Author Topic: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated  (Read 12308 times)

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #100 on: August 21, 2019, 02:42:38 PM »
Y'know those athletes in movies who have serious injuries or concussions and the team doctor tells them they simply cannot play anymore, but they beg them to give them a cortisone shot or clear them for play even though the MD knows that they're risking their career/health/life, and the whole audience is screaming in their heads "OMG you idiot! It's not worth it! Don't do it! Don't be such a stupid fucking cliche!" and the athlete does it and there are devastating consequences for them???

Yeah...that's you.

I laughed reading this, me love a bit of tough love hehe

Burnout Advice 1: Say out loud what you're thinking, people will point out you're being illogical (or a total idiot).

But it's been haunting me ever since. "I want to do x, y or z." *looks around at the imaginary stadium audience* "Is this idiotic?"

I started feeling unwell at work today and the awareness slowly came to me. "I think... I think everyone is saying Don't Do It".

So I gathered some courage, turned around to the manager and said "I'm taking the rest of the day off, I'm not feeling well."

I talked to my mom when I arrived home and mentioned I have a doctor's appointment...in 3 weeks and that I was going to wait patiently.

"What?!?!?!?!? Call them now" (See? they tell you when you being stoopid)

The doctor could see me in 30 min so I got on an Uber and turned up with my list of symptoms. I was a nervous wreck, sure they would send me home without anything.

The doctor could not have been any more helpful and sympathetic. She was convincing me that I was unwell, not the other way around. She gave me 2 weeks off work. I'm writing it down because I couldn't believe it.

It says that I may be fit to work during the time if the company reduces my hours, lets me work from home etc etc.

Then I went to see my friend nearby and what did I say?

"I'm thinking of saying I will only work from home for the next 2 weeks".

"What?!?!?!?!? Don't be daft, you'll still be just as unwell after 2 weeks of working from home. Say you are unfit and that's it". (See? they tell you when you being stoopid)

Adrenaline does funny things. It's ambulance policy, for example, to transport people to hospital who have suffered a major trauma like a road accident - regardless of their insistence that they're fine and unhurt. Regardless of the fact that they're up and walking. All sorts of injuries are revealed when the adrenaline wears off, even significant breaks. You're the person with a fractured femur, three broken ribs and a severed finger standing outside the ambulance arguing that you're just fine. You're not fine. Even if you're aware that something is not ok, you need that adrenaline to wear off before you can really judge how not ok you are. So let other people who care for you be your guide about how not fine you are, for now. Guess what? You're ALLOWED to be not fine. It's human. You WILL be fine, but give yourself some time.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #101 on: August 21, 2019, 02:47:02 PM »
I'm legit tearing up as I read this thread and I'm so glad this stuff is being discussed. I had, until recently, a family member in my life who is very much suck-it-up, someone else has it worse so what are you complaining about, think about someone else for a change, you're not sick or elderly or being abused or living in poverty so what on earth do you have to get stressed about, etc. I've since cut that person off but I'm having a hard time getting past that mentality.

One example - this weekend I did an art show (my side hustle). I was in a tent all day both days - in the heat and during some truly terrifying storms - and just the physical act of setting up and tearing down is physically very difficult and exhausting. So I decided to take yesterday off at my day job to recover. My "recovery" day ended up being me running a ton of errands that I couldn't do over the weekend - some of which were correcting Boyfriend's errors (I'd asked him to do the grocery shop but he failed to bring home some things I needed and in one case bought the wrong thing), repairing the storm damage in both of my gardens out in the humidity and heat, and then I spent 4 hours canning salsa because my huge pile of garden tomatoes was about to spoil. And I'm wondering why I don't feel rejuvenated?

Meanwhile I'm beating myself up because yesterday I didn't get to the laundry and I didn't spend enough time with the cats and I didn't do much cleaning. My landlord is coming in tomorrow to do a kitchen repair and my kitchen is absolutely disgusting and I'm embarrassed to have him see it like that. So tonight - after staying late at work because in my absence my boss took away all my helpers and put them on another crisis - I get to stay up late scrubbing. As an added bonus, I have a houseguest this weekend who is extremely vocally critical of my housekeeping skills - she's right, I am just not a good cleaner - so the whole rest of the week when I am not at work needs to be spent scrubbing things.

How do you all let go of stuff like this without feeling like a failure? For me it's less about being type A, though I have tendencies in that direction, and more about, isn't this just basic adulting? Managing to get the errands run and clean enough so that your apartment isn't disgusting and you're not repelling your houseguests, while still holding down a job and meeting your financial obligations and saving enough?

Meanwhile, over in my journal I just floated the idea of getting a second job because I'm not able to max out my retirement accounts and still cover bills/normal spending on my current salary plus side hustle earnings. And everyone told me, rightfully so, that that would be batshit insane, echoing what Boyfriend and my therapist told me. It is proving to be HARD to shake the "you're not doing enough" mentality, and part of me feels that I'll never stop feeling burnt out until I'm able to retire, which I can't do because I can't save enough, so I should increase income, round and round we go. Ugh.

Well, that was something of a hijack but I'm glad that we are all talking about this. And that it is not just me.

Tris, my love, I'm tearing up right there with you. I'm sending you a big hug.

Burnout Advice 2: Thinking and reasoning got you where you are. It will not change your course. Drastic inaction is necessary.

You designed your life to be a certain way, you set things out to be on automatic so you could keep going friction-less, day after day, to achieve what you set out. You made various decisions that all fit together like a jigsaw. It's a great thing however it got you to where you are but there are serious downsides to it. Take it from me, changing a few things will not do it. I've tried it.
You think I didn't go to the doctor before?
You think I didn't take it easy for a while? (I quit my previous job and was unemployed for six months, travelling in the sunshine)
You think I didn't go to the psychiatrist, psychologist and therapist before?
You think I didn't read 7 Habits?

I had to stop everything because very little is actually essential. In my case I couldn't because my body stopped. You wanna do this? We can do it but we will projectile vomit... you call though.
Honey, I give it to you, you can fake you have my symptoms, gastritis is bad enough but common enough. Take it and use, tell everyone you can't do shit because it makes you vomit.
And things become very irrelevant compared to stomach pain and losing a kilo a week (that I didn't have to spare)
Do nothing because it's when you make it that quiet you can then listen to your body complaining, you can hear the alarm bell ringing that you'd previously pushed aside.

I was unwell at work today. But I'd been like that before. But I finally listened, I finally stopped rationalizing it. I know exactly what you mean by "round and round we go". "Am I sick now? I was pretty well yesterday when I went out for dinner... I can't be off now, half the team is on holiday. I just need to eat something. It's because I went to bed late and didn't sleep well, I'll sleep loads tonight and it will be fine. Only I know how to do this at work." Today there was no reasoning with myself, it went "I'm feeling unwell, I really like my work but my health is my actual priority, so I'm going to go take care of it".

Regarding the feeling like a failure. It feels amazing. There are no more goal posts! You can stop running. Seriously, it took me a month and various friends and this forum for me to accept it. Now, I'm a failure! But a failure at what? I'm failing at cleaning my house! I'm failing at dating! I'm failing at exercising! I'm failing at work. So fucking what?
It's a bit like the silver medalist who feels shit because they compare themselves to the gold medalist. We keep these expectations that are far removed from reality. Give up, be a failure, it gives you so much peace of mind.

The houseguest will come, will comment on your performance, you will get annoyed. Ok. Nothing changed in the other. Tough love won't make you better at cleaning.

You don't can the tomatoes and they go bad. Ok. You are in crisis mode, fuck the tomatoes and the investment in them. You will grow and use them beautifully - next year, when you're not a mess.

Cancel the next art show, even if you really love your hobby. Maybe you will wake up that Saturday and be so dammed relieved you won't have to put the display up and then pack it up that it will make you realize how much of a toll it was taking.

I have a note... you might not like it...

Changing your behavior might...bring to light your boyfriend's true colors. Which might be beautiful or nasty. If you give space and silence, you will see them.

My little story since I seem unable to stop typing:
Once upon a time I had a boyfriend (real fit *wink wink*). I had just done my first week at a new job, you can imagine the stress. Had just cycled from one side to another of London on a dark evening, was dead tired. Arrived at his place. He sits me down in front of his laptop and asks me to comment, make a few adjustments on his MBA applications letters. But like, proper, as if I was a professional. I mentioned I was tired, I could look at it at a later stage, I was actually hoping for some dinner. And then I hit me how tremendously selfish he was being. Did I mention he was voluntarily unemployed for months so we could write these letters? That he got £50k from his employer just the week before? Why was he running me to the ground? What about my long week? I was still employed and studying on top of it!

You can compare it to the gentleman who dumped me a few weeks ago. Oh yes, he dumped me. He could have easily shake me off. But no, he is just as concerned about my health. He spoke to our friends in common and they were extra warm and nice to me so I wouldn't feel left out of the group, I could just feel that my well being was taken into account.



brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #102 on: August 21, 2019, 03:05:29 PM »
Well, shit.  I'm also mid-burnout-- just starting to edge into occasional physical symptoms.  This thread and all its posters have been really great in pinpointing and putting to words both the feelings and internal motivators that have been driving me absolutely bugfuck bonkers for the last year or so... all the shit that I was only able to start acknowledging to myself less than a month ago.  I come home from work with a twelve item to-do list to complete, I map out my weekends by the hour by what I'll accomplish.  I have fleeting wistful thoughts about playing games, reading books that I never make time for.  When I do (occasionally) carve out some time for personal pleasures, I find myself constantly distracted, getting up to put cups away, wiping down the countertops, scrolling through social media.  I used to drink for pleasure, now I drink to relax (and I can't remember the last time I could REALLY relax.)  I can't focus, and I especially can't focus on doing stuff 'for me'.  I used to pop up early on weekends, excited to take on the day.  Now I sleep in, and by sleep in I mean lie in a haze while scrolling through twitter, berating myself for not getting started on my TDL.  And on and on. 

Recently, family, friend, and health issues have made my feeling of dread and exhaustion ten times worse... and about two weeks ago, I realized that I had to just... Stop.  Practice actual self care (not the kind marketed to burnt out people in the form of candles and manicures), by actually prioritizing the needs of this combo fleshsack and brainjar first.  Over money and FI, over work, and family pressures, and most importantly, over endlessly feeding the productivity machine I had envisioned myself to be.

