truths about myself (I can be a whiny little bitch). Put an action plan together to address the things you can control.

I attach myself to people like they are my lifeboat and put them as the meaning of my life. Going to the psychologist to address that. Now I see dating won't be too successful until I manage to put me in the center of it all.

I've also come to understand the power of chaos. Chaos at first glance is horrible and frightening. Until you realize what chaos does to your brain. Chaos focuses you like nothing else. Imagine you are suddenly picked up right now and deposited halfway around the world. No money, no friends, nothing. You suddenly find yourself in a completely foreign city where you don't speak the language. You'd be scared (of course) but I guarantee you...you wouldn't be thinking about breakups or jobs.  Your brain would kick into overdrive. You'd be 1000% alert...looking, hearing, smelling everything. Your survival instincts would kick in. You'd be on the lookout for danger while at the same time trying to figure out how to get home. You would of course figure it out. You'd make your way to your embassy, or get a local to make a call for you. The point is, all that chaos would focus you in a way that would make you feel truly alive (and terrified for sure). You'd get home glad to be alive and you'd have a story to tell for the rest of your life.

You mentioned chaos and I feel I'm in chaos right now. And it's giving me the reaction you mentioned, focus. What is the only important thing right now because I can't handle all this stuff flying around me. That's how I noticed how tired I was. How what I need is sleep and rest.

SImply put, get out of your own head. Be honest with yourself and understand that no one...not your friends, therapist or Internet strangers can solve this for you. Put a little healthy chaos into your life (safely of course).

Everyone who replied mentioned this, that only I can solve this, it's in my hands. I don't know what I will do, but I certainly know I will not do again what got me here. That's just out of the question.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2019, 12:02:05 PM »
Just know that it took years to get to this state of being burnt out. You're not going to recover in a couple of weeks. It will take a year+.

Thanks @mozar ! I didn't want to accept that. I was like "excuse me?! I have a timeline of 2 weeks then I'm back to full throttle, new and improved me, everyone will be so impressed how I came out much better"

So your input, plus various post by @Malkynn @omachi   , @maizeman  have been going on about how it takes time, how it takes a lot of letting go of many things.
If you ask me, this depleted energy/browned out situation is totally unnecessary, if I just stop being lazy, put my focus on getting somewhere, grind my teeth and carry on, then all will be fine.
But of course it's not like this, the messed up mental and physical state say a different story. I don't even know how to see what's making me unwell.

LifeHappens

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2019, 12:19:54 PM »
So why was I beating myself forwards so much? Oh...I need the Finance Business Partner title and the salary increase, so then I'd need the Finance Whatever title and so on.

I'm tired of this beating up.
I recognize this feeling! I used to be a lot like this. I still am a little like this, but I've gotten much more chill - or much less ambitious, depending on your perspective!

Would you be willing to experiment with mindfulness, guided meditation or yoga? Those have all been helpful modalities for me as I've re-trained my mind. I see you're working with a therapist. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may be useful in exploring and changes your beliefs about always needing to do more, more, more.

It's hard to change how you think. I've been working on it for 15+ years, but it's been worth it. Best wishes for your journey.

Laserjet3051

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2019, 01:22:45 PM »
One may hypothesize that an effective antidote to burnout is to slow down, lighten the load, simplify, and put less on one's plate. This is exactly what I did to address my severe burnout years ago that led to extreme mental/physical debilitation. As an overachiever/perfectionist, I reduced the # of things I put on my "list to do" from 500 down to 5, so to speak. This really did work for me, of course it was only part of a larger more comprehensive paradigm shift (that included mindfulness, exercise, etc), but life started to feel a lot better when there was much less on my plate. And this is coming from a guy with 2 young kids, a wife, in a VHCOL area with limited disposible income. According to MMM principles, I tried to insource everything (DIY), which in part exacerbated the burnout. I still insource, but instead of 30 DIY projects on my list, maybe I've got 3. Fuck the rest, it will just have to be "good enough."

Developing skills in mindfulness has also been a lifesaver. Good luck and best wishes.

koshtra

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2019, 01:52:50 PM »
this depleted energy/browned out situation is totally unnecessary

This, I think, is the heart of your difficulty. This thought is trying to kill you :-)

How about, instead: anyone who went through what I've gone through would be at the end of their rope. Anybody just trying to make it work, with so little support, for so long, would be swamped by losing what was starting to look like a deep connection.

It's all right to be a human being with human needs. It would even be all right to be a human being with greater needs than other people. You don't actually get to set your levels of needing rest and support. No one does. Some people appear to get by on less than I need. That's great, I'm happy for them, but it doesn't mean that I can do the same thing.

I think the first thing you need to do is practice shooting this thought (that this is unnecessary) down every time it appears. You need what you need. You need rest and you need support. These needs are not illegitimate. They are not made up. They will not be made to go away by pulling your socks up and sticking your chin out.

former player

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2019, 02:56:21 PM »
I remember well throwing up on the way into work out of sheer stress.  Fortunately I went to see a doctor who recognised what the problem was, and simply having the problem explained helped in dealing with it.

I may be wrong here, but it sounds to me as though everything in your life is either something you do for other people or something you do because of what other people might think if you don't do it or something similar to it.

The answer to that would be to work out what it is you want to do for yourself, ignoring what other people/society might think.  Of course, working out what it is that you want to do for yourself is not easy, particularly if you have spent years/decades doing things that other people want you to do - you are all bent into the shapes other people want to make of you and finding what your own natural shape is can take time.  Take care of yourself in the meantime, and you will get there eventually.  The problem after finding what shape you should be is finding the courage to change your life to fit that new shape, of course.  But that's for the future: first find what your new shape is going to be.


Habilis

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2019, 03:22:27 PM »
I found the book Lost Connections by Johann Hari to speak to a lot of what is missing in our lives, communities. It's meaningful connections, meaningful work, people who care about us that we help and help us in return.

The book specifically talks about depression and anxiety as symptoms of these missing connections, but burnout is just another symptom of the same root cause. I hope it helps.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jan/17/lost-connections-johann-hari-review

Evgenia

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2019, 03:51:06 PM »
I hate to write things like this, because I feel it implies FIRE is the only answer, but: The burn out is real and took me the better part of one year to fully recover from. I slept and did effectively nothing for six months straight and, after that, started to feel better.

The great thing is HOW MUCH BETTER you CAN feel. Keep believing in THAT. I had no idea. Before I left my job, I had a litany of complaints that I thought were all due to aging (at 38). Aches, all sorts of pain, skin issues, intermittent stress hives, the works. A few months away from work and presto, no more problems. It freaked me out, honestly. I had NO IDEA stress could feel THAT bad.

I don't know if you have vacation time or medical leave you can take to get some solid time away, or if your workplace supports remote work from a distant, more relaxing vacation, but those may be possibilities. As other pre-FIRE folks often advise, step back as much as you can at work, reduce responsibilities, and try to achieve a don't-give-a-shit level about work until you feel better.

As you've already noticed, be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, and focus on what you want things to be like going forward; the past is done and sunk cost. <3

omachi

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2019, 05:32:40 PM »
Sorry to hear you're burned out, but step one really is recognizing it for what it is. Mistaking it for being lazy or not being good enough isn't helpful. In fact, that can just lead to more problems, especially if you've long been a high achiever. Trying to square not being able to get something started, much less done, with the long held identity of being awesome is stressful in itself. But while gritting your teeth might work this time, it only makes things worse in the long run. It's how you've landed here, now. So please, be gentle with yourself.

Or said differently, when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

You're coming to terms with it. Maybe you don't fully believe you need a long period of recovery. Maybe you think you can get back to your current breakneck pace after some rest. I was guilty of such thinking at first, too. The important thing is that you see that you are indeed in a hole. The size and scope of it may surprise you later, but for now it's best to just focus on not digging the hole deeper.

If you don't know where to start with recovery, making a list of priorities is a great first step for seeing what can come out of your life. Just write down everything you've done in the last month at a rough task level, and if you can estimate the amount of time spent, even better. So if you delivered a report, that might be gathering inputs, writing a draft, asking people to proof it, thanking people for their input, making revisions, submitting the report, and fielding questions. If you helped somebody move, that might be gathering boxes, helping with organizing and scheduling, the physical moving part, getting a meal with the people you're helping, and getting some good stretching in after so you're less sore the next day.

Seeing it all in one place is a good way to realize on an emotional level how much you have going on. I know I was surprised at the extent of my list. I didn't realize quite how many different ways I was letting myself be pulled. Relate all of it to a category like work, exercise, socializing, family, and so on. If you have a category that you want to be a priority but didn't show up in your activities, note that too. Once you have your list of categories, put them in a priority order, no ties allowed. Only you can answer this question of what's important to you. And don't worry if you get it wrong, I'm still revising my priority list, and it's going to change with time anyway. For now, note how much of your time or how many of the things you're doing fall into the top couple priorities.

