Author Topic: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated  (Read 12225 times)

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #50 on: August 16, 2019, 03:33:36 AM »
Lots of good advice has been offered here. I just wanted to commiserate, because my past self could have written every word of your post. If I may address the breakup situation, please. I dated my ever-loving brains out looking for The One. Dated a lot of really great guys, but things just never seemed to feel/fit right, or I flat out got dumped. At one point, I even had the ring, the date and the dress. (<--ending that one was my call. No regrets.) I had my heart broken so many times, Carly Simon's "Coming Around Again" was my personal anthem. (Crib notes: "There's more room in a broken heart...")

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

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

@Dicey , let's hug it out and cry and commiserate together. I'm starting to think about relationships the same way about I think about being a mother. The world around runs sells it to us relentlessly. It's romanticised enormously. It's portrayed as an essential requisite for a full life. What do you mean you never fell in love? You don't want to be a mother? Gasp! And if you complain, then you are the faulty one! Any negative aspects are brushed aside and everything should be endured in the name of having a partner, having a family.

Why sell it so hard if it is so great?

It is so strange being in a "not dating" mode. Like, is that allowed? Isn't that what sad, miserable people say? Do I automatically change into a crazy cat lady? But what if today is the day? It actually gives me a lot of peace of mind, I'm thankful.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #51 on: August 16, 2019, 03:45:36 AM »

I would suggest taking a morning off work to get a physical exam with bloodwork and if your Vitamin D is in the low range, supplement it up.  Bloodwork can also reveal other stuff that leaves us feeling crappy, but can be fixed relatively easily.
Love your forum name.

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

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

I'm considering doing a comprehensive blood test. Even if I go private.
It's just that I don't want to pathologize my sadness and sub-optimal life choices. I don't to be "ohhh, I'm xyz deficient so I'll take the supplements so I'll get back on the treadmill." But I will do it soon in the future.

@AnnaGrowsAMustache , @omachi @OtherJen Thanks for the tips. I have been cooking more. The handling things with my hands, chopping them up, stirring etc takes my mind off things and it's easy enough. Also, the result is always pretty average so it's great for my perfectionism.

This weekend I want to rearrange the stuff in my kitchen cupboards. There will be no reward, no on will clap, it's quite unnecessary. But I will move my body and engage my mind in an easy way.

Hi @lhamo , hi @mm1970 - I'm 30 and my hormones work like clockwork once I got off hormonal contraception. But it's true that our bodies change and sometimes we want to operate as if we were 21. I keep arguing that I'm not that tired, that I'm not really actually burned out. Yeah, righ. I go down a flight of stairs and the legs and lungs start asking for sleep. Maybe the body is talking...

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #52 on: August 16, 2019, 04:04:56 AM »
Unfortunately I'm burned out as well. Currently 4 months sick at home. I'm very, very fortunate that neither my GP nor the company doctor (who approves sick leave if you're sick for longer than 2 weeks) mess around with burn out, so I've gotten the all clear to stay home and do nothing. The company doctor has even forbidden me from exercising - I don't have the energy. And if I do have the energy, I shouldn't be spending it all right away. He ordered me to do 3 things: have a long walk every day, get therapy once a week, do something I enjoy when I feel like it.
 
Man... my brain did NOT like that. My Calvinistic upbringing shone through; I can't just do nothing and get paid my normal wages. I'm a nuisance to the company. I'm failing. I'm a disappointment. Now other people will have to pick up the work I left behind.
 
My workaholic brain was freaking out like a cat in a bathtub. I couldn't sleep for more than 5 hours, waking up backwards (like, my feet on my pillow, head at the foot end of the bed), nightmares. So then I thought: I can't be burned out, I don't sleep more than 5 hours. Burn-out means you sleep a lot, right? Cue the guilt!
 
I was recently on holiday. Doctor approved, he said I should go and enjoy it, be out in nature. It'd be good for me. Well, the holiday took a shit load of energy. As in, I was throwing up for a week when I got back, migraines galore.
 