It's not going all that well (hey, do you want the itemized list of the things i "accomplished" list week?  It's very important to me that I keep such a list, you see) but it is going.  I'm working on it, day by day.

The thought of giving up that idealistic vision of myself is fucking awful.  It IS like a superpower, and the feeling of being able to get everything done every day is absolutely addictive.  I love feeling like I GOT THIS; I'm in control of my life, the captain of my own ship and my own fate; I can do anything and everything if I only stopped putzing around and put my mind to it, etc.etc.  Which isn't true, of course, but it's a good story to tell myself while internally trying to crack the whip, and get my exhausted mind to keep chugging along at an unsustainable speed.

Only the thought of going on as I am is worse, of living another year, three years, ten years like this: never satisfied, never happy, only productive.  Or tying up all my self worth to this impossible ideal of myself and hitting the wall going 200mph... yeah, I don't want that to happen.  And the wall coming up over the horizon.

So not a lot in the way of advice, but deep DEEP commiseration for everyone here.  I truly appreciate this thread and everyone who's chimed in with their thoughts and personal experiences.

Deep commiseration @Fish Sweet !

Ask yourself: How much time do I feel I GOT THIS and how much time do I spend feeling I GOT TO GET MY SHIT TOGETHER, I CANNOT LET THINGS DERAIL.

Let it derail man. Pretend you have gastritis, you are headed in the direction of a crisis anyway. Plan that you be will holding you mid section in pain and gasping for air this weekend. You will see how much of that to do list is becomes optional.

I don't know your gender but I was in a very similar permanent dissatisfaction mode. You know which were my favorite days of the month? When I got my period. Pure bliss. So much back ache, my legs feel like lead, my insides contracting and twisting or whatever the ungodly thing that happens to reproductive system. Some hormones drop significantly and that makes women very freaking tired around that time. So my state of being dead to the world was pretty normal. I loved those days because I gave myself permission to want nothing, achieve nothing, I didn't question whether or not I was really unfit, I just allowed it not to be productive. It feels so good.

Oh...you might find out you are actually pretty miserable in life. And the achievements keep you thinking you're better than the rest of us. I mean, I feel this huge hole in my soul but I'm such a good, productive citizen. I cannot possible be miserable and useless, that's just a waste of space. Mate, we're all waste of space. You're accomplishing all those tasks and nobody is giving a shit. Feel the awful feelings, but you need silence and inaction for that.

Life in Balance

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #103 on: August 21, 2019, 04:17:36 PM »
PTF because I need this information tattooed on my forehead. Thanks to those who have posted on this and other similar threads, I finally took action on prioritizing my health in a real way.

mm1970

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #104 on: August 21, 2019, 06:53:57 PM »
A quote that spoke to me this weekend that I shared with friends.

Be the kind of woman who makes other women want to up their game feel worthy and valid regardless of how their game is going

Malkynn

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #105 on: August 22, 2019, 04:32:10 AM »
A quote that spoke to me this weekend that I shared with friends.

Be the kind of woman who makes other women want to up their game feel worthy and valid regardless of how their game is going

Totally unrelated to your quote, but it did make me think of this.

I found a small psychological tool to be extremely useful in my transition away from achievement-junkie to responsible-human.

I stopped referring to myself in any kind of existential descriptive terms. For example, I used to always say:
I am an extremely outcome-oriented person
I am always on time
I am highly motivated
I am a dedicated team member

It was awkward at first, but I started using a lot of distancing language between me and the descriptors I use to explain my behaviour, because that's what it is, it's behaviour, it's not actually who I am, it's how I choose to behave. So I switched it to:
I prioritize outcomes
Being on time is usually very important to me
I find it easy to find motivation
I can provide a lot of dedication to the team

It reframes that all of the above are choices I make at work and in life. When I used to describe them as *who I was*, it out this enormous internal pressure on me to live up to that expectation. Now that I frame it as a choice, it all becomes a lot more optional.

If a behaviour is coded as an optional choice, then it feels totally normal to choose not to do it when a reasonable mitigating factor comes up, like poor health. Because it's not *who* I am, I don't feel bad when I can't follow through on a choice that may only be a rational choice when I'm healthy.

Spend some time observing the labels you apply to yourself, and it will give you an enormous amount of insight into the internal pressures you put on yourself.
Changing the language won't solve the problem, but it will help to not let those pressures be so automatically running in the background. Just recognizing them is a hugely productive first step.

Linea_Norway

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #106 on: August 22, 2019, 08:27:01 AM »
@brunetteUK, I think you are making great progress, having received your (first) sick leave. Don't even consider working during that period. Now also try to have some fewer obligations during the weekend and just relax, sleep out, etc.

After reading this whole thread, I see that I am also very much a type A person, always taking responsibility, filling up my to do lists, never had more than 1-3 sick days a year and many years 0, etc.

Last year, after having a lot of stress both at work and at home, I got symptoms of memory loss. Like not remembering a word in every single sentence I wanted to speak or write. Not remembering how to spell words in English. And not being able to remember series of numbers and characters, like call signs of a flight. Ik could remember 4 to 5, while 8 is supposed to be standard. And not to forget high blood pressure that went through the roof.

Since then I have done a couple of things: I quit being a board member of our private road. I started working 80% and have indeed not worked more than my assigned hours. Prioritized walking to work twice a week. Done an 8 week online meditation course and followed in to the point (Type-A), meditating and performing mindful yoga on alternate days. I have also prioritized doing my hobby that requires me to make lots of trips in the forest. That all went quite well. But I still have the constant feeling that there are not enough hours in a week to do all the things I would like to do. I would also like to go on more camping trips, but just thinking about the energy it will take to pack the gear and plan where to go is depressing me a bit.

Now after the summer vacation things are sliding a bit. We had an important software test with customers present and I need to be at work before them, therefore I didn't have time to walk to work a single time this week. As I am now finished with the meditation program, I don't HAVE to do it anymore, and therefore I haven't. Recently I tried again, but couldn't concentrate on my breathing at all. I should try this again more seriously.

The other thing is that we will FIRE in half a year and this requires selling our clown house. Selling a house is a big stressor. As it makes a huge financial impact for us how much we will get for the house, we are putting in a lot of effort in preparing it for sales. We have painted the outside walls, adjusted doors that didn't open smoothly, removed most of the wild chaos from the garden (after 4 weeks of summer vacation), DH plastered a basement wall. I will this weekend paint the wall. We also still have an issue going on with the previous owner of the house and this needs to be resolved before we sell. This is a stressful element.

We still have a whole list of improvements to do in the next weeks. Despite that, DH suggested we booked a week's vacation to Greece, just to relax a bit. I hope I will be able to relax during that week. But the sales schedule looks realistic. Yes, we should work hard, but it looks doable, both working 80%. We also have some additional extra hours/days to take off if necessary. Since I have planned to give my notice at the end of September, I can also relax a bit more at work mentally. If they are now telling me unrealistic deadlines for projects, I can silently laugh about it and just mention aloud that I think it is a bit unrealistic. I feel sorry for my co-workers and my department that I'm leaving, as they seem to value me. But for my own health I so much need this. But this week I again noticed the first symptoms of memory loss and lack of sleep. I haven't measured blood pressure, but I know it is pretty high now.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 11:38:32 AM by Linea_Norway »

Nederstash

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #107 on: August 22, 2019, 03:35:24 PM »

Thank God you booked an appointment with your doctor! I am so, so glad. I wish I could just give you the biggest hug. Can you bring a friend or relative with you? I had - still have - problems remembering stuff. Having a friend there just to listen to what the doctor says will help you! My doctor asked me (purely out of curiosity) when I thought I'd be able to work again. I said 3-4 weeks. She shook her head and said 'I hope to God that'll be true for you. But most likely, this'll take months'. It felt like such massive validation. My doctor is the best.

Seeing this massive list of stress-related issues you've had for years... you're like bad dough: you're overworked (feel free to read this in Paul Hollywood's voice). Holidays were always a trigger for me: first week, I'd be too highstrung and usually still working - even in a fucking onsen resort in Japan (oh, work calls me and it's 4AM in Japan? Well, I'm already awake now... better answer it! Then I fall asleep for an hour and an earthquake woke me up - true story). Second week would be flu/migraines/cold. And then I'd be back at work.

As for your kitchen cupboard mania... yeah, I completely understand. Even when you're finally home with a doctor's note and you get to rest... this will spring up from time to time. You get frustrated being sick and your body is still making adrenaline at VERY inopportune times. Your stress system is out of whack and it needs to heal. Just two days ago my stress system had a weird convulsion: I needed, needed to do yardwork. So there I was, pulling weeds at 11PM in the dark, using my phone as a flash light. Brains are weird, man.

I hope your doctor's visit goes well! If not, strongly consider asking a second opinion from a different doctor! I don't know if there's a legal right to a second opinion where you are but you can always ask. But I hope it won't be necessary!

Hahaha I got laugh at our senseless instincts. Cleaning cupboards at 9pm, yardwork in the dark. We gotta write this stuff down and then read to ourselves to see the irrationality of it all. With a lot of self-care and forgiveness, we are only weak humans.

I followed you advice and I had my list of 8-9 symptoms and the doctor was beyond great. I'm so relieved.

I'm so glad you went to the doctor and that you have some room to breathe now!! Go back to the doctor in two weeks and discuss how it's been, how you're feeling/sleeping/reacting. Be HONEST with yourself and your doctor. Your first instinct will be to say "No, I'm fine, just needed some extra sleep!". You'll be thinking "I don't feel much different, still stressed. Might as well get back to work." Don't you fucking dare, I will fly to the UK and slap you. Which I shouldn't be doing because that would be too stressful. So... tell the doctor the truth, not what you think they'd like to hear. The doctor will tell you what you should be doing. Take some comfort in that; the doctor, a professional, is making the decision. You merely supply the facts: your symptoms.
 
Also please don't fill this time with work - whether it's 'work' work, DIY around the house, whatever. You need to stop for these 2 weeks. I'm one to talk, because my dumbass brain interpreted rest as 'I need to do yoga 3x a week and walk 2 hours a day and do body weight training oh and I need to book nail and hair appointments because that's self care!'. I honestly had a 'self care list' of 38 (THIRTY EIGHT) items I would do several times a week. Talk about a type A personality eh? Well, that caused me to be exhausted after a few weeks, meaning I was right back on square one.

Wake up when your body wants to, eat and drink soberly, take a walk. That's your to do list now.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #108 on: August 23, 2019, 10:55:51 AM »
A quote that spoke to me this weekend that I shared with friends.