Not saying you have to change anything at that point, just consider how much you've taken on and how much of it truly matters to you. Whether the bulk of your time and actions are in your top categories. You may get an itch to do something about what you see. If you do, try to only drop things, not add them. If you must add, drop at least twice as much time as you'll spend on the new thing first. The goal is to free up time in your schedule for recovering by cutting unimportant stuff, not to continue burning yourself out.

Beach_Stache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2019, 06:07:39 PM »
I would say you want to surround yourself with positive people first.  Dealing with people that take a lot of energy or you have to "keep up with" can be exhausting.  Be around people who are positive and don't suck the energy out of you.  Be yourself!  Maybe you're around people that you have to keep those "social norms" around, and if you have to hold yourself back and be someone you are not then that's really difficult.  My moto is that if you don't like me, that's fine, I'm not going to change, so I probably shouldn't be around you.  I have people who I really enjoy being around and those who I don't enjoy being around I just don't be around them...  You grow apart from people, things change, friends from high school or college get into different things and it's okay to get new friends, surround yourself with new people, new interests, etc.  MMM forum is a great example, a bunch of non-normal people (super savers) who take pride and joy in being who they are even though it's against a social norm.  If I explained many of these things to my everyday friends I'm around, they might think I'm crazy.  People know I'm frugal, and some of it rubs off, but if I pushed my lifestyle on people they would probably resent me or think I'm crazy, but the people on this board are super positive with great energy that don't make you feel bad.  In fact there is even a "Share your badassity" section where people can brag about their achievements and others encourage and celebrate that, they don't hold resentment.  Those are the people you want to be around, those you don't judge you, they accept you for who you are and you can be who you are.  In your area maybe there is a rec sports league or yoga class or book club or something that you're into that you can make new friends, be around positive people, etc. 

I don't get much burnout because I somewhat enjoy my 9-5 job but also coach so I get something totally different being outside, mentoring, dealing with players and parents who enjoy the same sport as I do.  You need some different things, stuff that keeps you going, friends, work, exercise, whatever.

Put yourself out there, don't be afraid to be who you are, don't change it, search for people who are like you or will take you for who you are and celebrate you!

Best of luck!

kei te pai

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2019, 10:26:13 PM »
Who nurtures you brunetteUK? Is there someone in your life who takes care of you? Parents, aunt, sibling, cousin? Where you can go and stay for a night and they will bring you a cup of tea in bed in the morning?
if there is, now is the time to ask for their love and care.
And if there isnt, then you need to give it to yourself.
Book a massage. Buy some ready made delicious meals, some flowers for yourself, and some bubbles for the bath. Plan a day each weekend in a park, at the beach. Cry and sleep, and accept that for now you are not going to achieve much, but it will pass, and it will get better.
When you are questioning the whole of your life, its purpose and meaning, sometimes just concentrating on the next day, the next week is better than trying to redesign it all from a place of exhaustion.
Long distance hugs and best wishes.

Maenad

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2019, 07:42:22 AM »
Greetings from one burnout to another! I had some serious work stress for several years, the type of meet-these-deadlines-or-the-FDA-will-padlock-our-doors kind of stress. I changed to a much less urgent role, but it's taking a long time for all of it to bleed off, and I may be unable to completely do so until RE next year. I don't have a lot of advice, but I can tell you that you're definitely not alone.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2019, 01:52:04 PM »
I'm so so thankful for all the messages. I cried reading every single one of them.
Reaching out to ask for help and advice hasn't been a habit of mine, I think it's a good sign that I asked and accepted help. So thank you!

I recognize this feeling! I used to be a lot like this. I still am a little like this, but I've gotten much more chill - or much less ambitious, depending on your perspective!

Thank you @LifeHappens ! Being less ambitious was definitely not on my list. I want to be chill and ambitious. I want to have it all and not break a sweat in the process. I can see how it doesn't work. I'm letting go of that view of myself. I used to think that I would improve myself out of of me. That I would achieve so much I would morph into someone else - because I'm not enough, because I'm flawed and unlovable and would only be worthy of love if I were someone else completely. . I have known this is what my brain tells me for a while but now I realize I need to actually, practically accept that I, in the current state, am enough.

One may hypothesize that an effective antidote to burnout is to slow down, lighten the load, simplify, and put less on one's plate. This is exactly what I did to address my severe burnout years ago that led to extreme mental/physical debilitation. As an overachiever/perfectionist, I reduced the # of things I put on my "list to do" from 500 down to 5, so to speak. This really did work for me, of course it was only part of a larger more comprehensive paradigm shift (that included mindfulness, exercise, etc), but life started to feel a lot better when there was much less on my plate. And this is coming from a guy with 2 young kids, a wife, in a VHCOL area with limited disposible income. According to MMM principles, I tried to insource everything (DIY), which in part exacerbated the burnout. I still insource, but instead of 30 DIY projects on my list, maybe I've got 3. Fuck the rest, it will just have to be "good enough."

Developing skills in mindfulness has also been a lifesaver. Good luck and best wishes.

I will take your advice @Laserjet3051 and slow down. I have been doing as little as possible for the past week, I question everything and try to stop the autopilot of task after task. "Fuck the rest, it will just have to be "good enough" is my mantra at work. I can't believe too much that I can let go of the perfectionism so hearing you say it really helps.

I started meditation and it really helps. The problem was that I was using it to cope with the anxiety of all the things on my to-do list and it had the effect of making the unbearable a little more bearable. I'll go back to it after this intense do-nothing period.

this depleted energy/browned out situation is totally unnecessary
This thought is trying to kill you :-)

How about, instead: anyone who went through what I've gone through would be at the end of their rope. Anybody just trying to make it work, with so little support, for so long, would be swamped by losing what was starting to look like a deep connection.

It's all right to be a human being with human needs. It would even be all right to be a human being with greater needs than other people. You don't actually get to set your levels of needing rest and support. No one does. Some people appear to get by on less than I need. That's great, I'm happy for them, but it doesn't mean that I can do the same thing.

I think the first thing you need to do is practice shooting this thought (that this is unnecessary) down every time it appears. You need what you need. You need rest and you need support. These needs are not illegitimate. They are not made up. They will not be made to go away by pulling your socks up and sticking your chin out.

Such kind words @koshtra , thank you. I keep reading them and tearing up. My needs are legitimate and it's alright to have greater needs than other people, they are my needs.
Since my intense do-nothing started, I have, at various points, had the automatic thought of "alright then, this has been fun, let's get going, chop chop" and forced myself to stop. Listen to your gastritis! You're not healed and you're dead tired.



brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2019, 02:09:25 PM »
I remember well throwing up on the way into work out of sheer stress.  Fortunately I went to see a doctor who recognised what the problem was, and simply having the problem explained helped in dealing with it.

I may be wrong here, but it sounds to me as though everything in your life is either something you do for other people or something you do because of what other people might think if you don't do it or something similar to it.

The answer to that would be to work out what it is you want to do for yourself, ignoring what other people/society might think.  Of course, working out what it is that you want to do for yourself is not easy, particularly if you have spent years/decades doing things that other people want you to do - you are all bent into the shapes other people want to make of you and finding what your own natural shape is can take time.  Take care of yourself in the meantime, and you will get there eventually.  The problem after finding what shape you should be is finding the courage to change your life to fit that new shape, of course.  But that's for the future: first find what your new shape is going to be.

I want to accept myself. Just accept that this is who I am and it's what I've got. And that is all I have to offer to the world. If people will love me, they will love the person I am now. Not brunetteUK plus goodies. But most importantly, I would like to love myself as I am. I think then I will be able to find my natural shape, I can totally see how I'm bent this and that way to fit into expectations.

I hope you're better and much less stressed at work @former player . I thought I was alright at work but now that I've stopped to listen, I noticed I was on 8 out 10 on the anxiety scale at 9am.

I found the book Lost Connections by Johann Hari to speak to a lot of what is missing in our lives, communities. It's meaningful connections, meaningful work, people who care about us that we help and help us in return.

The book specifically talks about depression and anxiety as symptoms of these missing connections, but burnout is just another symptom of the same root cause. I hope it helps.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jan/17/lost-connections-johann-hari-review

Thank you @Habilis ! I will read it as soon as I have a bit more mental energy! :)

I hate to write things like this, because I feel it implies FIRE is the only answer, but: The burn out is real and took me the better part of one year to fully recover from. I slept and did effectively nothing for six months straight and, after that, started to feel better.