I'm figuring out how to deal with burn out, so I don't exactly know what advice to give you. At the very least: don't pussy foot with burn out. Try and get sick leave. The longer you fight it, the longer it'll take. You are sick. No two ways about it.

Hi @Nederstash ! I'm so sorry to hear what you are going through. I can only repeat what Malkynn posted and I keep telling myself: "whose job it is to make sure you live your best life?"

I see myself in all the words you've written.
I feel so tired but someone, someone in my head goes "you have no grounds to feel tired, no authorisation granted." Except... except I need to rest for 10 minutes after my 30 minutes tube journey to work, because I'm so tired.

I'm slowly slowly regaining my energy. Only yesterday I was getting all worked up by lunch time at work. I had to stop myself from caring, step away from my desk and take my lunch break. When I came back I had to go to the bathroom stall, sit and rest my head on the wall for 20 minutes so tired I was feeling.

I don't know why but it is so hard to allow myself to take it easy.

Same with friends, people ask me how I'm doing and my instinct is to reassure them. Like I'm only allowed to be unwell for a little while but then have to come back stronger. These days I just keep repeating: no, I'm not well, no, I can't go anywhere, no, I don't have energy, no, tummy is bad. I'd love to see you but you will need to come to me. Thanks for offering to have me over at your place and pamper me but even that it's too much for my body. Yes, you can come visit me and we can spend time together but don't expect me to be cheerful.

I think overall I'm behaving like a cat: nap, demand to be fed, nap again.




 

Gail2000

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #53 on: August 16, 2019, 05:54:12 AM »
Be gentle with yourself. After the kiddo was born I tried to keep the same pace. Cook big meal, go out and explore but I was sleep deprived and my body rebelled. It took me years to recoup. Sun helped. My husband didnít. My kiddo finally got her mom back but I tried to rush. Look for things that make you happy and content and revel in the little things. A soft blanket, a delicious cookie. My kiddo splashing in puddles got me smiling. I think the Danish call this Hhug? Branch of philosophy that celebrates the simple joys. Easier said then done, I  realize but start small.

Malkynn

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #54 on: August 16, 2019, 08:34:04 AM »
How have I managed to miss this thread where I've somehow still been a part of without ever posting???

[Disclaimer: even though it wasn't meant literally "paging Dr. Malkynn" should be clarified that I'm not that kind of doctor and none of what I post here constitutes medical advice. Cool, got that cleared up.]

Ugh...burnout...what a complex, bitchy little creature it is.

The thing with burnout, is that it's as individual as the person experiencing it, and it finds special little toxic ways to bore it's way into your brain and grow deep roots through your nervous system that you can't even tell are there. The surface experience is just the tip of the iceberg, and the damage it does isn't even detectable until you are well into recovery and years into therapy you start realizing that you have behavioural patterns that you didn't even know you had that are constantly working against you ever feeling truly safe.

Ask me how I know.

Here's the worst part: the more adapted a person is to deal with ongoing burnout, the more insidious the damage.
By that, I mean that the amazing tools and skills it takes to keep on going, the discipline, the drive, the instinct to turn every challenge into a triumph, all of those skills will work against you ever actually being mentally happy and healthy.
Your system gets fundamentally rewired.

Once you've rewired to that being your normal, you can no longer totally trust your instincts...maybe even ever.

You can't trust the instincts that drive you to see suffering as a temporary necessity for the sake of an outcome. Sure, yeah, they're ultra productive, but they have their limits in terms of utility, and your understanding of those limits has been fundamentally warped.
You think you are hitting your limit now? Fuck, you probably hit it years ago and have been running on reserves and damaging yourself for a very long time.

It's kind of like how no one seeks out marriage counseling until the marital problems are so bad that they're deciding between counseling and contacting a divorce lawyer. The damage is already done, and healing often isn't even possible.