Be the kind of woman who makes other women want to up their game feel worthy and valid regardless of how their game is going
Totally unrelated to your quote, but it did make me think of this.

I found a small psychological tool to be extremely useful in my transition away from achievement-junkie to responsible-human.

I stopped referring to myself in any kind of existential descriptive terms. For example, I used to always say:
I am an extremely outcome-oriented person
I am always on time
I am highly motivated
I am a dedicated team member

It was awkward at first, but I started using a lot of distancing language between me and the descriptors I use to explain my behaviour, because that's what it is, it's behaviour, it's not actually who I am, it's how I choose to behave. So I switched it to:
I prioritize outcomes
Being on time is usually very important to me
I find it easy to find motivation
I can provide a lot of dedication to the team

It reframes that all of the above are choices I make at work and in life. When I used to describe them as *who I was*, it out this enormous internal pressure on me to live up to that expectation. Now that I frame it as a choice, it all becomes a lot more optional.

If a behaviour is coded as an optional choice, then it feels totally normal to choose not to do it when a reasonable mitigating factor comes up, like poor health. Because it's not *who* I am, I don't feel bad when I can't follow through on a choice that may only be a rational choice when I'm healthy.

Spend some time observing the labels you apply to yourself, and it will give you an enormous amount of insight into the internal pressures you put on yourself.
Changing the language won't solve the problem, but it will help to not let those pressures be so automatically running in the background. Just recognizing them is a hugely productive first step.

Both @mm1970's quote and @Malkynn's comment gave me food for thought, thanks!
It made me think of this TED Talk I watched, where he explained we usually have one truth we believe in about ourselves. That was formed in childhood (and more psychology stuff, tried but I can't find the link so won't misquote the guy). And a "truth" that probably is incorrect. And he invites us to think about what we take as incontestable truth and challenge it.

I have the posts-its I wrote down at the time, won't burden you with the negative stuff I hold as true descriptive of myself, but here are the positives:
- I'm kind, sweet, loyal and resourceful.
- I'm actually quite lovely.
- Just being myself is enough.

@brunetteUK, I think you are making great progress, having received your (first) sick leave. Don't even consider working during that period. Now also try to have some fewer obligations during the weekend and just relax, sleep out, etc.

After reading this whole thread, I see that I am also very much a type A person, always taking responsibility, filling up my to do lists, never had more than 1-3 sick days a year and many years 0, etc.

Last year, after having a lot of stress both at work and at home, I got symptoms of memory loss. Like not remembering a word in every single sentence I wanted to speak or write. Not remembering how to spell words in English. And not being able to remember series of numbers and characters, like call signs of a flight. Ik could remember 4 to 5, while 8 is supposed to be standard. And not to forget high blood pressure that went through the roof.

Since then I have done a couple of things: I quit being a board member of our private road. I started working 80% and have indeed not worked more than my assigned hours. Prioritized walking to work twice a week. Done an 8 week online meditation course and followed in to the point (Type-A), meditating and performing mindful yoga on alternate days. I have also prioritized doing my hobby that requires me to make lots of trips in the forest. That all went quite well. But I still have the constant feeling that there are not enough hours in a week to do all the things I would like to do. I would also like to go on more camping trips, but just thinking about the energy it will take to pack the gear and plan where to go is depressing me a bit.

Now after the summer vacation things are sliding a bit. We had an important software test with customers present and I need to be at work before them, therefore I didn't have time to walk to work a single time this week. As I am now finished with the meditation program, I don't HAVE to do it anymore, and therefore I haven't. Recently I tried again, but couldn't concentrate on my breathing at all. I should try this again more seriously.

The other thing is that we will FIRE in half a year and this requires selling our clown house. Selling a house is a big stressor. As it makes a huge financial impact for us how much we will get for the house, we are putting in a lot of effort in preparing it for sales. We have painted the outside walls, adjusted doors that didn't open smoothly, removed most of the wild chaos from the garden (after 4 weeks of summer vacation), DH plastered a basement wall. I will this weekend paint the wall. We also still have an issue going on with the previous owner of the house and this needs to be resolved before we sell. This is a stressful element.

We still have a whole list of improvements to do in the next weeks. Despite that, DH suggested we booked a week's vacation to Greece, just to relax a bit. I hope I will be able to relax during that week. But the sales schedule looks realistic. Yes, we should work hard, but it looks doable, both working 80%. We also have some additional extra hours/days to take off if necessary. Since I have planned to give my notice at the end of September, I can also relax a bit more at work mentally. If they are now telling me unrealistic deadlines for projects, I can silently laugh about it and just mention aloud that I think it is a bit unrealistic. I feel sorry for my co-workers and my department that I'm leaving, as they seem to value me. But for my own health I so much need this. But this week I again noticed the first symptoms of memory loss and lack of sleep. I haven't measured blood pressure, but I know it is pretty high now.

Hi @Linea_Norway ! I'm so sorry to hear about your symptom of memory loss, it must be really unsettling for you.

A colleague at a previous company I worked at gave her notice before the mandatory period on her contract. Of course it depends on the dynamics in your company, but if you can do that - or at least mentally - and still work until your planned date than it could give you more peace of mind. Also, could you not sell the house after you've finished with work? At least one less thing for you to juggle at the same time.
Also, if you can FIRE in x amount of time, it's very likely you can FIRE now. Not that you have to, just for you to think from that perspective too.

This priority business is pretty tricky. You really do have to let go of one thing to be able to do another. Squashing things together or going from one item to the next before taking a breath only works for so long.
I have a tendency to put Self-Care in the same list as Do Laundry and end up feeling all messed up if I don't do it. Maybe it's ok to self-care on the couch rather than self-care in the mountains.

You better relax on that trip to Greece!!! You eat all the courgette balls, all the spinach pie, all the aubergine and cheese backed dish, better pay a daily visit to your local fournos and eat all the heavenly bakery goods. For my sake, please have a freddo cappuccino at the beach each morning. I'm not going to pretend it is not possible to have beauty in front of you and not see because of stress/depression. But please.... it's Greece, warrants an effort.


I'm so glad you went to the doctor and that you have some room to breathe now!! Go back to the doctor in two weeks and discuss how it's been, how you're feeling/sleeping/reacting. Be HONEST with yourself and your doctor. Your first instinct will be to say "No, I'm fine, just needed some extra sleep!". You'll be thinking "I don't feel much different, still stressed. Might as well get back to work." Don't you fucking dare, I will fly to the UK and slap you. Which I shouldn't be doing because that would be too stressful. So... tell the doctor the truth, not what you think they'd like to hear. The doctor will tell you what you should be doing. Take some comfort in that; the doctor, a professional, is making the decision. You merely supply the facts: your symptoms.
 
Also please don't fill this time with work - whether it's 'work' work, DIY around the house, whatever. You need to stop for these 2 weeks. I'm one to talk, because my dumbass brain interpreted rest as 'I need to do yoga 3x a week and walk 2 hours a day and do body weight training oh and I need to book nail and hair appointments because that's self care!'. I honestly had a 'self care list' of 38 (THIRTY EIGHT) items I would do several times a week. Talk about a type A personality eh? Well, that caused me to be exhausted after a few weeks, meaning I was right back on square one.

Wake up when your body wants to, eat and drink soberly, take a walk. That's your to do list now.

I wasn't aware but I laughed so hard because that's exactly what I was thinking "2 weeks from now, I'll be good as new, enough with this burnout, exhaustion, depletion bla bla bla".

Then I cried because... my go-to mode is not reliable. I have a problem and I cannot shoot at it with my productivity laser relentlessly until I get the desired results. It's a totally different game. I want to write down a 38 items self-care list and I want that to be the answer.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #109 on: August 23, 2019, 11:06:26 AM »
Today was my first full day of sick leave and I've been taking it pretty easily. Woke up naturally, had good homemade food various when I felt naturally hungry and took my time with things.

I wanted to go for a 20 min walk. I could leave the house and turn right for gelato. Or turn left to read at a cute riverside spot.

I turned left, walked 200 meters and sat down at the first bench. "Sat down"... more like  half collapsed and sat there motionless trying to catch my breath and the strength to sit right.

Two hundred meters was the limit today. But I stayed on that bench for an hour, enjoying the pretty river, listening to my audio book and letting my legs tan. And I laughed at myself, because I really did spend quite some time wondering whether I wanted to read or to have some gelato.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #110 on: August 23, 2019, 01:09:45 PM »
Today was my first full day of sick leave and I've been taking it pretty easily. Woke up naturally, had good homemade food various when I felt naturally hungry and took my time with things.

I wanted to go for a 20 min walk. I could leave the house and turn right for gelato. Or turn left to read at a cute riverside spot.

I turned left, walked 200 meters and sat down at the first bench. "Sat down"... more like  half collapsed and sat there motionless trying to catch my breath and the strength to sit right.

Two hundred meters was the limit today. But I stayed on that bench for an hour, enjoying the pretty river, listening to my audio book and letting my legs tan. And I laughed at myself, because I really did spend quite some time wondering whether I wanted to read or to have some gelato.

Yep, that sounds about right. I used to walk a LOT. Like 10km or more was just a short walk for me. After the quakes in my city, which destroyed a good part of the city, I wasn't able to walk at all. I tried a few times because it was my form of stress relief. I didn't make it to the end of the street! It was just exhausting. It took a long time to get back up to what I was doing beforehand. Just goes to show how much energy your body is quietly expending on managing stress without you even being aware of it.

mm1970

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #111 on: August 23, 2019, 01:31:49 PM »
Today was my first full day of sick leave and I've been taking it pretty easily. Woke up naturally, had good homemade food various when I felt naturally hungry and took my time with things.

I wanted to go for a 20 min walk. I could leave the house and turn right for gelato. Or turn left to read at a cute riverside spot.

I turned left, walked 200 meters and sat down at the first bench. "Sat down"... more like  half collapsed and sat there motionless trying to catch my breath and the strength to sit right.

Two hundred meters was the limit today. But I stayed on that bench for an hour, enjoying the pretty river, listening to my audio book and letting my legs tan. And I laughed at myself, because I really did spend quite some time wondering whether I wanted to read or to have some gelato.
Ah glorious.

But I probably would have gone with both!