The great thing is HOW MUCH BETTER you CAN feel. Keep believing in THAT. I had no idea. Before I left my job, I had a litany of complaints that I thought were all due to aging (at 38). Aches, all sorts of pain, skin issues, intermittent stress hives, the works. A few months away from work and presto, no more problems. It freaked me out, honestly. I had NO IDEA stress could feel THAT bad.

I don't know if you have vacation time or medical leave you can take to get some solid time away, or if your workplace supports remote work from a distant, more relaxing vacation, but those may be possibilities. As other pre-FIRE folks often advise, step back as much as you can at work, reduce responsibilities, and try to achieve a don't-give-a-shit level about work until you feel better.

As you've already noticed, be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, and focus on what you want things to be like going forward; the past is done and sunk cost. <3

Hi @Evgenia ! I will take your and many others' word for it. I want immediate, measurable, non-hippie results in the next two weeks. Instead, the more I stop and observe, the more I notice I'm exhausted.  I have 3 roles and 2 managers at work and they are very capable. I tell myself "not my problem, not my problem" all day long to try and step back, they can fill in for me. Both managers are aware I'm at the end of my rope, they are recruiting for one of my roles and I'm wriggling out of the other so hopefully in a month things will be more stable. In the meantime, I don't care, go ahead and fire me.

Sorry to hear you're burned out, but step one really is recognizing it for what it is. Mistaking it for being lazy or not being good enough isn't helpful. In fact, that can just lead to more problems, especially if you've long been a high achiever. Trying to square not being able to get something started, much less done, with the long held identity of being awesome is stressful in itself. But while gritting your teeth might work this time, it only makes things worse in the long run. It's how you've landed here, now. So please, be gentle with yourself.

Or said differently, when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

You're coming to terms with it. Maybe you don't fully believe you need a long period of recovery. Maybe you think you can get back to your current breakneck pace after some rest. I was guilty of such thinking at first, too. The important thing is that you see that you are indeed in a hole. The size and scope of it may surprise you later, but for now it's best to just focus on not digging the hole deeper.

If you don't know where to start with recovery, making a list of priorities is a great first step for seeing what can come out of your life. Just write down everything you've done in the last month at a rough task level, and if you can estimate the amount of time spent, even better. So if you delivered a report, that might be gathering inputs, writing a draft, asking people to proof it, thanking people for their input, making revisions, submitting the report, and fielding questions. If you helped somebody move, that might be gathering boxes, helping with organizing and scheduling, the physical moving part, getting a meal with the people you're helping, and getting some good stretching in after so you're less sore the next day.

Seeing it all in one place is a good way to realize on an emotional level how much you have going on. I know I was surprised at the extent of my list. I didn't realize quite how many different ways I was letting myself be pulled. Relate all of it to a category like work, exercise, socializing, family, and so on. If you have a category that you want to be a priority but didn't show up in your activities, note that too. Once you have your list of categories, put them in a priority order, no ties allowed. Only you can answer this question of what's important to you. And don't worry if you get it wrong, I'm still revising my priority list, and it's going to change with time anyway. For now, note how much of your time or how many of the things you're doing fall into the top couple priorities.

Not saying you have to change anything at that point, just consider how much you've taken on and how much of it truly matters to you. Whether the bulk of your time and actions are in your top categories. You may get an itch to do something about what you see. If you do, try to only drop things, not add them. If you must add, drop at least twice as much time as you'll spend on the new thing first. The goal is to free up time in your schedule for recovering by cutting unimportant stuff, not to continue burning yourself out.

Thank you @omachi , I cried so hard every time I read your post. I'm forcing myself to stop digging. I'm not fully convinced. But I can't even write down my list of priorities or what I've done in the past month; it's just too tiring. So I'll take that as a signal. I will follow your advice, but later. Right now everything can wait, I'm trying to avoid falling back into accomplishment/good girl behaviour.


brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2019, 02:22:52 PM »
I would say you want to surround yourself with positive people first.  Dealing with people that take a lot of energy or you have to "keep up with" can be exhausting.  Be around people who are positive and don't suck the energy out of you.  Be yourself!  Maybe you're around people that you have to keep those "social norms" around, and if you have to hold yourself back and be someone you are not then that's really difficult.  My moto is that if you don't like me, that's fine, I'm not going to change, so I probably shouldn't be around you.  I have people who I really enjoy being around and those who I don't enjoy being around I just don't be around them...  You grow apart from people, things change, friends from high school or college get into different things and it's okay to get new friends, surround yourself with new people, new interests, etc.  [...]  Those are the people you want to be around, those you don't judge you, they accept you for who you are and you can be who you are.  In your area maybe there is a rec sports league or yoga class or book club or something that you're into that you can make new friends, be around positive people, etc. 

I don't get much burnout because I somewhat enjoy my 9-5 job but also coach so I get something totally different being outside, mentoring, dealing with players and parents who enjoy the same sport as I do.  You need some different things, stuff that keeps you going, friends, work, exercise, whatever.

Put yourself out there, don't be afraid to be who you are, don't change it, search for people who are like you or will take you for who you are and celebrate you!

Best of luck!
@Beach_Stache , your words are so true! I noticed I have little patience for many people right now, including my parents and my brother. So many expectations! I do find a few friends are very nourishing for my soul and they are very positive. I'll keep this in mind, thanks!

Who nurtures you brunetteUK? Is there someone in your life who takes care of you? Parents, aunt, sibling, cousin? Where you can go and stay for a night and they will bring you a cup of tea in bed in the morning?
if there is, now is the time to ask for their love and care.
And if there isnt, then you need to give it to yourself.
Book a massage. Buy some ready made delicious meals, some flowers for yourself, and some bubbles for the bath. Plan a day each weekend in a park, at the beach. Cry and sleep, and accept that for now you are not going to achieve much, but it will pass, and it will get better.
When you are questioning the whole of your life, its purpose and meaning, sometimes just concentrating on the next day, the next week is better than trying to redesign it all from a place of exhaustion.
Long distance hugs and best wishes.

There is @kei te pai ! I have the bestest of friends! A good friend is taking care of me while I go through all this, plus I'm in regular contact with various lovely friends. And you know what? They have pretty heavy stuff going on in their lives and yet, and yet, they treat me with so much compassion and listen to me going on about a boy or a bad manager and they offer me all their love. Not a single one even suggested all this turmoil is unnecessary/uncalled for, all they want is that I take it easy on myself and get better.

I went for the massage :) best money ever spent. I'm thinking of actually taking some time off, as in off off, not run up and down holidays.  Thank you for the hugs!

Greetings from one burnout to another! I had some serious work stress for several years, the type of meet-these-deadlines-or-the-FDA-will-padlock-our-doors kind of stress. I changed to a much less urgent role, but it's taking a long time for all of it to bleed off, and I may be unable to completely do so until RE next year. I don't have a lot of advice, but I can tell you that you're definitely not alone.

Thank you @Maenad , I was convinced I was just to weak, bland and unfocused. I'm humbled to hear so many people had have the same issue. Good luck with your unwinding, let's both be gently with ourselves <3.

Again, thanks everyone! I'm crying with all the positive emotions you've given me.

Kwill

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2019, 03:06:31 PM »
I'm glad you've already gotten such good advice and are listening to it and finding what works for you.

When I was going through a rough patch a few years ago with stress and a heartbreak and career worries, I adopted a cat, which helped me focus on something outside myself. Not that everything was all better but that I was comforted and distracted. I had to leave the cat with my parents when I moved, but it helped when I needed it.

I find fiction a helpful escape sometimes. Evgenia's post about travel reminded me. What works best for me is a long novel or a series that I can lose myself in and feel all the emotions and ups and downs with the characters, letting go of my own worries for the duration of the story. One series I read part of was the Saga of Recluce, mainly because it was available at my public library but also because it was fairly absorbing. If you haven't read the books yet, the Harry Potter series might be good. Certainly it would be easy to find.

For me, singing and dancing have been helpful. Singing in church or other choirs and then lindy hop or other social dances organised locally.

If you have a religious background or interest, this would be a good time to connect or reconnect with your faith community. I've found that helpful as well.

omachi

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2019, 07:52:17 PM »
Thank you @omachi , I cried so hard every time I read your post. I'm forcing myself to stop digging. I'm not fully convinced. But I can't even write down my list of priorities or what I've done in the past month; it's just too tiring. So I'll take that as a signal. I will follow your advice, but later. Right now everything can wait, I'm trying to avoid falling back into accomplishment/good girl behaviour.
You're welcome, and I'm happy to talk about the subject, here or via PM.