Basically, if you can perceive the impacts of burnout on your life and well being, you are so far down the goddamn rabbit hole that it is a health emergency. No, that is not an overstatement, and yes, I fully intend it to sound as alarmist as it does.

Burntout people, especially women, tend to be absolutely terrible at recognizing how critical it is to put their well being first. Society idiotically practically worships suffering and sacrifice as virtuous, which is fundamentally unhealthy, but it is what it is.
People admire the marathon runner for the hell they put themselves through even though the actual feat isn't productive, how fucked up is that???

A lot of us accomplishment-junkies have been pat on the head and rewarded for our fucked up instincts and adaptations that we easily fell under the misapprehension that we are actually doing something good, something worthwhile, something admirable, or just something necessary.

What a crock of shit.

Here's what I've learned the hard way:
there is absolutely nothing admirable, respectable, dignified, or decent about letting your mental or physical health fall apart because you chose not to prioritize it. You are the only responsible custodian of your mind and body, and it's no ones job to take care of you, but you. If you aren't going to do it, literally no one else will, and you will have neglected the single most important resource that you have.

Life won't thank you for grinding yourself into a fine paste.
MMM talks about debt being an emergency, well burnout debt is a far bigger emergency, and can take quite a bit longer and far more work to recover from.

The exhaustion you are describing is a state of emergency. Your body is literally shutting itself down in a desperate attempt to stop you from doing the insane shit that will literally kill you. I'm not being dramatic, this shit will kill you.
That asshole voice that tells you that you aren't entitled to this exhaustion is part of the rewiring I mentioned earlier, it's the survival system that has taken over out of necessity. The problem is that the thriving instincts are suppressed when the survival system is in control.

It's basic biology, fight or flight. In survival mode, the body shunts blood away from important functions for thriving in order to prioritize critical functions for surviving. Those biological reflexes don't exist in a vacuum, they come along with a complex set of psychological reflexes that help support them. You don't just need blood to your legs to run, you need to feel the importance of running.

Your survival system is in charge. That voice is that system. Your instincts to power through are that system.
That system is a normal part of human existence, which is why it feels normal to you, but just like an animal will die of exhaustion after running for too long, you will too, which is what is literally happening. Your entire system has been geared away from thriving functions for so long, it's shutting down.

That system is AMAZING in small doses reserved for real emergencies.
It's a fucking disaster when it turns into your day to day system for living.

Be warned, it's not super fun to change gears and get back into thriving mode. I can't tell you how fucking frustrating it can be once you learn what your actual healthy limits are, how little you can actually handle while still thriving. It can feel like voluntarily giving up a super power.

But guess what, you are actually weak. You aren't tough enough to do what you have been doing. You do have limits.
There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing shameful in that. We are all fundamentally weak because we are human, and humans all have physical and psychological limitations well below what we can temporarily survive.

It's not admirable to push your mind and body further than it's fragile little limits can take. It IS admirable to learn what those limits are and build a sustainable life within them.

Trust me, life is much better for you and everyone you love if you take on the hardest challenge of all: being happy and healthy. It's far more admirable and inspiring than any hardcore shit you can accomplish at your own expense.

It's not a matter of "deserving" anything, it's a matter of basic human responsibility to not waste the life you've been given for the sake of a pat on the head for being so very very willing to suffer.


[eta: fuck, that went kind of deep...probably because I just got off the phone talking about someone incredibly bright, talented and accomplished who died at 45, ultimately because he failed to live up to his own expectations in his 30s and he never recovered]



 
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 08:43:03 AM by Malkynn »

iluvzbeach

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #55 on: August 16, 2019, 08:48:54 AM »
@Malkynn, thank you for this brilliant post. Itís something I needed to read.

Nederstash

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #56 on: August 16, 2019, 02:36:09 PM »
@Malkynn wow, this really hits home. I think you are so, so right that there are actual biological consequences, it's not just mental. Blood pressure, intestinal health, grey hairs, nervous system, muscles, sinuses... I could go on, they're all affected by chronic stress.
 