Linea_Norway

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #112 on: August 23, 2019, 02:31:03 PM »
Our house has a very difficult road in the winter. The broker said we should sell it before the snow comes, for that reason.
The other thing is that I want to make sure we get the required sales sum for the house, and not 100K $ less, because in that case we cannot FIRE yet. We are already taking a chance, because we are giving notice before the house is on sale. A bit scary, but the broker thinks we might get 100K$ more for the house than my conservative estimate that we need to FIRE. But, the housing market is slow now, because the mortgage interest has gone up twice this year and made buyers very carefull.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2019, 11:17:00 PM by Linea_Norway »

StarBright

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #113 on: August 23, 2019, 02:52:50 PM »
This thread was a gift that I needed today. I've been trying to push through burnout for a while (having finally acknowledged that it was burnout).  Can't really take time off, but did make an appointment with my doctor as my physical symptoms have been getting worse for a while.

Thanks everyone who keeps posting in this thread.

Nederstash

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #114 on: August 23, 2019, 02:58:15 PM »
Today was my first full day of sick leave and I've been taking it pretty easily. Woke up naturally, had good homemade food various when I felt naturally hungry and took my time with things.

I wanted to go for a 20 min walk. I could leave the house and turn right for gelato. Or turn left to read at a cute riverside spot.

I turned left, walked 200 meters and sat down at the first bench. "Sat down"... more like  half collapsed and sat there motionless trying to catch my breath and the strength to sit right.

Two hundred meters was the limit today. But I stayed on that bench for an hour, enjoying the pretty river, listening to my audio book and letting my legs tan. And I laughed at myself, because I really did spend quite some time wondering whether I wanted to read or to have some gelato.

Whether it's a hundred meters or 10k, a walk is a walk. Plus sleep and food: massive check on your to do list. Good on you for choosing nature over gelato, nature and nature sounds are exceptionally good for stressed people. Oh and great job getting some tan and some vitamin D!
 
It. Gets. Better. Just stick to sleep-eat-walk (even 200m! You listened to your body!). You're doing exactly what you need to be doing right now, anything more or less is detrimental to your recovery. You're doing awesome, and you're doing it right.

OtherJen

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #115 on: August 23, 2019, 03:05:26 PM »
Both @mm1970's quote and @Malkynn's comment gave me food for thought, thanks!
It made me think of this TED Talk I watched, where he explained we usually have one truth we believe in about ourselves. That was formed in childhood (and more psychology stuff, tried but I can't find the link so won't misquote the guy). And a "truth" that probably is incorrect. And he invites us to think about what we take as incontestable truth and challenge it.

This is fascinating. I suspect my incorrect "truth" is that I am weak and overly sensitive. I've always been short and small, and I was the only child of an often nervous, overprotective mother. I tend to run myself ragged to counteract this "truth."

Nederstash

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #116 on: August 23, 2019, 03:09:22 PM »
This thread was a gift that I needed today. I've been trying to push through burnout for a while (having finally acknowledged that it was burnout).  Can't really take time off, but did make an appointment with my doctor as my physical symptoms have been getting worse for a while.

Thanks everyone who keeps posting in this thread.

Confucius say: you take time off, or time take off you.
 
Sorry, couldn't help that one. I'm happy that you're going to see a doctor and that this thread helped you! Really sucks that you can't take time off, if you feel comfortable sharing why, maybe we can be your think tank? If your work is costing you more than it's bringing you, it's literally not worth it! Every company should have a reasonable system for overworked/sick employees - or else hire actual robots.

StarBright

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #117 on: August 24, 2019, 09:03:45 AM »
This thread was a gift that I needed today. I've been trying to push through burnout for a while (having finally acknowledged that it was burnout).  Can't really take time off, but did make an appointment with my doctor as my physical symptoms have been getting worse for a while.

Thanks everyone who keeps posting in this thread.

Confucius say: you take time off, or time take off you.
 
Sorry, couldn't help that one. I'm happy that you're going to see a doctor and that this thread helped you! Really sucks that you can't take time off, if you feel comfortable sharing why, maybe we can be your think tank? If your work is costing you more than it's bringing you, it's literally not worth it! Every company should have a reasonable system for overworked/sick employees - or else hire actual robots.

Just am already out of sick time for the year and saving the rest of my vacation time for the Christmas holiday and when my children inevitably need sick time this fall and winter :)

Nederstash

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #118 on: August 28, 2019, 03:19:32 PM »
@brunetteUK how are you?

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #119 on: August 29, 2019, 01:57:32 PM »
Yep, that sounds about right. I used to walk a LOT. Like 10km or more was just a short walk for me. After the quakes in my city, which destroyed a good part of the city, I wasn't able to walk at all. I tried a few times because it was my form of stress relief. I didn't make it to the end of the street! It was just exhausting. It took a long time to get back up to what I was doing beforehand. Just goes to show how much energy your body is quietly expending on managing stress without you even being aware of it.

@AnnaGrowsAMustache - I need that print on my bedroom walls! Now that I've stopped being sucked from one activity to another and paying attention, things take so much energy!!

Yes, obvs that walking and exercising and working take energy. But calming yourself down not to punch your manager also takes energy. Navigating your relationship with your significant other takes energy. Hanging out the laundry takes energy.

There is research showing that poorer people have more difficulty handling money. It shows that it is not only the small amount of money that it is a problem. A huge problem is that they need to make so many money related decisions all the time. So they need to spend energy on making the decision but also on managing the emotional side of money spending choices. This on top of not so great work environment and probably lack of support for childcare, good transport and so on.

Also, there is the unpaid emotional and organisational labour that women have been doing for donkeys years in their households. "You just need to tell me and I'll do it".

And yet, I did not connect the dots that each new activity is a decision. So the decision and the activity itself will both take effort. Right now I'm pairing down my efforts and activities and I'm happy like that. The next sentence sounds so cliche, sorry! Now that I'm giving a big f*ck off to all the "shoulds" I have been following, now that I'm accepting that I have what I have and have no more ambitions to get anything else, now I can see more clearly what is important to me.

My best friend has a 5 year old who is obvs totally adorable. But I don't make seeing him and being present in his life a priority. Why? It is something I want. But of course, the voice in my head said "You should be out and about, hot and single in London, going on yummy dates. Not spending your weekends involved in someone else's child, you should be chasing a husband so you can have your own child. Only losers look after other people's children." Also, I kept feeling sorry for myself because it's so hard to go and see my friends, because they have cars and I need to take a bus a two trains and sad song continues. Ahn?! Hello?! Driving license? Apps where you can rent a car by the hour/day?! Uber?!

My wellbeing is another one. I feel so sorry for myself because everything is so expensive in London, poor, poor me. Only the ladies with rich husbands can really enjoy life. (If you notice a pattern, please be kind, I noticed it too) But when I look at the trade offs, I'm very, very happy to pay for a massage, twice a month! On the other hand, I really like manicures but I don't like the time trade off, so no. I love swimming! There is a gym with swimming pool in front of my work. Yes, it's is money going out. But I've had enough of the poor, poor me. It's missing the entire point to look at spendypants and think "only those spending money blindly could make those choices, I'm money savvy so I endure, no other options".

I will be an adult, I will make the choices. I have enough money for trial and error. I have lived my "should" life for various years now. Now I've stopped brushing my hair and I'm questioning everything.
Ah glorious.

But I probably would have gone with both!
@mm1970 that gelato is seriously good! They better have my flavour next time.

Our house has a very difficult road in the winter. The broker said we should sell it before the snow comes, for that reason.
The other thing is that I want to make sure we get the required sales sum for the house, and not 100K $ less, because in that case we cannot FIRE yet. We are already taking a chance, because we are giving notice before the house is on sale. A bit scary, but the broker thinks we might get 100K$ more for the house than my conservative estimate that we need to FIRE. But, the housing market is slow now, because the mortgage interest has gone up twice this year and made buyers very carefull.

Good luck with the house sell @Linea_Norway , it's never that easy, right? Fingers crossed for you.

This thread was a gift that I needed today. I've been trying to push through burnout for a while (having finally acknowledged that it was burnout).  Can't really take time off, but did make an appointment with my doctor as my physical symptoms have been getting worse for a while.

Thanks everyone who keeps posting in this thread.
@StarBright I understand there is a lot to juggle, maybe you can make a slower turnaround. All I can say is that burnout/exhaustion does not give you warning. Take what you are feeling seriously. Whatever warning it gives, you'll probably ignore it. Or like me, I tried, I went to the doctors, tried to handle my workload and so on, but the bad signs wer bearable, so I kept going.
One weekend I wake up complaining of stomach discomfort, two weeks later I'm weeping of pain and desperation.
We are here if you need us!

@OtherJen - tell yourself a new, kind, more true story, you deserve it!


Whether it's a hundred meters or 10k, a walk is a walk. Plus sleep and food: massive check on your to do list. Good on you for choosing nature over gelato, nature and nature sounds are exceptionally good for stressed people. Oh and great job getting some tan and some vitamin D!
 
It. Gets. Better. Just stick to sleep-eat-walk (even 200m! You listened to your body!). You're doing exactly what you need to be doing right now, anything more or less is detrimental to your recovery. You're doing awesome, and you're doing it right.
[/quote]

Cue the tears.

I keep telling myself "your doctor gave you two weeks off, that is the minimum it will take for you to feel a bit better".
It is hard. I still have no energy. I keep feeling just as bad. My stomach doesn't improve. Mentally I'm feeling a bit more rested, I've made peace with the fact that a chapter of my life has closed abruptly and without my prior planning.

But the body? Today's walk was putting the rubbish out and I had to take a rest when I came back inside. I feel sick because I'm hungry then I eat, then I feel sick because I've eaten.

Yesterday I had the magic idea of meeting up with a friend. Was. Not. Prepared. My friend gave birth a month ago, so she is taking it easy too. And yet, it was all too much, taking public transport, walking around, talking, listening, coming back home. Today I had one of my worst days, now I realized it's probably because of doing too much yesterday.

How are you doing @Nederstash ?

Thanks for all the kind words!

former player

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #120 on: August 29, 2019, 03:04:36 PM »

I keep telling myself "your doctor gave you two weeks off, that is the minimum it will take for you to feel a bit better".


I'm glad you are still posting.  I hope two weeks will be long enough for you to feel a bit better. 

Two weeks seems to be the default period for a fit note: your GP probably gave you this pretty automatically and so I don't think the two weeks implies anything about how much better you will be at the end of it.