While not being able to make the list is certainly congruent with burnout and one more bit of evidence, I'm guessing you have more than enough logical evidence at this point. I'd consider the tears first and foremost, especially if you're not much of a crier. When I was burned out, I found myself crying on occasion at kind words directed my way, typically people being gentle with me while I was beating myself up about not having it in me to get my act together. It was a definite sign that more was wrong than just motivation.

And take all the time you need to. As you may have guessed at this point, burnout isn't something you can get yourself out of by trying harder and going through the motions faster. I will caution against waiting until you feel ready or like you have your feet under you to start cutting commitments, though. It's the surplus of commitments that keeps you burned out and feeling unready. Even without a list, you probably know some stuff you can just not do that isn't a top priority.

mm1970

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2019, 10:03:22 AM »
I've read some books about sleep and stress and self-care, so in no particular order...

1. Sleep.  I aim for 8+ a day, don't always get it.
2. Work. I set limitations.  It's HARD yo!  To get up and walk out after 8 hours (or sometimes 7), to say "no" to additional projects that you cannot do.  It takes practice to do this.
3. Healthy eating
4. Exercise.  Now, for me - sometimes that means just going for short lunch walks every day, because it gives me a reset. Sometimes, it means I pick a goal and go for it (train for a big race, get into a lifting program).  It depends on where I am, which one that I need.  Many of my friends trained for a big "goal" after a breakup.  Many many.  It's both distracting, self-care, and a mental reset.
5. Relaxing evenings: for me, tea, crocheting, reading, and an early bed.  I've got kids and I frankly stopped even dealing with bedtime. They stay up later than me.
6. Friendships.  I schedule regular times with my friends usually while exercising.
7. Vacation - a two week break minimum is ideal.  You may need a leave of absence.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2019, 03:57:54 AM »
Thank you @Kwill @omachi and @mm1970 ! I'm thinking about your messages and will come back to you soon.

For now, an update on the things I've cut on. I didn't think there was that much going!

- Iíve stopped cleaning the house. Iíve done it for over 2 years. My flatmate can do it now. I need to rely on other people, itís time to see if she will be compassionate in return.

- Iíve let go of cycling. I love cycling but Iím letting that go for now, I wonít nag myself to do any exercise, not even yoga. I will go for slow walks and look at the flowers and the river.

- Iíve let go of social commitments. Not everything. Just the ones that take a bit more energy. I have lunch with my work friends. I will go out for a BBQ for a few hours this weekend, but my friends will be driving so it should be an easy there and back. I asked a friend who lives in my neighborhood for a coffee on Sunday. But Iíve cancelled dinner plans in central London. I turned down getting together with the girls outside London.

- Iíve let go of dating. This one is probably as hard as the work one. It is such a lifelong held habit that every now and again I ask myself what is it that Iím forgetting. Ah! Yes, must find love and companionship and really good sex today! Ah! Wait. Letís put a hold on that.

- Iíve stopped budgeting. My finances work very well on autopilot. And whenever I check my % savings, I always come to the conclusion that itís not good enough. Fuck that shit! I save over 40%. Consistently. On a lifestyle Iím very happy with. Iím going to label my transactions but that doesnít give me grief. I used to do this everyday so Iím slowly giving more and more days between tagging transactions.

- Iíve stopped travelling for work. They are searching for a replacement for that role. Not sure how I will handle the handover. It will depend on my health. I will suggest to my manager for the handover to be done in London, which will help the person integrate into the team since they will be working remote from all of us and it will help me in travelling less.

- Iíve let go of taking responsibility and thinking at work. Work is a tricky one. I donít know how much it has contributed to my burnout so Iím not sure how or where to scale back. Iím still in denial. This week I realised how much busier itís going to get in the next few weeks and I can see myself getting worse health wise and calling in sick. So I asked for a few fridays off so at least I'll have four days week.

And things I've added:

- Cooking. Takes the mind off things and results in delicious food.

- Gelato. It's summer and feels good on the soul.

- Massage, will go again next month.

- Scented candles, it just makes me happy.

Thanks guys :)

FLBiker

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2019, 06:48:27 AM »
Personally, the only thing that really helped in a sustainable way with breaking the "when I get that next thing I'll be happy" narrative was meditation.  I joined a local group and have been meditating everyday for about 5 years.  It's not instantaneous, but for me it has really helped.

Rdy2Fire

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2019, 07:26:43 AM »
Thank you @Kwill @omachi and @mm1970 ! I'm thinking about your messages and will come back to you soon.

For now, an update on the things I've cut on. I didn't think there was that much going!

- Iíve stopped cleaning the house. Iíve done it for over 2 years. My flatmate can do it now. I need to rely on other people, itís time to see if she will be compassionate in return.

- Iíve let go of cycling. I love cycling but Iím letting that go for now, I wonít nag myself to do any exercise, not even yoga. I will go for slow walks and look at the flowers and the river.

- Iíve let go of social commitments. Not everything. Just the ones that take a bit more energy. I have lunch with my work friends. I will go out for a BBQ for a few hours this weekend, but my friends will be driving so it should be an easy there and back. I asked a friend who lives in my neighborhood for a coffee on Sunday. But Iíve cancelled dinner plans in central London. I turned down getting together with the girls outside London.

- Iíve let go of dating. This one is probably as hard as the work one. It is such a lifelong held habit that every now and again I ask myself what is it that Iím forgetting. Ah! Yes, must find love and companionship and really good sex today! Ah! Wait. Letís put a hold on that.

- Iíve stopped budgeting. My finances work very well on autopilot. And whenever I check my % savings, I always come to the conclusion that itís not good enough. Fuck that shit! I save over 40%. Consistently. On a lifestyle Iím very happy with. Iím going to label my transactions but that doesnít give me grief. I used to do this everyday so Iím slowly giving more and more days between tagging transactions.

- Iíve stopped travelling for work. They are searching for a replacement for that role. Not sure how I will handle the handover. It will depend on my health. I will suggest to my manager for the handover to be done in London, which will help the person integrate into the team since they will be working remote from all of us and it will help me in travelling less.

- Iíve let go of taking responsibility and thinking at work. Work is a tricky one. I donít know how much it has contributed to my burnout so Iím not sure how or where to scale back. Iím still in denial. This week I realised how much busier itís going to get in the next few weeks and I can see myself getting worse health wise and calling in sick. So I asked for a few fridays off so at least I'll have four days week.

And things I've added:

- Cooking. Takes the mind off things and results in delicious food.

- Gelato. It's summer and feels good on the soul.

- Massage, will go again next month.

- Scented candles, it just makes me happy.

Thanks guys :)

WOW that's a lot of change in a week.. good for you!

SunnyDays

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2019, 09:41:28 AM »
Rest and more rest, both physical and mental.  Play, be creative without worrying about the end product.  Enjoy the process.  Lower your expectations of yourself.  I remember an interview once with Michael J. Fox, who was always worrying about his performances and being the best.  His wife gave him the advice of "Just be average."  After all, most people are average.  Why do you need to be any different?

Aelias

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2019, 12:35:16 PM »
Calling Dr. @Malkynn 

Take a look at this thread and Malkynn's posts in it: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/continue-the-blog-conversation/how-to-slow-down-time/.  By far, the most helpful thing I've ever read on the topic of burnout. 

Quote
OP, you sound exhausted.

Working takes energy, doing work you don't enjoy takes orders of magnitude more energy, studying takes energy, studying while tired takes energy you don't even have, basic adulting takes energy, having fun takes energy, and dealing with a chronic illness takes an ENORMOUS amount of energy.

Something has to give before you will have the capacity to really enjoy life. You need a surplus of psychological and/or physical energy in order to be mentally healthy and happy.
Living in survival mode/ "reserve mode' just isn't fun, and there's really no way to make it fun either. Being physically and emotionally perpetually overdrawn is simply toxic.

A balanced life involves a combination of activities that simultaneously drain and generate energy. A long hard day of challenging work partially drains physical and focus energy, but fuels the satisfaction and excitement energies. However, if you enter into a long and hard work day with too little physical and focus energy, you can't recharge anything and operate only on "reserve mode".

In "reserve mode" you never recharge any energy. This makes all "down time" reserved for sitting the fuck down and doing nothing, which replenishes the baseline energy reserves just enough to maintain "reserve mode", but never lets you reenergize enough to get back up to full capacity. It's why hobbies and socializing are draining and feel like work.

It's like always using your phone in "power save" mode where you never actually get to use your phone's best features. Sure, you can make a call, but what's a smart phone without the capacity to stream cat videos??