@brunetteUK I'm really worried that you're still working. Needing a 10 or 20 minute rest after a commute is NOT okay. You're pushing yourself too far. Can you get a doctor to clear you for sick leave? Or to clear you for working fewer hours?

takemewest

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #57 on: August 16, 2019, 03:04:29 PM »
@Malkynn I, too, want to say thanks for that. I'm going to re-read it a lot this weekend since it absolutely applies to my post from yesterday. I was literally just sitting here in my classroom, trying to figure out whether I would work both Saturday AND Sunday to lesson plan and get my new class prep off the ground. Ugh.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #58 on: August 16, 2019, 06:57:55 PM »
@Malkynn so spot on. Stress is PHYSICAL. It might have mental/emotional symptoms, but it's a physical, body-based condition. The mental symptoms are often the last people notice, once they've ignored being tired all the time, or indigestion/bowel symptoms, headaches, nausea, insomnia, weight loss or gain etc. It's only when people get to the point that they are so mentally drained they can't do their jobs that they will put it all together - and then half of then will go to a doc and get med for depression or anxiety. It's not that simple. Stress is a killer, and if it doesn't actually kill you it'll take years off your life. Take it seriously. Behave like you have heart disease - rest, change your lifestyle to reduce all stress, concentrate on your diet and overall wellbeing, do small things that make you happy or engaged. Realise first and foremost that you won't be able to do all of those things at once. It will take time. Start with the little things that engage you, like cleaning your cupboards as you mentioned.

okcisok

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #59 on: August 17, 2019, 10:21:22 PM »
Thanks so much to everyone for this thread. I didn't realize I needed to hear all these things until I read them, from strangers all around the world. You are appreciated.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #60 on: August 19, 2019, 07:02:35 AM »
Be gentle with yourself. After the kiddo was born I tried to keep the same pace. Cook big meal, go out and explore but I was sleep deprived and my body rebelled. It took me years to recoup. Sun helped. My husband didnít. My kiddo finally got her mom back but I tried to rush. Look for things that make you happy and content and revel in the little things. A soft blanket, a delicious cookie. My kiddo splashing in puddles got me smiling. I think the Danish call this Hhug? Branch of philosophy that celebrates the simple joys. Easier said then done, I  realize but start small.

Hi @Gail2000 - I'm happy to hear you recouped :) I like taking pictures of gardens and I've been enjoying that a lot recently. Simple pleasures.

@brunetteUK I'm really worried that you're still working. Needing a 10 or 20 minute rest after a commute is NOT okay. You're pushing yourself too far. Can you get a doctor to clear you for sick leave? Or to clear you for working fewer hours?
*looks around the room*
Me?... sick ...leave? But...as in...me?
@Nederstash your comment made me actually consider seeing the doctor for burnout sick leave. I asked a friend about what companies ask for etc when you are off sick for more than a week and I feel reassured. I booked an appointment with my doctor.
I can't really believe I'm going to ask for sick leave. But I am so t.i.r.e.d at work.


Here's the worst part: the more adapted a person is to deal with ongoing burnout, the more insidious the damage.
By that, I mean that the amazing tools and skills it takes to keep on going, the discipline, the drive, the instinct to turn every challenge into a triumph, all of those skills will work against you ever actually being mentally happy and healthy.
Your system gets fundamentally rewired.

Once you've rewired to that being your normal, you can no longer totally trust your instincts...maybe even ever.

You can't trust the instincts that drive you to see suffering as a temporary necessity for the sake of an outcome. Sure, yeah, they're ultra productive, but they have their limits in terms of utility, and your understanding of those limits has been fundamentally warped.

Thanks for your words @Malkynn , they gave me a lot to think about!