When you feel up to it, I would suggest scheduling an appointment with your GP for nearer the end of your two weeks so that you can see whether or not you are fit to go back to work and if not how long the next fit note should be for - the guidance to GPs says that your next fit note can be for up to 3 months.  If you need that time I hope you will take it.  The employment protections around sick leave in the UK are so much better than they are in the USA where many of the posters on this forum are based.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #121 on: August 29, 2019, 08:59:26 PM »
OP, if you can handle hanging out with a kid (and sometimes the level of noise is too much), they're pretty good for perspective and stress relief (note that I'm talking about hanging with OTHER PEOPLE'S kids here. Your own ones are not the same!). Little kids are all in on games and activities. They know how to focus on one thing exclusively. They don't make decisions at all, if they can help it. And they don't give a flying F about anyone else's issues.

Linea_Norway

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #122 on: August 29, 2019, 11:56:55 PM »
OP, about being single and needing to find a hudband...
i think that when you are in a super stressed situation, that you are not at your most attractive. At least, that is the feedback I get at home. So I would suggest that you focus on getting better and do only positive things. Visit the freind with baby if you feel up to it. Or ask her to visit you for an hour? Forget to "hunt" for a relationship.
If you after some time feel much better and have more energy, and then go to places where you can meet new people, then it might just happen.

Your analysiss above sounds like you have understand your situation very well. I also think that you rather need some months with sickleave, rather than just the 2 weeks. If you want to strangle your boss from time to time, it is maybe time to look for another job when you have energy for that. If that would remove a major stressor for you, that might be worth it.

Nederstash

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #123 on: September 02, 2019, 10:58:38 AM »

How are you doing @Nederstash ?

Thanks for all the kind words!

To be honest, I'm doing pretty shitty. I'd been on the up for a bit, but down again since last week. I'm exhausted and any added pressure (like visiting a doctor or doing sports) will have me vomiting or laid up with migraines. I've been out for nearly 5 damn months, I should be doing better... but everyone tells me this is to be expected and just take it easy.

I do have concert tickets to Muse next week, hope I'll be on the up by then!

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #124 on: September 02, 2019, 08:30:58 PM »

How are you doing @Nederstash ?

Thanks for all the kind words!

To be honest, I'm doing pretty shitty. I'd been on the up for a bit, but down again since last week. I'm exhausted and any added pressure (like visiting a doctor or doing sports) will have me vomiting or laid up with migraines. I've been out for nearly 5 damn months, I should be doing better... but everyone tells me this is to be expected and just take it easy.

I do have concert tickets to Muse next week, hope I'll be on the up by then!

When you've been under stress for a long time, there are actual changes to your body's biochemistry. There's a kiwi woman who writes about this a lot - Dr Libby (actual medical doctor, not just a quack). Her books are excellent at explaining what is going on in your body and how to start to alter that using exercise and diet. She's all about the science, not junk science, of nutrition and how that impacts people's lives. I would recommend her book Rushing Women's Syndrome. You can probably find it on Fishpond.

WalkaboutStache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #125 on: September 02, 2019, 08:52:42 PM »
Hi @brunetteUK

It sounds like you did a lot of the things you should do.  Get the right degree, then get the right job (probably in the right kind of company), make the right amount of money and so on.  The next tick is the relationship and you stopped yourself at the edge of that rabbit hole - just in time.

From what I understand, it is actually common for people who "do well" to follow "the path:"  Good school, good grades, good job, good pay, good neighborhood... then the realization that this isn't really it for them.  Usually, by that time they don't know what they want to do with their life because they were advancing so furiously that they have no idea what makes them happy anymore.

This is how it was for me, and I don't think I am alone.  In fact, I hear echoes of what I think and feel in what you say. Everyone's way out of that hole will be different - reading about yours has helped me confirm that I was headed into the same severe burnout.  I am still burnt out, but just wanted to ping you to say that there is a way out.  Hang in there.

Or don't hang in there - there is nothing wrong in telling your dream job to burn in hell.  It may not even be your own dream anyway, so if you realize you are thinking with someone else's mind you don't have to suffer through the expectations that are not yours either.

Good luck!


Nederstash

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #126 on: September 04, 2019, 07:41:25 AM »

How are you doing @Nederstash ?

Thanks for all the kind words!

To be honest, I'm doing pretty shitty. I'd been on the up for a bit, but down again since last week. I'm exhausted and any added pressure (like visiting a doctor or doing sports) will have me vomiting or laid up with migraines. I've been out for nearly 5 damn months, I should be doing better... but everyone tells me this is to be expected and just take it easy.

I do have concert tickets to Muse next week, hope I'll be on the up by then!

When you've been under stress for a long time, there are actual changes to your body's biochemistry. There's a kiwi woman who writes about this a lot - Dr Libby (actual medical doctor, not just a quack). Her books are excellent at explaining what is going on in your body and how to start to alter that using exercise and diet. She's all about the science, not junk science, of nutrition and how that impacts people's lives. I would recommend her book Rushing Women's Syndrome. You can probably find it on Fishpond.

Thanks for the recommendation! I'll definitely check it out!

KentBent

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #127 on: September 04, 2019, 08:33:48 AM »
The symptoms you've mentioned sound more like stress symptoms. From my own experience, I can say that you need some time to forget. As we all know  ďTime heals all wounds.Ē Some can say that time is not the healer, but from my own experience, I can say it is.

However, it is not about time only, you too should do some steps to relieve this condition. What workes for me when I'm stressed, is good rest and sleep, socialization, a vacation if possible, if not, then other types of entertainment.

For some women, shopping works amazingly. A new look or a new hair cut will bring you confidence that plays a great role in the self-perception.

mckaylabaloney

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #128 on: September 04, 2019, 01:55:09 PM »
Posting to follow because whew does a lot of this thread resonate with me.

Malkynn

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #129 on: September 04, 2019, 02:02:25 PM »
The symptoms you've mentioned sound more like stress symptoms. From my own experience, I can say that you need some time to forget. As we all know  ďTime heals all wounds.Ē Some can say that time is not the healer, but from my own experience, I can say it is.

However, it is not about time only, you too should do some steps to relieve this condition. What workes for me when I'm stressed, is good rest and sleep, socialization, a vacation if possible, if not, then other types of entertainment.

For some women, shopping works amazingly. A new look or a new hair cut will bring you confidence that plays a great role in the self-perception.

Beyond a certain threshold, time doesn't heal shit. Without adequate psychological medical attention, time can actually just dig this shit further deep down into someone's psyche and grow roots.

Some types of psychological injury can become psychological cancer if left untreated.

OtherJen

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #130 on: September 04, 2019, 08:18:34 PM »
The symptoms you've mentioned sound more like stress symptoms. From my own experience, I can say that you need some time to forget. As we all know  ďTime heals all wounds.Ē Some can say that time is not the healer, but from my own experience, I can say it is.

However, it is not about time only, you too should do some steps to relieve this condition. What workes for me when I'm stressed, is good rest and sleep, socialization, a vacation if possible, if not, then other types of entertainment.

For some women, shopping works amazingly. A new look or a new hair cut will bring you confidence that plays a great role in the self-perception.

Shopping. Really. THATíS your brilliant suggestion, sir?

Iím guessing you havenít actually ever dealt with burnout. One doesnít need to comment on absolutely everything. Also, this is the Mr. Money Mustache forum.

Linea_Norway

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #131 on: September 05, 2019, 01:46:19 AM »
For some women, shopping works amazingly. A new look or a new hair cut will bring you confidence that plays a great role in the self-perception.

Shopping. Really. THATíS your brilliant suggestion, sir?

Iím guessing you havenít actually ever dealt with burnout. One doesnít need to comment on absolutely everything. Also, this is the Mr. Money Mustache forum.

Indeed, I think that shopping clothes is an attempt to make you happy, which might work for about 5 minutes. Pretty soon after, it is back to status quo, maybe even with added stress of having spent too much money.
Organizing a clothes swap with friends might be a good idea to get some different garments.

But I do agree on that a fresh haircut sometimes can be helpful, if your current hair gives you stress.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #132 on: September 05, 2019, 05:08:42 AM »
The symptoms you've mentioned sound more like stress symptoms. From my own experience, I can say that you need some time to forget. As we all know  ďTime heals all wounds.Ē Some can say that time is not the healer, but from my own experience, I can say it is.

However, it is not about time only, you too should do some steps to relieve this condition. What workes for me when I'm stressed, is good rest and sleep, socialization, a vacation if possible, if not, then other types of entertainment.

For some women, shopping works amazingly. A new look or a new hair cut will bring you confidence that plays a great role in the self-perception.

Shopping. Really. THATíS your brilliant suggestion, sir?

Iím guessing you havenít actually ever dealt with burnout. One doesnít need to comment on absolutely everything. Also, this is the Mr. Money Mustache forum.

Don't be so judgie. A revamp and some pampering would absolutely work for someone somewhere, and if it works then it's totally legit. I'm a person who has done something drastic to her hair at almost every massive stress point in my life, and I've felt better for it. Kind of like I've shed the previous person and that person's emotions and I'm ready to go forward. Frankly, I couldn't give a flying fuck about spending money if it's on something that helps my mental wellbeing, MMM or not.

OtherJen

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #133 on: September 05, 2019, 09:29:10 AM »
The symptoms you've mentioned sound more like stress symptoms. From my own experience, I can say that you need some time to forget. As we all know  ďTime heals all wounds.Ē Some can say that time is not the healer, but from my own experience, I can say it is.

However, it is not about time only, you too should do some steps to relieve this condition. What workes for me when I'm stressed, is good rest and sleep, socialization, a vacation if possible, if not, then other types of entertainment.

For some women, shopping works amazingly. A new look or a new hair cut will bring you confidence that plays a great role in the self-perception.

I apologize. Itís been a very difficult few weeks, and I initially read the post as dismissive of the OPís situation.

Shopping. Really. THATíS your brilliant suggestion, sir?

Iím guessing you havenít actually ever dealt with burnout. One doesnít need to comment on absolutely everything. Also, this is the Mr. Money Mustache forum.

Don't be so judgie. A revamp and some pampering would absolutely work for someone somewhere, and if it works then it's totally legit. I'm a person who has done something drastic to her hair at almost every massive stress point in my life, and I've felt better for it. Kind of like I've shed the previous person and that person's emotions and I'm ready to go forward. Frankly, I couldn't give a flying fuck about spending money if it's on something that helps my mental wellbeing, MMM or not.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #134 on: September 05, 2019, 07:08:18 PM »
The symptoms you've mentioned sound more like stress symptoms. From my own experience, I can say that you need some time to forget. As we all know  ďTime heals all wounds.Ē Some can say that time is not the healer, but from my own experience, I can say it is.