As a result, you are living a hollow shell of a life never getting to experience the world in its full colour. You are living perpetually in grey-scale. You can't even know what would make you happy because you've never experienced having enough capacity to ever be overall happy.

We have this bizarre martyr culture where when we start failing due to lack of internal and external resources, we instinctively push ourselves harder, as if a lack of resources is a personal failing and not just a reality of our personal limitations.

It's like someone who runs a marathon being disappointed with their time because they weren't rested enough, so they immediately start running it again right then and there under the premise that if they just try harder that they will go faster, even though they're infinitely more exhausted than when they woke up.

It's illogical. Yet, it's what most people instinctively do.

You look at your lower grades and think of how you should "punish" yourself with harsher study practices. Meanwhile, knowing that you are perfectly capable of performing better, you could look at those grades as a warning sign that you are using up too much of your available resources, and that pushing yourself harder is actually the least efficient option available.

If a shortage of resources is the problem, then aiming to drain even more of those precious resources without cutting back somewhere else is probably the worst move.

You're not wrong, you really aren't living and you can feel it. You are surviving. Survival mode is not living, it's the psychological equivalent of eating only meal replacement shakes. Sure, you will survive, but you aren't eating and enjoying food the way others do. It's not the same experience.

Personally, I consider living in survival mode to be a state of emergency. I think knuckling-down is the worst possible response in that state unless it's absolutely necessary for your literal survival.

Just like financial debt is a hair-on-fire situation, energy debt is an even bigger HAIR-ON-FUCKING-FIRE situation.

Practicing gratitude is one thing, but being complicit in your own self torture is another. If you have any other options available to you to start living a better life, then being grateful for a suboptimal life is nonsense.

Aiming to maintain this state for 12 long years until you can FIRE at 40 sounds insane and self destructive to me. I recommend looking at your life right now and seeing where you can make more space for yourself.

Realistically evaluate your own capacity and try to operate within it. Could you reduce your work load while studying?
Could you quit working altogether and finish school full time?

I'm not actually asking you these questions to answer, I'm posing them as the types of questions you can ask yourself to push yourself out of the parameters that you have likely set for yourself as givens in this current situation. Meanwhile almost nothing is ever actually a given.

Life is a series of trade offs and if your current trades aren't producing happiness, they might be bad deals for YOU.

Just because you *can* do everything, doesn't mean you should and doesn't mean it's the smart or right thing to do. A radical change in plans might be worth considering.

I guarantee you, life will never put external pressure on you to be happy and healthy, so the only pressure to defend your own well being will only ever come from yourself. So if you aren't putting pressure on yourself to protect your own health and happiness, no one will. The only way you can ever truly fail yourself is to not care enough about your own well being.

The most powerful question anyone has ever asked me is : "whose job do you think it is to make sure that your life is a good one?

MaaS

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2019, 07:49:26 AM »
I don't feel qualified to give advice here beyond this:

In the long term, nothing is more important than your health. Make decisions accordingly.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #30 on: August 10, 2019, 07:08:20 PM »
We live in a ridiculous culture, maybe the most ridiculous culture that has ever existed, where we're supposed to be all of these things before we can even start being human beings. We're supposed to HAVE all of these things before we can start being human beings. We're conditioned from day one to compare ourselves to others, not their real situations, but to their public profiles. And then we're told that this is better than any other type of culture that has ever been. If you feel bad, it's YOUR fault. If you're unhappy, it's YOUR fault. Hell, if you're broke, regardless of what hell you've been through to get in that state, it's YOUR fault. Welcome to the capitalist mythology. Check your humanity at the door and become the perfect robot worker with the perfect shiny house and car! The Matrix really exists - but we're blind puppets living in individual debt bubbles instead of pods.

Or just do it your way. It's better that they think you're crazy than to actually send yourself over the edge trying to be what they think is normal.

Habilis

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #31 on: August 11, 2019, 01:56:23 AM »
The What's Up Next Podcast which focuses on Financial Indepdence recently did this episode on burnout: http://diversefi.com/2019/07/29/whats-up-next-podcast-episode-45/

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #32 on: August 11, 2019, 08:42:32 AM »
The What's Up Next Podcast which focuses on Financial Indepdence recently did this episode on burnout: http://diversefi.com/2019/07/29/whats-up-next-podcast-episode-45/

Thank you @Habilis ! That podcast was very insightful. 1) Find your core values 2) Engineer your life around those. 3) Financial Independence is a tool allowing you more options, it's not a solution on itself.

It builds on what @AnnaGrowsAMustache have said and, although I have lived quite a uncommon life, I can clearly see now that the core values have been missing. More specifically, I have been waiting for my good citizen behavior and my career accomplishments to pay off in terms of fulfillment and happiness. Since it didn't , I kept self-improving and pushing forward. And since everyone tells you it's the people and connections that matter the most in life, I have been furiously chasing down a husband.
So yes, I have been trying to fit in and be normal. I have been looking at what others put on as a performance and comparing it to my backstage struggles.

In the long term, nothing is more important than your health. Make decisions accordingly.

Isn't that the truth? I think my health has always been a priority. The problem was that I didn't understand how priorities worked. Priorities was a list of 25 things I'd be taking care of, plus another 50 just waiting for me to have some time to get to them. Like @Malkynn mention somewhere, people decide exercising is a priority and then go on and cram that on top of everything else they are doing. When in reality priorities should be a short list of things that relate to your values and then you go and design your life to rotate around it.

Thank you @Aelias ! I never realized there was such a thing as energy debt. It never occurred to me that energy surplus was as essential thing.
One of my performance feedback at work was to stop work on firefighting mode, there was no need to do things by myself, with the resources I had and turn it around quickly. We were not in emergency mode. If anything needed doing I should ask for the necessary resources, raise any flags and take the necessary time to finish stuff. It's taken months but now that I work with spare capacity, I can see how much more beneficial that is to the quality and enjoyment of my work.
I also understand why having spare money eases up the pressures of decision making.
But spare energy? Never thought of that.
Calling Dr. @Malkynn 

Take a look at this thread and Malkynn's posts in it: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/continue-the-blog-conversation/how-to-slow-down-time/.  By far, the most helpful thing I've ever read on the topic of burnout. 

Quote
It's like someone who runs a marathon being disappointed with their time because they weren't rested enough, so they immediately start running it again right then and there under the premise that if they just try harder that they will go faster, even though they're infinitely more exhausted than when they woke up.

[...]

If a shortage of resources is the problem, then aiming to drain even more of those precious resources without cutting back somewhere else is probably the worst move.


That's the story of my life. Kept running figurative marathons because a) would distract me from noticing how miserable I felt and b) surely if I do this right, then the miserable feeling would go away.

Rest and more rest, both physical and mental.  Play, be creative without worrying about the end product.  Enjoy the process.  Lower your expectations of yourself.  I remember an interview once with Michael J. Fox, who was always worrying about his performances and being the best.  His wife gave him the advice of "Just be average."  After all, most people are average.  Why do you need to be any different?

I'm resting loads and gaining a bit more energy. But you should see!!! My brain is rabid looking for something to do. It got so used to the accomplishment/good girl high. Sorry mate, we are closed for business. We are average, average, average now.

Thanks @Rdy2Fire ! :) :)

Personally, the only thing that really helped in a sustainable way with breaking the "when I get that next thing I'll be happy" narrative was meditation.  I joined a local group and have been meditating everyday for about 5 years.  It's not instantaneous, but for me it has really helped.

I gave a good try on mediation for about a month recently and it really helped. The problem is that I was using it to cope with all the priorities I imposed on myself. Once I'm over the "do nothing" stage, I will go back to medication, it was really good.

I've read some books about sleep and stress and self-care, so in no particular order...

1. Sleep.  I aim for 8+ a day, don't always get it.
2. Work. I set limitations.  It's HARD yo!  To get up and walk out after 8 hours (or sometimes 7), to say "no" to additional projects that you cannot do.  It takes practice to do this.
3. Healthy eating
4. Exercise.  Now, for me - sometimes that means just going for short lunch walks every day, because it gives me a reset. Sometimes, it means I pick a goal and go for it (train for a big race, get into a lifting program).  It depends on where I am, which one that I need.  Many of my friends trained for a big "goal" after a breakup.  Many many.  It's both distracting, self-care, and a mental reset.
5. Relaxing evenings: for me, tea, crocheting, reading, and an early bed.  I've got kids and I frankly stopped even dealing with bedtime. They stay up later than me.
6. Friendships.  I schedule regular times with my friends usually while exercising.
7. Vacation - a two week break minimum is ideal.  You may need a leave of absence.