After a month of minimum activity, this weekend I set out to a) clean the kitchen b) sort out the cupboards.
Everyone already laughing? I got into a vortex of activity! I made a list so I would consider every task before adding it to the list, to try and keep it short. But it was like watching someone else from a separate dimension. I could see my hands cleaning the bathroom sink or cleaning out cupboards at 9pm and I could not stop it. Woman, what are you doing? I don't know, I can't actually stop myself. It took discipline from depths never reached before to be able to step away.
This was particularly difficult on Sunday, I was meeting up with friends at 3pm and I need to a)buy milk b)buy a cake. But the house was a mess! I started sorting out the cupboards and I had stuff scattered everywhere!
But... I had to lay down back on my bed after breakfast because I was feeling dizzy. I was in bed, in shock, thinking to myself "Fuck" as I realised there simply was no energy. I had had a shower in the morning and you know, I had to sit down in the tub to shower. "Fuck", I thought. I think I'm exhausted.
I was so difficult to abort mission.
That's when I saw clearly that, indeed, my understanding of my limits is fundamentally warped.

You think you are hitting your limit now? Fuck, you probably hit it years ago and have been running on reserves and damaging yourself for a very long time.

It's kind of like how no one seeks out marriage counseling until the marital problems are so bad that they're deciding between counseling and contacting a divorce lawyer. The damage is already done, and healing often isn't even possible.

Basically, if you can perceive the impacts of burnout on your life and well being, you are so far down the goddamn rabbit hole that it is a health emergency. No, that is not an overstatement, and yes, I fully intend it to sound as alarmist as it does.

Let me see, you said "hit your limits years ago" and from the top of my head I can recall, in chronological order:
- the physical breakdown 4 years ago that kept in bed for 4 days
- the mental breakdown a month later, which led me to my doctor begging for a psychiatrist (therapy ensued, overcame depression, thanks god for that breakdown)
- crying uncontrollably on my first trip to Greece
- the "feeling unwell" before another trip to Greece
- the "feeling unwell" when I arrived in Austria, spent the weekend in bed
- leaving work and going to the doctor at least 3 times in the previous years complaining of dizziness.
and ...the past 9 months deserve special mention:
- Dec: stressed out like the craziest woman, had the worst birthday of my life
- Jan: biggest, meanest flu
- Feb: travelled to Australia, did not sleep enough to recover, went up and down non-stop, flew back 12 days later
- Mar: arrived in London one day, travelled to France for work literally the next day. Various days of very bad health ensued. Arrived back in London with health issues, slept 2 days in a row.
- Apr, May, Jun : went to France twice a month, bad health at every trip
- Jul: that's when the vomiting started. Spent a weekend in Amsterdam with the worst stomach pain. Went straight to France from there. Next day I arrived in the office in France, went to the bathroom and cried. I could not go on like this, I just couldn't. Aborted the trip, took the train back to London and was off sick for 2 days. Went back to work on the third day. Had to go back home and sleep afterwards.
- A week later: got dumped. Heartbreak. Arrived in the office and could not stop crying. Had to take a day off, spent all day crying. Finally, I stopped.




Malkynn

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #61 on: August 19, 2019, 07:24:37 AM »
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.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #62 on: August 19, 2019, 07:28:35 AM »
Be warned, it's not super fun to change gears and get back into thriving mode. I can't tell you how fucking frustrating it can be once you learn what your actual healthy limits are, how little you can actually handle while still thriving. It can feel like voluntarily giving up a super power.

But guess what, you are actually weak. You aren't tough enough to do what you have been doing. You do have limits.
There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing shameful in that. We are all fundamentally weak because we are human, and humans all have physical and psychological limitations well below what we can temporarily survive.

It's not admirable to push your mind and body further than it's fragile little limits can take. It IS admirable to learn what those limits are and build a sustainable life within them.
Say that again. And louder. "It is not super fun to change gears".
I can now see how my thinking went: Physically, I feel crap. Rest the entire weekend. Still feeling crap.
Option A) Grind teeth and get something done the next day.
Option B) Rest that day.
Both options will have the same result => still feeling crap.
So I might as well get something done and enjoy those rewards. That is because I needed a freaking 6 months rest, I needed to freaking fully accept myself/my life and stop bullying myself. I needed to accept help and love and care.