However, it is not about time only, you too should do some steps to relieve this condition. What workes for me when I'm stressed, is good rest and sleep, socialization, a vacation if possible, if not, then other types of entertainment.

For some women, shopping works amazingly. A new look or a new hair cut will bring you confidence that plays a great role in the self-perception.

I apologize. Itís been a very difficult few weeks, and I initially read the post as dismissive of the OPís situation.

Shopping. Really. THATíS your brilliant suggestion, sir?

Iím guessing you havenít actually ever dealt with burnout. One doesnít need to comment on absolutely everything. Also, this is the Mr. Money Mustache forum.

Don't be so judgie. A revamp and some pampering would absolutely work for someone somewhere, and if it works then it's totally legit. I'm a person who has done something drastic to her hair at almost every massive stress point in my life, and I've felt better for it. Kind of like I've shed the previous person and that person's emotions and I'm ready to go forward. Frankly, I couldn't give a flying fuck about spending money if it's on something that helps my mental wellbeing, MMM or not.

No worries. Look after yourself. Difficult few weeks are never fun.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #135 on: September 06, 2019, 06:22:03 AM »
I have gone back to the GP and she gave me another 4 weeks off. Thank you @former player !

OP, if you can handle hanging out with a kid (and sometimes the level of noise is too much), they're pretty good for perspective and stress relief (note that I'm talking about hanging with OTHER PEOPLE'S kids here. Your own ones are not the same!). Little kids are all in on games and activities. They know how to focus on one thing exclusively. They don't make decisions at all, if they can help it. And they don't give a flying F about anyone else's issues.

I spent quiet some time last weekend with me friend's son, he's is 5 and adorable. He also doesn't care about most things in my life, he just loves Auntie Brunette and couldn't wait to see me. <3 <3 <3

I spend most of Tuesday with my friend and her six week old baby (he's a quiet, chilled baby). I must say holding a soft warm bundle of a baby is pretty heart warming. I refrain from spending more time with them because the baby demands non-stop care and the mother is obcessed with new mother things. While perfectly normal, it's quite tiring after a while for me.

OP, about being single and needing to find a hudband...
i think that when you are in a super stressed situation, that you are not at your most attractive. At least, that is the feedback I get at home. So I would suggest that you focus on getting better and do only positive things. Visit the freind with baby if you feel up to it. Or ask her to visit you for an hour? Forget to "hunt" for a relationship.
If you after some time feel much better and have more energy, and then go to places where you can meet new people, then it might just happen.

Your analysiss above sounds like you have understand your situation very well. I also think that you rather need some months with sickleave, rather than just the 2 weeks. If you want to strangle your boss from time to time, it is maybe time to look for another job when you have energy for that. If that would remove a major stressor for you, that might be worth it.

Ah...the relationship world! I totally agree with you that I'm now it's not the optimal time. I put the brakes on dating since the burnout started. I still have feelings for the gentleman that broke things off recently but no freaking chance. He won't but if he came around with the perfect speech I would still say No, Not Now, this brunette woman needs to get her house sorted.
Captain Obvious conclusion but I've been reading 7 Habits and the author talks about missions statements and what we put at the centre/core of our lifes. I knew I did not have an inner sense of direction. But my eyes bulged out as I noticed I basically spent the past decade jumping from having Family as a centre (mom's approval and directions), to Spouse as a anchor and person to rotate around. And when both did not deliver the desired sense of being grounded, I put Work at the core. And everyone knows Work doesn't love you back :)


How are you doing @Nederstash ?

Thanks for all the kind words!

To be honest, I'm doing pretty shitty. I'd been on the up for a bit, but down again since last week. I'm exhausted and any added pressure (like visiting a doctor or doing sports) will have me vomiting or laid up with migraines. I've been out for nearly 5 damn months, I should be doing better... but everyone tells me this is to be expected and just take it easy.

I do have concert tickets to Muse next week, hope I'll be on the up by then!

When you've been under stress for a long time, there are actual changes to your body's biochemistry. There's a kiwi woman who writes about this a lot - Dr Libby (actual medical doctor, not just a quack). Her books are excellent at explaining what is going on in your body and how to start to alter that using exercise and diet. She's all about the science, not junk science, of nutrition and how that impacts people's lives. I would recommend her book Rushing Women's Syndrome. You can probably find it on Fishpond.

Thanks for the recommendation! I'll definitely check it out!

Thank you for the recommendation, I'll have a read too! @Nedestash, I'm sending you many virtual hugs, be kind and patient to yourself, hope the Muse concert keep your spirits high.

Hi @brunetteUK

It sounds like you did a lot of the things you should do.  Get the right degree, then get the right job (probably in the right kind of company), make the right amount of money and so on.  The next tick is the relationship and you stopped yourself at the edge of that rabbit hole - just in time.

From what I understand, it is actually common for people who "do well" to follow "the path:"  Good school, good grades, good job, good pay, good neighborhood... then the realization that this isn't really it for them.  Usually, by that time they don't know what they want to do with their life because they were advancing so furiously that they have no idea what makes them happy anymore.

This is how it was for me, and I don't think I am alone.  In fact, I hear echoes of what I think and feel in what you say. Everyone's way out of that hole will be different - reading about yours has helped me confirm that I was headed into the same severe burnout.  I am still burnt out, but just wanted to ping you to say that there is a way out.  Hang in there.

Or don't hang in there - there is nothing wrong in telling your dream job to burn in hell.  It may not even be your own dream anyway, so if you realize you are thinking with someone else's mind you don't have to suffer through the expectations that are not yours either.

Good luck!


You know what is ironic @WalkaboutStache ? That the choices I've made are pretty good fit for me. It is the guidance and rationale behind them that are made of sand.
There is a difference between staying late because you want your coworker to look bad and staying late because you genuinely care about tomorrow's presentation and the positive impact on the business. The act is the same, but one has a good principle guiding it and will make you satisfied with your decision while the other is merely masking your misery.

So now I'm working out what is my dream, what are my priorities, who is the person I want to be. It is hard, uncomfortable work.
I've done some thinking and writing on it already and I can already see it guiding some of my decisions. As I've mentioned before, I'm struggling with heartbreak. While the only thing you can do about feelings is to feel the damn feelings, it is very easy to feel they are in control, that I am at the mercy of my feelings and the actions of the other person. So I've used my guiding principles, my little mission statement. When I ask myself What am I going to doooo? then I can try and apply those principles to the situation at hand. All of a sudden, I'm still heartbroken with all that sadness and pain but I am at peace, I feel I'm doing this because of a value that's important to me. That is so calming.

How is your burnout recovery been going so far? A few of us needs tips and comiserations around here ;)

The symptoms you've mentioned sound more like stress symptoms. From my own experience, I can say that you need some time to forget. As we all know  ďTime heals all wounds.Ē Some can say that time is not the healer, but from my own experience, I can say it is.

However, it is not about time only, you too should do some steps to relieve this condition. What workes for me when I'm stressed, is good rest and sleep, socialization, a vacation if possible, if not, then other types of entertainment.

For some women, shopping works amazingly. A new look or a new hair cut will bring you confidence that plays a great role in the self-perception.

Hi @KentBent ! I need time, that's for sure. But productive, healing time. Time to rest so then I can take all the problems from the pile at the back of the cupboard, I can unearth all the traumas and Marie Kondo all the pain and assumptions that I've put myself through in the past two decades.

@Malkynn , you are very correct in that the more time you give certain problems, the more you think that is part of who you are and the more they become a foundation of your next problem.

@AnnaGrowsAMustache @Linea_Norway I have been doing a bit of both, deep thinking and re-evalutating for a while, then buying new airtigh containers for the kitchen. I must say I like the self care aspect of a new haircut, of stepping away from my scarcity mentality and buying a hoodie just because.

@OtherJen - How are things? Any luck with the difficult weeks? Virtual hugs for you too!

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #136 on: September 06, 2019, 06:57:26 AM »
I didn't get to burnout in a day or a month so I try to tell myself to give it time. But it's so hard to keep perspective. One advice from my therapist was to walk 8 thousands steps everyday, no more, no less. Read and concentrate for 5 minutes  three times a day, no more, no less. Eat regularly. This is so my bad days and good days can look alike. So I can make a little effort on my bad days and save energy on my good ones.

Isn't she clever? Because that's exactly how it goes. I have a good day and off my brain goes "I'm super poweful, I'm unstoppable, I can take over the world!". EASY TIGER, EASY. Then I have a bad day - because I've overdone it on my previous good day - and I feel I will never, ever, in a million years, feel good again.
And why do I need to get better? What is so wrong with not being productive?

In the past few days, guess who came back? The depression came back! In a sense, I think I'm only burning out and crumbling down now because I've learned to deal with my depression. I don't think I would have been able to handle both at the same time a few years ago. I have come to accept that I'm susceptible to depressive symptoms. I have also learned that I have the tools to manage them, that they are also a little alarm bell when things are off balance.

On a side note, I had to laugh at myself for what I put my poor friends through.
Brunette: "I have burnout, I'm so tired I can't do anything"
Friends: "Sounds like depression!"
B: "No, no, it's very different, during depression I don't want to do anything but I can do things, during burnout I can't do anything but I want to do things."
F: *very puzzled* ooooo-kay.

The tummy feels a little bit better. Although everything tastes the same. I have been sleeping all night.

Malkynn

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #137 on: September 06, 2019, 07:43:39 AM »

Isn't she clever? Because that's exactly how it goes. I have a good day and off my brain goes "I'm super poweful, I'm unstoppable, I can take over the world!". EASY TIGER, EASY. Then I have a bad day - because I've overdone it on my previous good day - and I feel I will never, ever, in a million years, feel good again.
And why do I need to get better? What is so wrong with not being productive?

There's a very powerful and fundamental human bias: the belief that the way we feel right now is the way we have always felt and the way we will always feel.

When you have an amazing day, it's actually really hard to relate to the you that had the recent miserable day and it's hard to fathom that you could ever be that down, and when you are having a miserable day, it's very hard to feel like you've ever actually felt okay or like you ever will again.

It's a funny little trick the mind plays, and it can be dangerous when you are in an unhealthy mental state because the decisions we make are based on how we feel in the moment, and if we can't reasonably understand what future moments might feel like, we can't make responsible decisions.