Sleeping loads, eating healthy, trying to relax and keeping in touch with nurturing friends. I took a Friday and a Monday off to give me four days off and I'm the middle of it. I almost cried of relief when I gave myself permission to ask for days off, that it didn't need to be something in the distant future.
The next few weeks will be busy at work. I'm already telling myself that 1) if my stomach gets unhappy, I'm going off sick straight away, for as many days as necessary. 2) Both my managers are very capable professionals and I will rely on them to get the brunt of the work done (because ...ahn... part of being a manager is that you delegate the task, not the accountability; also they are not emotionally and physically burned out; I'm also suffering from heatbreak).
 






brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #33 on: August 11, 2019, 08:52:28 AM »
I'm glad you've already gotten such good advice and are listening to it and finding what works for you.

When I was going through a rough patch a few years ago with stress and a heartbreak and career worries, I adopted a cat, which helped me focus on something outside myself. Not that everything was all better but that I was comforted and distracted. I had to leave the cat with my parents when I moved, but it helped when I needed it.

I find fiction a helpful escape sometimes. Evgenia's post about travel reminded me. What works best for me is a long novel or a series that I can lose myself in and feel all the emotions and ups and downs with the characters, letting go of my own worries for the duration of the story. One series I read part of was the Saga of Recluce, mainly because it was available at my public library but also because it was fairly absorbing. If you haven't read the books yet, the Harry Potter series might be good. Certainly it would be easy to find.

For me, singing and dancing have been helpful. Singing in church or other choirs and then lindy hop or other social dances organised locally.

If you have a religious background or interest, this would be a good time to connect or reconnect with your faith community. I've found that helpful as well.

Hi @Kwill ! I always wanted the company of a dog/cat but because it didn't fit with my life, I always pushed it aside. I still think it's mean to keep pets alone all day in an apartment but...you know, if a pet is something I want, then nobody is stopping me. It's such a revelation!

I have been binge watching - and crying like a lunatic - watching Queer Eye.

When I was burned out, I found myself crying on occasion at kind words directed my way, typically people being gentle with me while I was beating myself up about not having it in me to get my act together. It was a definite sign that more was wrong than just motivation.

And take all the time you need to. As you may have guessed at this point, burnout isn't something you can get yourself out of by trying harder and going through the motions faster. I will caution against waiting until you feel ready or like you have your feet under you to start cutting commitments, though. It's the surplus of commitments that keeps you burned out and feeling unready. Even without a list, you probably know some stuff you can just not do that isn't a top priority.

I have been overwhelmed by the kind words. And it surely it is a sign. My long time friends have been so sweet and that was kind of expected, we've been through ups and downs together. But you know, I have quite new friends who have been so so gentle. I haven't even had the time to pay upfront the benefits of a friendship with me and they are already being so kind. And you know what the best response is? To take in their helps and love.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #34 on: August 11, 2019, 09:02:24 AM »
Now that I've allowed myself not to care about anything, I've noticed a few things:

- I'm sick and tired of self-improvement. I can't read an article or have discussions on how to improve life. I've had enough to people telling me how to do things or what I should be chasing. I'm not going to morph into another person through self-improvement. My brain just doesn't take it anymore. There is no secret tip out there that is going to significantly change my life.

- I'm sick and tire of relationship advice. Now, I adore Dan Savage's advice. It changed my perspective from the boatloads of bad advice (girls are like this, boys are like that) to a much more empowered, equitable view of relationships. I recommend it to everyone. But I cannot listen to another minute of that, can't even read an article for the fun of it. Now that I put dating on hold, I can see how it was a daily and constant drain on my energy, I thought about it all the time. I inspected myself all the time. I wondered all the time. I gauged every guy against the hole in my picture perfect life. Will he fit? 
F*** this s***!

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #35 on: August 11, 2019, 06:01:16 PM »
Now that I've allowed myself not to care about anything, I've noticed a few things:

- I'm sick and tired of self-improvement. I can't read an article or have discussions on how to improve life. I've had enough to people telling me how to do things or what I should be chasing. I'm not going to morph into another person through self-improvement. My brain just doesn't take it anymore. There is no secret tip out there that is going to significantly change my life.

- I'm sick and tire of relationship advice. Now, I adore Dan Savage's advice. It changed my perspective from the boatloads of bad advice (girls are like this, boys are like that) to a much more empowered, equitable view of relationships. I recommend it to everyone. But I cannot listen to another minute of that, can't even read an article for the fun of it. Now that I put dating on hold, I can see how it was a daily and constant drain on my energy, I thought about it all the time. I inspected myself all the time. I wondered all the time. I gauged every guy against the hole in my picture perfect life. Will he fit? 
F*** this s***!

By and large 'self improvement' means how to be like everyone else. Or at least how to make peace with feeling you have to be like everyone else. You're dead on - there is no secret tip that will change your life. There is no perfect relationship, although plenty of folk are living in some mutually agreed upon hallucination! I think what you're missing when you're burned out is connection, but not to people. I think it's connection to process. Think about baking bread: you prepare your ingredients, you get your hands in the dough, you feel and smell what you're kneading, you wait for it to prove, you bake it, you cool it, you can then appreciate your efforts and perhaps share them with appreciative others. That doesn't happen at work. Only rarely will you get to see the entire, lengthy process with all the stages. And even more rarely will you ever have the period of rest and appreciation for your efforts at the end. And rarest of all is a work process that was worth the bloody effort to begin with! Maybe if you're a surgeon or something..... My tip for burnout is to make something. Perhaps something that you have to learn how to do first. Almost anything you physically make will engage all of your senses, and have an end result. Do something where you get to see and smell and feel a process, and enjoy the result. Go fishing and cook your catch, make a scented candle, bake bread, foster baby animals, clean something filthy, reupholster a bit of furniture, knit or crochet a wearable item.

omachi

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #36 on: August 12, 2019, 06:33:28 PM »
I think what you're missing when you're burned out is connection, but not to people. I think it's connection to process. Think about baking bread: you prepare your ingredients, you get your hands in the dough, you feel and smell what you're kneading, you wait for it to prove, you bake it, you cool it, you can then appreciate your efforts and perhaps share them with appreciative others. That doesn't happen at work. Only rarely will you get to see the entire, lengthy process with all the stages. And even more rarely will you ever have the period of rest and appreciation for your efforts at the end. And rarest of all is a work process that was worth the bloody effort to begin with! Maybe if you're a surgeon or something..... My tip for burnout is to make something.
Unfortunately, that's not how it works. I love making bread. I loved making bread years ago, since I was a kid, even. It's a near weekly affair at my house. During my period of burnout, I did not enjoy making bread. It was another thing to do that I had to spend my already over-budgeted time and energy to do. I wasn't able to enjoy making bread again until I had cleared enough things out of my schedule.

mm1970

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #37 on: August 12, 2019, 06:58:20 PM »
Now that I've allowed myself not to care about anything, I've noticed a few things:

- I'm sick and tired of self-improvement. I can't read an article or have discussions on how to improve life. I've had enough to people telling me how to do things or what I should be chasing. I'm not going to morph into another person through self-improvement. My brain just doesn't take it anymore. There is no secret tip out there that is going to significantly change my life.

- I'm sick and tire of relationship advice. Now, I adore Dan Savage's advice. It changed my perspective from the boatloads of bad advice (girls are like this, boys are like that) to a much more empowered, equitable view of relationships. I recommend it to everyone. But I cannot listen to another minute of that, can't even read an article for the fun of it. Now that I put dating on hold, I can see how it was a daily and constant drain on my energy, I thought about it all the time. I inspected myself all the time. I wondered all the time. I gauged every guy against the hole in my picture perfect life. Will he fit? 
F*** this s***!

+1 on the self improvement.

Now, I'm not anti- self improvement. I am type-A, after all.  But I seem to have found myself around a large number of people lately who are UBER into it.

Constantly reading self help books, talking about how to DO MORE and BE MORE.  And...these are people that I admire and love but shit, I just want to half ass it sometimes.  I'm fucking tired!

NO! I don't need to spend my work hours learning new skills, going all out for the job, showing everyone what I can accomplish!  I just want to do my job and go home.
NO! I don't need to start training for a marathon, start doing crossfit, dial in my nutrition to get 6-pack abs underneath that loose belly skin.  Healthy is good enough, you know?
ALWAYS STRIVE TO IMPROVE AND DO BETTER AT EVERYTHING.  Why?  Why can't I be happy with where I am?

I think some of it is age...most of my cohort who are pushing like this are about 40...I was probably like that at 40.


AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #38 on: August 12, 2019, 07:31:59 PM »
I think what you're missing when you're burned out is connection, but not to people. I think it's connection to process. Think about baking bread: you prepare your ingredients, you get your hands in the dough, you feel and smell what you're kneading, you wait for it to prove, you bake it, you cool it, you can then appreciate your efforts and perhaps share them with appreciative others. That doesn't happen at work. Only rarely will you get to see the entire, lengthy process with all the stages. And even more rarely will you ever have the period of rest and appreciation for your efforts at the end. And rarest of all is a work process that was worth the bloody effort to begin with! Maybe if you're a surgeon or something..... My tip for burnout is to make something.
Unfortunately, that's not how it works. I love making bread. I loved making bread years ago, since I was a kid, even. It's a near weekly affair at my house. During my period of burnout, I did not enjoy making bread. It was another thing to do that I had to spend my already over-budgeted time and energy to do. I wasn't able to enjoy making bread again until I had cleared enough things out of my schedule.

That didn't work for you. For me, baking bread was something I'd never done before, so it required different parts of my brain to learn the process and carry it out.

omachi

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #39 on: August 12, 2019, 08:13:02 PM »
I think what you're missing when you're burned out is connection, but not to people. I think it's connection to process. Think about baking bread: you prepare your ingredients, you get your hands in the dough, you feel and smell what you're kneading, you wait for it to prove, you bake it, you cool it, you can then appreciate your efforts and perhaps share them with appreciative others. That doesn't happen at work. Only rarely will you get to see the entire, lengthy process with all the stages. And even more rarely will you ever have the period of rest and appreciation for your efforts at the end. And rarest of all is a work process that was worth the bloody effort to begin with! Maybe if you're a surgeon or something..... My tip for burnout is to make something.
Unfortunately, that's not how it works. I love making bread. I loved making bread years ago, since I was a kid, even. It's a near weekly affair at my house. During my period of burnout, I did not enjoy making bread. It was another thing to do that I had to spend my already over-budgeted time and energy to do. I wasn't able to enjoy making bread again until I had cleared enough things out of my schedule.

That didn't work for you. For me, baking bread was something I'd never done before, so it required different parts of my brain to learn the process and carry it out.
Simply adding more to an already overfull plate doesn't pull people out of burnout. It doesn't matter if it's a complete process or just one more small task.

I would wager baking bread could help if it one replaced a long day of work with the slow act of intentionally baking, relaxing during the proofs, and socializing over the results. But I'd only make that wager because it's the replacement of far too much going on with something of a much more relaxed pace. I wouldn't take the bet if it's just cramming the stages in around the rest of an already heavy load.

Dicey

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #40 on: August 12, 2019, 11:16:19 PM »
Lots of good advice has been offered here. I just wanted to commiserate, because my past self could have written every word of your post. If I may address the breakup situation, please. I dated my ever-loving brains out looking for The One. Dated a lot of really great guys, but things just never seemed to feel/fit right, or I flat out got dumped. At one point, I even had the ring, the date and the dress. (<--ending that one was my call. No regrets.) I had my heart broken so many times, Carly Simon's "Coming Around Again" was my personal anthem. (Crib notes: "There's more room in a broken heart...")

When I was 54, I finally met and married The One. I FIRE'd the same year. All the pieces finally came together and it was worth all the struggle and every fucking minute of heartbreak. Crazy as it is, I LOVE my new life.

Listen to the wise words of advice that have been given, and always, always believe in yourself, no matter what. Never let go of your dreams. It's okay to let them go dormant for a while, like taking a dating hiatus, but never forget to nurture your heart's desire.

MoolahLula

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #41 on: August 12, 2019, 11:51:11 PM »
I would suggest taking a morning off work to get a physical exam with bloodwork and if your Vitamin D is in the low range, supplement it up.  Bloodwork can also reveal other stuff that leaves us feeling crappy, but can be fixed relatively easily. 

former player

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #42 on: August 13, 2019, 12:20:07 AM »
I would suggest taking a morning off work to get a physical exam with bloodwork and if your Vitamin D is in the low range, supplement it up.  Bloodwork can also reveal other stuff that leaves us feeling crappy, but can be fixed relatively easily.
Love your forum name.

But also: BrunetteUK is the forum name of OP. UK, right?  NHS, yes?  That means 10 minutes with a stressed out GP and no "bloodwork" unless it's for something specific that has been indicated by physical symptoms.

Also: high summer here, and it's been a hot one, so if OP is getting any time outside at all their vitamin D is probably fine.  Although I would agree with you that a vitamin D supplement is probably not a bad idea for someone who doesn't get out much in winter.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #43 on: August 13, 2019, 12:42:20 AM »
I think what you're missing when you're burned out is connection, but not to people. I think it's connection to process. Think about baking bread: you prepare your ingredients, you get your hands in the dough, you feel and smell what you're kneading, you wait for it to prove, you bake it, you cool it, you can then appreciate your efforts and perhaps share them with appreciative others. That doesn't happen at work. Only rarely will you get to see the entire, lengthy process with all the stages. And even more rarely will you ever have the period of rest and appreciation for your efforts at the end. And rarest of all is a work process that was worth the bloody effort to begin with! Maybe if you're a surgeon or something..... My tip for burnout is to make something.
Unfortunately, that's not how it works. I love making bread. I loved making bread years ago, since I was a kid, even. It's a near weekly affair at my house. During my period of burnout, I did not enjoy making bread. It was another thing to do that I had to spend my already over-budgeted time and energy to do. I wasn't able to enjoy making bread again until I had cleared enough things out of my schedule.

That didn't work for you. For me, baking bread was something I'd never done before, so it required different parts of my brain to learn the process and carry it out.
Simply adding more to an already overfull plate doesn't pull people out of burnout. It doesn't matter if it's a complete process or just one more small task.

I would wager baking bread could help if it one replaced a long day of work with the slow act of intentionally baking, relaxing during the proofs, and socializing over the results. But I'd only make that wager because it's the replacement of far too much going on with something of a much more relaxed pace. I wouldn't take the bet if it's just cramming the stages in around the rest of an already heavy load.

Well, it worked for me. It was the end to end project that wasn't related to anything I HAD to do re work etc. Much like all other advice, if it doesn't work for you, don't use it??

lhamo

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #44 on: August 13, 2019, 01:48:25 AM »
Now that I've allowed myself not to care about anything, I've noticed a few things:

- I'm sick and tired of self-improvement. I can't read an article or have discussions on how to improve life. I've had enough to people telling me how to do things or what I should be chasing. I'm not going to morph into another person through self-improvement. My brain just doesn't take it anymore. There is no secret tip out there that is going to significantly change my life.

- I'm sick and tire of relationship advice. Now, I adore Dan Savage's advice. It changed my perspective from the boatloads of bad advice (girls are like this, boys are like that) to a much more empowered, equitable view of relationships. I recommend it to everyone. But I cannot listen to another minute of that, can't even read an article for the fun of it. Now that I put dating on hold, I can see how it was a daily and constant drain on my energy, I thought about it all the time. I inspected myself all the time. I wondered all the time. I gauged every guy against the hole in my picture perfect life. Will he fit? 
F*** this s***!

+1 on the self improvement.

Now, I'm not anti- self improvement. I am type-A, after all.  But I seem to have found myself around a large number of people lately who are UBER into it.

Constantly reading self help books, talking about how to DO MORE and BE MORE.  And...these are people that I admire and love but shit, I just want to half ass it sometimes.  I'm fucking tired!

NO! I don't need to spend my work hours learning new skills, going all out for the job, showing everyone what I can accomplish!  I just want to do my job and go home.
NO! I don't need to start training for a marathon, start doing crossfit, dial in my nutrition to get 6-pack abs underneath that loose belly skin.  Healthy is good enough, you know?
ALWAYS STRIVE TO IMPROVE AND DO BETTER AT EVERYTHING.  Why?  Why can't I be happy with where I am?

I think some of it is age...most of my cohort who are pushing like this are about 40...I was probably like that at 40.

If you are 40+, perimenopause or menopause might also be a factor. Fluctuating hormones can really do a number on you in many different ways.

OtherJen

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #45 on: August 13, 2019, 06:14:39 AM »
I think what you're missing when you're burned out is connection, but not to people. I think it's connection to process. Think about baking bread: you prepare your ingredients, you get your hands in the dough, you feel and smell what you're kneading, you wait for it to prove, you bake it, you cool it, you can then appreciate your efforts and perhaps share them with appreciative others. That doesn't happen at work. Only rarely will you get to see the entire, lengthy process with all the stages. And even more rarely will you ever have the period of rest and appreciation for your efforts at the end. And rarest of all is a work process that was worth the bloody effort to begin with! Maybe if you're a surgeon or something..... My tip for burnout is to make something.
Unfortunately, that's not how it works. I love making bread. I loved making bread years ago, since I was a kid, even. It's a near weekly affair at my house. During my period of burnout, I did not enjoy making bread. It was another thing to do that I had to spend my already over-budgeted time and energy to do. I wasn't able to enjoy making bread again until I had cleared enough things out of my schedule.