Now I see the two modes: surviving and thriving. On survival mode, you get loads and loads of stuff done. But that's for an emergency. You get a lot done and you pay a high price/use a lot of resources. Sometimes that is necessary.  I put myself on survival mode when I was 18 (I was shocked to learn that many LGBT teenagers are kicked out of the house when they come out to their parents - one day they're a kid, next day they're homeless, yet I was kicked out at 18 because I was sexually active) and adapted to that model as an everyday approach. It's been 12 years.

I have scaled down for the past 5 weeks. I'm giving away my sexy catwoman suit, my wonder woman cape and giving up my superpowers. As this weekend shows, re-calibrating your limit meter takes time, takes conscious choices, takes going against the more productive route.
But whatever, my friends are supportive, understanding and will do whatever to help me. (after they did all that when I was going through depression, I think I got them for life).
« Last Edit: August 19, 2019, 07:32:15 AM by brunetteUK »

OtherJen

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #63 on: August 19, 2019, 07:43:09 AM »
Say that again. And louder. "It is not super fun to change gears".
I can now see how my thinking went: Physically, I feel crap. Rest the entire weekend. Still feeling crap.
Option A) Grind teeth and get something done the next day.
Option B) Rest that day.
Both options will have the same result => still feeling crap.
So I might as well get something done and enjoy those rewards. That is because I needed a freaking 6 months rest, I needed to freaking fully accept myself/my life and stop bullying myself. I needed to accept help and love and care.

Yes. Your body has been crying out for years. I totally understand how easy it is for those of us with Type A personalities to ignore our bodies because weíre addicted to the activity and validation and challenge and have an innate need to avoid failure/laziness at all costs. Itís so hard to break that pattern. Even years after a career change (for health reasons because of burnout) and downshift, I still catch myself falling back into familiar validation- and achievement-seeking patterns.

The good thing about our personality type is that weíre willing to learn and practice new skills so that we can succeed at them. The bad thing is that we are very prone to letting other people tell us what things we must learn rather than choosing what is best for us. Itís a hard process to learn to trust oneís own body and instincts. Be as kind and patient and compassionate to yourself as you would be to someone else going through this (I know, I know, easier said than done).

Raenia

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #64 on: August 19, 2019, 07:58:27 AM »
I just want to thank you all for talking about this.  I'm not burned out (YET) but enough of what you're saying is resonating that I think I need to take some preemptive steps to decrease my load, because if I'm getting anything from this, the feelings of tiredness and overload are only going to get worse.  I was viewing these symptoms as temporary hurdles, but now I see they are more likely a pattern, and only going to grow if I don't stop the cycle now.  Being more productive is not the answer!  It will be hard, as I've always had a drive to be productive, but I realize I need to do fewer things well, rather than more things at all costs.

Malkynn

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #65 on: August 19, 2019, 08:09:06 AM »
A really important thing to note that I'm seeing in response to some of my content is a focus on the physical manifestations of burnout.

Yes, I have emphasized the physical aspects of burnout, but that's only because they're overwhelming and downright alarming in this case. However, there's a distinct bias in our culture that the physical injury is valid, while the psychological injury is somehow not as important. As if the physical toll justifies action, but the mental anguish is difficult to justify doing anything about.

That's just absolute nonsense.
If the reason to maximize physical health is to be able to enjoy life as much as possible, then neglecting mental health is even more damaging to that goal.

Speaking as someone who deals with chronic, serious, and very painful health issues, I would take a lot more physical issues over increased mental issues any day. Of course, the two don't exist in a vacuum, they are continuations of one another, so even conceptualizing them as separate is utterly ridiculous.