This is where the scripts come in.
Oy, the scripts.
These are the overarching narratives we've crafted in order to keep some consistency in our behaviour.

"I'm the kind of worker who always is willing to stay late to get the job done" will drive you to stay late regardless of what your state is. The scripts are subconscious tools you develop in order to thrive, they're very strong in high achievers.

So, we have two competing driving forces: our constantly changing bias that our current state is a stable reality and the unchanging scripts that we have programmed ourselves to believe.

Cool, these two driving forces do a pretty decent job of offsetting each other...unless you are mentally unhealthy, in which case, both are working against you.
...well fuck.

That's why it's so smart that your therapist is recommending consistency in your routine and energy output. It bypasses the script, and levels out the experience between the high and low days. Also, because the behaviour is the same, you will have a metric against which you can objectively observe how different the experience is being up vs being down. 

When you are in the trenches, you can't afford the down days, so you learn to script your way out of them. That's a classic survival mode tool, it's the super power that lets you achieve beyond your actual capacity.

The problem is that the down periods are normal, and not at all dangerous, and need to be felt fully in order to move through them and emotionally and psychically thrive.

I remember the utter shock at realizing that I didn't need to be afraid of feeling miserable. That there was nothing wrong with me if I had a bad day where everything felt like shit and where I didn't want to get anything done.

It was glorious to eventually, slowly realize that as long as I am mentally healthy, those days are harmless and will pass on their own. There's nothing to fix, no discipline needed to be deployed, and urgency to change life to avoid these days. Some moments are just unpleasant, and a natural part of how the brain processes existence.

In survival mode, you can't do that because you're system is in life-or-death mode. Everything is a problem that needs to be solved, a drop in performance is an indicator that the system is weak and failing, and cracks in the armour are terrifying, so those down moments feel convincingly like signs of impending doom.

"OMG I can't even perform at 20% today, I am totally fucked, what if I never get back to being able to give the 110% that I need to in order to succeed?"

On the flip side, those strong days are what convince you that you should always be able to give 110% and the script you write for yourself is that because you can do it today, anything less is a failure.

There are two possible outcomes for people who set unrealistic scripts
1: they fail to meet their own expectations feel defeated, and develop a sense of learned helplessness and tend to flounder
2: they unfortunately find resources to keep meeting those unrealistic expectations until they are so depleted they burnout

Your challenge now is to get to know yourself, who you really are beneath the scripts and the biases. And yes, getting to know someone takes a LOOOONG time, especially when that person is as closed off and hidden as you are.

It's only your script that's telling you that you should solve this problem quickly, and your bias that tells you that when you are having a good day that you've done it, you've solved the problem, so it's time to move on.

StarBright

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #138 on: September 06, 2019, 08:24:41 AM »
This thread is really amazing. I have never heard the advice about doing the same thing every single day (ie 800 steps) when bouncing back. That is really neat and I'm going to write it down so that I can reference it at some point.

brunetteUK - thank you so much for continuing to update about your experience. I think you are helping out a lot of people on this forum!
« Last Edit: September 06, 2019, 09:06:42 PM by StarBright »

Life in Balance

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #139 on: September 06, 2019, 05:54:50 PM »
@brunetteUK, thanks so much for starting this thread and updating it so regularly.  Also thanks to the other posters for their contributions.  Because of this and a similar thread started by @Imma, I decided to leave my job at the end of the year (1-2 years earlier than I was planning).  The health effects of long-term stress and burnout are just dangerous, but I was in denial, I think, before reading all these experiences at the forum.  Seeing my own symptoms described over and over by others made them more valid, I guess.

Linea_Norway

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #140 on: September 06, 2019, 11:51:14 PM »
@brunetteUK, thanks so much for starting this thread and updating it so regularly.  Also thanks to the other posters for their contributions.  Because of this and a similar thread started by @Imma, I decided to leave my job at the end of the year (1-2 years earlier than I was planning).  The health effects of long-term stress and burnout are just dangerous, but I was in denial, I think, before reading all these experiences at the forum.  Seeing my own symptoms described over and over by others made them more valid, I guess.

Very smart to do this.

And if it financially doesn't work out completely, you can always do some lower stress work to provide extra income.

Onnagodalavida

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #141 on: September 07, 2019, 07:37:52 AM »
What worked for me is to travel alone. I went to Asia, where it's fairly cheap to get hotels, etc. Camping is another alternative; Europe has an excellent series of trails for hiking or biking with affordable camp areas along the routes, or you can do what I do, which is stealth camp with a hammock.

Traveling alone is psychologically difficult at first, due to loneliness. It does, though, clear your head, and give you a chance to gain perspective. I found myself seeing stuff I was doing, like perfectionism, that I had had no awareness of before. I slept well. I eventually found a way to do what a fellow traveler told me I needed to do to overcome the loneliness: learn how to be a friend to myself and create a good time on my own.

Good luck.

Life in Balance

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #142 on: September 07, 2019, 07:54:03 AM »
@brunetteUK, thanks so much for starting this thread and updating it so regularly.  Also thanks to the other posters for their contributions.  Because of this and a similar thread started by @Imma, I decided to leave my job at the end of the year (1-2 years earlier than I was planning).  The health effects of long-term stress and burnout are just dangerous, but I was in denial, I think, before reading all these experiences at the forum.  Seeing my own symptoms described over and over by others made them more valid, I guess.

Very smart to do this.

And if it financially doesn't work out completely, you can always do some lower stress work to provide extra income.

Thanks, @Linea_Norway, I will most likely end up doing some PT work in the future (after I recover for a couple of years).  I am hopeful that whatever that work is will align with my values and make a difference.  And I may end up being okay financially and just volunteering.  I'm just glad to have made the decision.  Waffling back and forth was very stressful.

afterthedark

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #143 on: September 08, 2019, 06:51:07 AM »
For those that are trying to be consistent with the amount of exercise etc that they do every day. One thing to bare in mind if fluctuating hormones may be a consideration, is that hormones can have a really marked effect on energy levels, ie you can go from the most energy you have at the moment, to the lowest energy level you have, within hours sometimes. This can add an extra layer of complexity if you are trying to work out how much you can do. If it might be a consideration it could be worth tracking things for a few months.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #144 on: September 10, 2019, 10:46:15 AM »
Hello!

Some updates!

I've continued to rest and think about my priorities. One of my guiding values nowadays is to Be Responsible. In the sense that I'm the one with all the controls of my life, I'm the one making decisions so I can bloody well go ahead and take them (despite my previous expections, other people advice or what is just normally accepted).

I gave up on a few things that I was doing "kinda because ... that's what you do, no?" I gave up putting on nail varnish and on putting effort into cooking. Both these activities gave me constant stress, a sense of failure and took so much more energy than any benefit I got in return. I've put a lot of effort into cooking for the past decade. Still very average (just good enough so I can make fun of british cooking hehe). I'm still going to eat healthy, I'm not stupid. I'm just not going to cook meals that have a chance of turning out not good and making me sad. I've selected 14 trusted recipes and I'll roll with them. Unnecessary to say manicures take me 1h30 to do but get bad two days later.

I also let go of the idea of wearing high heels. Yes, I know, I'm sorry. I look really good in them and my long legs look even better. The leg lovers will just have to look at someone else. I'm still going to wear beautiful or professional shoes, I'm not silly. But why exactly was I wearing high heels really? I'm burned out, I don't have time for this.

I've continued to feel tired but my brain keep pulling the leash to go faster. I'm training myself to take it easy despite my mood, despite my anxiety, despite feeling 10% or 80%. Today was good practice. I had to be somewhere at 11h and after I got up, I noticed I was on "speed and efficiency mode". I wasn't looking at the breakfast, I wasn't breathing calmly, I wasn't paying attention to my stomach. I was on Mission Get Ready and Leave. So I actively calmed myself down, took a few seconds to change my mindset and went on more present.

Another thing got me thinking today. My parents' reaction has been bothering ever since I went off sick. I've reached out to various friends, close ones and a few I haven't spoken in ages, a few work colleagues, you guys on the internet and the response has been pretty much the same. Concern and support. Everyone did a bit extra than usual, I got video calls, I got house visits, peple literally put effort into making a bit of time and showing their support. My brother has been calling me most days, he has no idea how to help me but whatever, he calls and talks and listens. My parents also call, also listen. But they do so when they're not busy, when they've arrived at the resort where they're spending the weekend, after they got off the phone with the bank manager. I've asked them to come and stay with me and they have the time and money resources for it. But their response it is as if I asked them to travel to another continent because I have a period cramps. What is the point of being FIRE - which they are - and not use those resources on your only daughter in the bloody rare occasion when she needs you?

I've been overwhlemed by the acts of love from all my friends, I really have, so I haven't dwelled too much on my parents' response. But the contrast is so clear. And now I'm bummed. Maybe this is another good side effect from something so significant as burnout. It showed me how they behaved in a very clear way. It is so clear, that I don't have to wonder anymore. I just accept them as they are and interact in a way that respect my boundaries.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #145 on: September 10, 2019, 11:20:07 AM »

There's a very powerful and fundamental human bias: the belief that the way we feel right now is the way we have always felt and the way we will always feel.

When you have an amazing day, it's actually really hard to relate to the you that had the recent miserable day and it's hard to fathom that you could ever be that down, and when you are having a miserable day, it's very hard to feel like you've ever actually felt okay or like you ever will again.

It's a funny little trick the mind plays, and it can be dangerous when you are in an unhealthy mental state because the decisions we make are based on how we feel in the moment, and if we can't reasonably understand what future moments might feel like, we can't make responsible decisions.

This is where the scripts come in.
Oy, the scripts.
These are the overarching narratives we've crafted in order to keep some consistency in our behaviour.

"I'm the kind of worker who always is willing to stay late to get the job done" will drive you to stay late regardless of what your state is. The scripts are subconscious tools you develop in order to thrive, they're very strong in high achievers.

So, we have two competing driving forces: our constantly changing bias that our current state is a stable reality and the unchanging scripts that we have programmed ourselves to believe.

Cool, these two driving forces do a pretty decent job of offsetting each other...unless you are mentally unhealthy, in which case, both are working against you.
...well fuck.

That's why it's so smart that your therapist is recommending consistency in your routine and energy output. It bypasses the script, and levels out the experience between the high and low days. Also, because the behaviour is the same, you will have a metric against which you can objectively observe how different the experience is being up vs being down. 