That didn't work for you. For me, baking bread was something I'd never done before, so it required different parts of my brain to learn the process and carry it out.

You know, knitting was one of the things I took up as I was recovering from severe burnout. But I couldn't take it up right away. For a while, it was a major accomplishment to get up and get dressed and get to work every morning. And that was almost more than I could do and it took all of my physical and mental energy. At one point, I spent an entire weekend in my pajamas, and most of that time on a kitchen chair, staring at the wall. I had absolutely nothing left to give, and I was like that for a few months until I could leave my toxic job and career. Only then was I able to pick up anything new.

OP: A new productive, sensory hobby is a great idea. But if you're too mentally exhausted to take up something new right now, be compassionate with yourself and don't force it. If bread making or knitting or rock climbing or whatever sounds interesting but just too much, give yourself some time and come back to it when you've been able to get some rest.

mm1970

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #46 on: August 13, 2019, 09:47:42 AM »
Now that I've allowed myself not to care about anything, I've noticed a few things:

- I'm sick and tired of self-improvement. I can't read an article or have discussions on how to improve life. I've had enough to people telling me how to do things or what I should be chasing. I'm not going to morph into another person through self-improvement. My brain just doesn't take it anymore. There is no secret tip out there that is going to significantly change my life.

- I'm sick and tire of relationship advice. Now, I adore Dan Savage's advice. It changed my perspective from the boatloads of bad advice (girls are like this, boys are like that) to a much more empowered, equitable view of relationships. I recommend it to everyone. But I cannot listen to another minute of that, can't even read an article for the fun of it. Now that I put dating on hold, I can see how it was a daily and constant drain on my energy, I thought about it all the time. I inspected myself all the time. I wondered all the time. I gauged every guy against the hole in my picture perfect life. Will he fit? 
F*** this s***!

+1 on the self improvement.

Now, I'm not anti- self improvement. I am type-A, after all.  But I seem to have found myself around a large number of people lately who are UBER into it.

Constantly reading self help books, talking about how to DO MORE and BE MORE.  And...these are people that I admire and love but shit, I just want to half ass it sometimes.  I'm fucking tired!

NO! I don't need to spend my work hours learning new skills, going all out for the job, showing everyone what I can accomplish!  I just want to do my job and go home.
NO! I don't need to start training for a marathon, start doing crossfit, dial in my nutrition to get 6-pack abs underneath that loose belly skin.  Healthy is good enough, you know?
ALWAYS STRIVE TO IMPROVE AND DO BETTER AT EVERYTHING.  Why?  Why can't I be happy with where I am?

I think some of it is age...most of my cohort who are pushing like this are about 40...I was probably like that at 40.

If you are 40+, perimenopause or menopause might also be a factor. Fluctuating hormones can really do a number on you in many different ways.

Ain't that the truth.  Sometimes I wonder if we are all going to survive me going through peri-menopause at the same time my son is going through puberty. It gets ugly. Then I'm probably going to be in full blown menopause when son #2 hits puberty, sigh.

Nederstash

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #47 on: August 15, 2019, 05:10:36 AM »
Unfortunately I'm burned out as well. Currently 4 months sick at home. I'm very, very fortunate that neither my GP nor the company doctor (who approves sick leave if you're sick for longer than 2 weeks) mess around with burn out, so I've gotten the all clear to stay home and do nothing. The company doctor has even forbidden me from exercising - I don't have the energy. And if I do have the energy, I shouldn't be spending it all right away. He ordered me to do 3 things: have a long walk every day, get therapy once a week, do something I enjoy when I feel like it.
 
Man... my brain did NOT like that. My Calvinistic upbringing shone through; I can't just do nothing and get paid my normal wages. I'm a nuisance to the company. I'm failing. I'm a disappointment. Now other people will have to pick up the work I left behind.
 
My workaholic brain was freaking out like a cat in a bathtub. I couldn't sleep for more than 5 hours, waking up backwards (like, my feet on my pillow, head at the foot end of the bed), nightmares. So then I thought: I can't be burned out, I don't sleep more than 5 hours. Burn-out means you sleep a lot, right? Cue the guilt!
 
I was recently on holiday. Doctor approved, he said I should go and enjoy it, be out in nature. It'd be good for me. Well, the holiday took a shit load of energy. As in, I was throwing up for a week when I got back, migraines galore.
 
I'm figuring out how to deal with burn out, so I don't exactly know what advice to give you. At the very least: don't pussy foot with burn out. Try and get sick leave. The longer you fight it, the longer it'll take. You are sick. No two ways about it.

mm1970

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #48 on: August 15, 2019, 11:04:08 AM »
Unfortunately I'm burned out as well. Currently 4 months sick at home. I'm very, very fortunate that neither my GP nor the company doctor (who approves sick leave if you're sick for longer than 2 weeks) mess around with burn out, so I've gotten the all clear to stay home and do nothing. The company doctor has even forbidden me from exercising - I don't have the energy. And if I do have the energy, I shouldn't be spending it all right away. He ordered me to do 3 things: have a long walk every day, get therapy once a week, do something I enjoy when I feel like it.
 
Man... my brain did NOT like that. My Calvinistic upbringing shone through; I can't just do nothing and get paid my normal wages. I'm a nuisance to the company. I'm failing. I'm a disappointment. Now other people will have to pick up the work I left behind.
 
My workaholic brain was freaking out like a cat in a bathtub. I couldn't sleep for more than 5 hours, waking up backwards (like, my feet on my pillow, head at the foot end of the bed), nightmares. So then I thought: I can't be burned out, I don't sleep more than 5 hours. Burn-out means you sleep a lot, right? Cue the guilt!
 
I was recently on holiday. Doctor approved, he said I should go and enjoy it, be out in nature. It'd be good for me. Well, the holiday took a shit load of energy. As in, I was throwing up for a week when I got back, migraines galore.
 
I'm figuring out how to deal with burn out, so I don't exactly know what advice to give you. At the very least: don't pussy foot with burn out. Try and get sick leave. The longer you fight it, the longer it'll take. You are sick. No two ways about it.
This sounds horrible.

One of my coworkers doesn't know when to cut back.   He didn't have burn out but he did get mono...that took quite a long time to recover from.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #49 on: August 16, 2019, 03:24:36 AM »

+1 on the self improvement.

Now, I'm not anti- self improvement. I am type-A, after all.  But I seem to have found myself around a large number of people lately who are UBER into it.

Constantly reading self help books, talking about how to DO MORE and BE MORE.  And...these are people that I admire and love but shit, I just want to half ass it sometimes.  I'm fucking tired!

NO! I don't need to spend my work hours learning new skills, going all out for the job, showing everyone what I can accomplish!  I just want to do my job and go home.
NO! I don't need to start training for a marathon, start doing crossfit, dial in my nutrition to get 6-pack abs underneath that loose belly skin.  Healthy is good enough, you know?
ALWAYS STRIVE TO IMPROVE AND DO BETTER AT EVERYTHING.  Why?  Why can't I be happy with where I am?

I think some of it is age...most of my cohort who are pushing like this are about 40...I was probably like that at 40.

Hi @mm1970 !
I think the drive to DO MORE and BE MORE is particularly strong when you are a type A and don't have a direction. You are sitting with all the drive and motivation and you are not living your best life. So you start chasing objectives that everyone says is great: exercise! fancy cooking! optimal nutrition! become prettier!

I always thought running marathons are kinda dumb. It became famous because the guy who invented it collapsed and died! Because it's too much to ask from your body. And yet, everyone gets a round of applause when they say they're starting to prepare for a marathon. Why are you doing it? You can get better fitness without putting your body through all that stress. If you like running, you can just...run.
I think a lot of people do it because it's a challenge and it's pushing yourself. And we always get cookies when we push ourselves, right? Nobody will stop you and say "listen, it's a big commitment, are you sure it is right for you?"

Everyone will cheered me when I said I wanted a promotion. Even when it was giving me gastritis, nausea and other gory effects.

Now, if I had looked a it the same way I look at marathons, I would have asked myself: "Right, you wanna to become badass finance person, but...why? Is the effort worth it?"

I love this marathon analogy! I will ask myself "am I deciding to run a marathon here?" for everything I decide to chase.

By the way, this is not a criticism of marathons hehe I just think many people decide to run non-stop for 4 hours without questioning if that's a good idea.