When you are in the trenches, you can't afford the down days, so you learn to script your way out of them. That's a classic survival mode tool, it's the super power that lets you achieve beyond your actual capacity.

The problem is that the down periods are normal, and not at all dangerous, and need to be felt fully in order to move through them and emotionally and psychically thrive.

I remember the utter shock at realizing that I didn't need to be afraid of feeling miserable. That there was nothing wrong with me if I had a bad day where everything felt like shit and where I didn't want to get anything done.

It was glorious to eventually, slowly realize that as long as I am mentally healthy, those days are harmless and will pass on their own. There's nothing to fix, no discipline needed to be deployed, and urgency to change life to avoid these days. Some moments are just unpleasant, and a natural part of how the brain processes existence.

In survival mode, you can't do that because you're system is in life-or-death mode. Everything is a problem that needs to be solved, a drop in performance is an indicator that the system is weak and failing, and cracks in the armour are terrifying, so those down moments feel convincingly like signs of impending doom.

"OMG I can't even perform at 20% today, I am totally fucked, what if I never get back to being able to give the 110% that I need to in order to succeed?"

On the flip side, those strong days are what convince you that you should always be able to give 110% and the script you write for yourself is that because you can do it today, anything less is a failure.

There are two possible outcomes for people who set unrealistic scripts
1: they fail to meet their own expectations feel defeated, and develop a sense of learned helplessness and tend to flounder
2: they unfortunately find resources to keep meeting those unrealistic expectations until they are so depleted they burnout

Your challenge now is to get to know yourself, who you really are beneath the scripts and the biases. And yes, getting to know someone takes a LOOOONG time, especially when that person is as closed off and hidden as you are.

It's only your script that's telling you that you should solve this problem quickly, and your bias that tells you that when you are having a good day that you've done it, you've solved the problem, so it's time to move on.

Thank you @Malkynn , you make a very valid point, it reflects my situation very well. The part in bold made me cry in recognition.
I've dealt with depression for many years so I monitor my mental health pretty closely. It is just hard to know when I'm having normal human feelings and when I'm being unhealthly miserable. But I know the solution to this, I will have so much free time now that I'll be less productivity focused, I will be able to listen to my emotions.

This thread is really amazing. I have never heard the advice about doing the same thing every single day (ie 800 steps) when bouncing back. That is really neat and I'm going to write it down so that I can reference it at some point.

brunetteUK - thank you so much for continuing to update about your experience. I think you are helping out a lot of people on this forum!

Thank you @StarBright, I'm really happy to help! :)

@brunetteUK, thanks so much for starting this thread and updating it so regularly.  Also thanks to the other posters for their contributions.  Because of this and a similar thread started by @Imma, I decided to leave my job at the end of the year (1-2 years earlier than I was planning).  The health effects of long-term stress and burnout are just dangerous, but I was in denial, I think, before reading all these experiences at the forum.  Seeing my own symptoms described over and over by others made them more valid, I guess.

Oowwwnnn, it is so amazing to hear this @Life in Balance! Well done!!!

What worked for me is to travel alone. I went to Asia, where it's fairly cheap to get hotels, etc. Camping is another alternative; Europe has an excellent series of trails for hiking or biking with affordable camp areas along the routes, or you can do what I do, which is stealth camp with a hammock.

Traveling alone is psychologically difficult at first, due to loneliness. It does, though, clear your head, and give you a chance to gain perspective. I found myself seeing stuff I was doing, like perfectionism, that I had had no awareness of before. I slept well. I eventually found a way to do what a fellow traveler told me I needed to do to overcome the loneliness: learn how to be a friend to myself and create a good time on my own.

Good luck.

Hi @Onnagodalavida ! When I have more energy, I will consider travelling alone :)

For those that are trying to be consistent with the amount of exercise etc that they do every day. One thing to bare in mind if fluctuating hormones may be a consideration, is that hormones can have a really marked effect on energy levels, ie you can go from the most energy you have at the moment, to the lowest energy level you have, within hours sometimes. This can add an extra layer of complexity if you are trying to work out how much you can do. If it might be a consideration it could be worth tracking things for a few months.

That's very true @afterthedark. I used to think I was a robot that could do the same thing every day. Of course that's totally silly. Once I started paying attention to my ups and downs, I started adapting to them and it's much more peaceful and effective.

mm1970

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #146 on: September 10, 2019, 11:35:50 AM »
This is a great thread.  I think I might be really close to life burnout.

My husband has been traveling a lot.  This is week 3.  I have a full time job, two kids at two schools, and I'm training for a race that is on Saturday.

Well...all the things.  During the 3 weeks husband has been traveling:
- week 1, early orthodontist appt for kid 1, husband flight home canceled on Friday, didn't get home until Saturday. Emergency laundry during week.
- week 2, back to school night for kid #2, at least no travel snafus.  Another laundry day.
- week 3, back to school night for kid #1.  (This week). Another emergency laundry week (bed wetting). Also I have to admit that my  hip has been bugging me for over a month.  I've been ignoring it because: when do I have time?? So the race is gonna suck.  And to top it all off, after I dropped off the kids this morning, my car battery died.  Because that's EXACTLY what you need when your husband is in Ohio, his car is in the long term lot at the airport - oh and he has the parking ticket in his wallet.

It wouldn't be so bad - I mean, I can work from home.  I've got friends who can shuttle my kids, and honestly, kid#1 walks home half the time (1.25 miles), and kid #2 school is only 0.7 miles.  Except THIS week is a big meeting week at work, and I have to be there.  And it's on Thursday.  So awesome.  I just made an appt to have the car checked out today, assuming the thing starts.  My next door neighbor "why didn't you ask for help??"  Because the car died AT SCHOOL and you were already AT WORK.  Sigh.

But I am so so so so done.  I mean, I can't just stop.  I'm it right now.  I soooo wanted to go to bed at 7:45 last night.  But the kids have homework every.single.night (how do I help the 7 yo when I have 2 hours of back to school  night??)

I was also suffering from burnout late last year and husband suggested that maybe I go visit a family member or another (both of which were going through cancer treatment).  All I could think was "I'd love to see them!  BUT SHIT, then I'm just STILL taking care of people."

I just ate the rest of the leftover gluten free carrot cake.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 11:37:38 AM by mm1970 »

Gail2000

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #147 on: September 10, 2019, 08:18:19 PM »
This is a great thread. 

I was also suffering from burnout late last year and husband suggested that maybe I go visit a family member or another (both of which were going through cancer treatment).  All I could think was "I'd love to see them!  BUT SHIT, then I'm just STILL taking care of people."

I just ate the rest of the leftover gluten free carrot cake.

So I am quoting the parts of your trials I most resonate with.

I am amazed at your super powers. Carrot cake is a fine reward for the Weeks Murphy came to visit.

Why are we so hard on our selves? Why is it times like these where I suddenly am ok with having a sister wife?

WalkaboutStache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #148 on: September 11, 2019, 12:28:26 AM »


How is your burnout recovery been going so far? A few of us needs tips and comiserations around here ;)



Going great!  I am on day 3 of my sabbatical.  It was a struggle to get here and your post hit on my last week or so at work.  I am still sleepy and tired a lot of the time, but I am doing what I need to do and resting a lot.

It looks like you are on the right track for you.  Hang in there!


brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #149 on: September 18, 2019, 02:19:14 PM »
This is a great thread.  I think I might be really close to life burnout.

My husband has been traveling a lot.  This is week 3.  I have a full time job, two kids at two schools, and I'm training for a race that is on Saturday.

Well...all the things.  During the 3 weeks husband has been traveling:
- week 1, early orthodontist appt for kid 1, husband flight home canceled on Friday, didn't get home until Saturday. Emergency laundry during week.
- week 2, back to school night for kid #2, at least no travel snafus.  Another laundry day.
- week 3, back to school night for kid #1.  (This week). Another emergency laundry week (bed wetting). Also I have to admit that my  hip has been bugging me for over a month.  I've been ignoring it because: when do I have time?? So the race is gonna suck.  And to top it all off, after I dropped off the kids this morning, my car battery died.  Because that's EXACTLY what you need when your husband is in Ohio, his car is in the long term lot at the airport - oh and he has the parking ticket in his wallet.

It wouldn't be so bad - I mean, I can work from home.  I've got friends who can shuttle my kids, and honestly, kid#1 walks home half the time (1.25 miles), and kid #2 school is only 0.7 miles.  Except THIS week is a big meeting week at work, and I have to be there.  And it's on Thursday.  So awesome.  I just made an appt to have the car checked out today, assuming the thing starts.  My next door neighbor "why didn't you ask for help??"  Because the car died AT SCHOOL and you were already AT WORK.  Sigh.

But I am so so so so done.  I mean, I can't just stop.  I'm it right now.  I soooo wanted to go to bed at 7:45 last night.  But the kids have homework every.single.night (how do I help the 7 yo when I have 2 hours of back to school  night??)

I was also suffering from burnout late last year and husband suggested that maybe I go visit a family member or another (both of which were going through cancer treatment).  All I could think was "I'd love to see them!  BUT SHIT, then I'm just STILL taking care of people."

I just ate the rest of the leftover gluten free carrot cake.

@mm1970 - I'm sorry I haven't replied to you earlier. How have you been?
Almost everyone suggested I take a holiday or have invited to go and stay with them for a while.
For people who are mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted, I would not advise doing any of that.
You need time for you. Where? In your life, the life you see, smell and touch everyday. The life with kid #1 and kid #2.
That is the life that needs adapting to you; not you flying away somewhere else to rest and then coming back to the same conditions that got you burned out.
I'm not close to your finances but money is a resource. I would strongly advise people to use that resource in order to assist recovering from burnout. Big meeting when car is broken? Take a taxi. I've been taking Uber quite often because I literally can't do with public transport. Wooowww, so expensive, so unnecessary. But let's keep things in perspective; it's £200 in a month. It's a crisis expense, not inflating my lifestyle, it's using a resource when needed.

2 things:
One) Obviously you sound burned out; consider taking crazy drastic measures before the memory loss/throwing up/fainting/being on sick leave for months before you are forced to take them due to full burnout.

Two) Careful with coping. You might ease up on a few things and start coping with your busy life better. That just means you will buy yourself a couple of more months before you are square where you are now. Consider taking things away from your to-do list permanently; making permanent changes to build a sustainable life.