How you feel is how you feel, and if you don't feel okay, you are not okay. Period.
Some suffering can be alleviated through lifestyle, and some can't, but you should be extremely wary about life choices that voluntarily increase suffering.

Malkynn

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #66 on: August 19, 2019, 08:19:53 AM »
I just want to thank you all for talking about this.  I'm not burned out (YET) but enough of what you're saying is resonating that I think I need to take some preemptive steps to decrease my load, because if I'm getting anything from this, the feelings of tiredness and overload are only going to get worse.  I was viewing these symptoms as temporary hurdles, but now I see they are more likely a pattern, and only going to grow if I don't stop the cycle now.  Being more productive is not the answer!  It will be hard, as I've always had a drive to be productive, but I realize I need to do fewer things well, rather than more things at all costs.

That type of drive isn't who you are though, it's something you learned and something you choose to continue.

Look deep inside yourself as to who benefits from the outcomes of the things you work towards. Is it you? Do these behaviours fundamentally make your life healthier and happier? If not, then who are you doing this for, and why have you let them condition you to do it for them?

I'm a SUPER driven A-type personality too, but I'm taking a month off during the worst possible time at work to do so, while tremendously inconveniencing my boss and losing clout in doing so, and no, it's not a critical emergency that I take this time off either.
Why? Because my drive is ferociously directed towards my own well being. I aggressively protect my health and life balance. If I have to choose between prioritizing work or prioritizing down time, exercise, and sleep, you bet I'm going to choose whatever I need in order to feel my best.

Granted, it's taken me a few years to engineer my career in a way that I can do that with impunity, but that's how priorities work: you set them and work towards them. 3 years ago I hit the wall HARD, I cut back and got a new job at a 50% pay cut, and then spent 3 years working towards a life that worked optimally for me.

A good and healthy life does not come over night, but the commitment to it can.

We can all choose to take that A-type drive and put it towards living our best lives. It's not a matter of cutting back on drive or motivation, it's a matter of getting our heads out of our asses and directing that drive ourselves instead of letting society, bosses, family, whomever, define for us where our efforts should be going.

If you are working yourself into the ground and at the end it's costing you your health and happiness...who the fuck told you that was a good idea???? Why did you listen to them????

OtherJen

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #67 on: August 19, 2019, 08:33:08 AM »
A really important thing to note that I'm seeing in response to some of my content is a focus on the physical manifestations of burnout.

Yes, I have emphasized the physical aspects of burnout, but that's only because they're overwhelming and downright alarming in this case. However, there's a distinct bias in our culture that the physical injury is valid, while the psychological injury is somehow not as important. As if the physical toll justifies action, but the mental anguish is difficult to justify doing anything about.

That's just absolute nonsense.
If the reason to maximize physical health is to be able to enjoy life as much as possible, then neglecting mental health is even more damaging to that goal.

Speaking as someone who deals with chronic, serious, and very painful health issues, I would take a lot more physical issues over increased mental issues any day. Of course, the two don't exist in a vacuum, they are continuations of one another, so even conceptualizing them as separate is utterly ridiculous.

How you feel is how you feel, and if you don't feel okay, you are not okay. Period.
Some suffering can be alleviated through lifestyle, and some can't, but you should be extremely wary about life choices that voluntarily increase suffering.

I think itís more that some of us donít realize how bad the mental health has gotten until the physical symptoms kick in and force a slowdown. I donít think we can be blamed for not recognizing the mental symptoms if we grew up in a Type A-rewarding society and were never even taught about mental health. My dad regularly worked 60+ hours per week when I was growing up. At 68, my mom still regularly works 45-50 hour weeks. It was my norm.

I was an academic biomedical scientist in my former life. I lived in that bubble for more than a decade. The only visible path to success (i.e., tenure) was to work 60-80 hours per week and run oneself ragged. The junior faculty member across the hall ended up hospitalized for heart palpitations (from stress) when I was in grad school. One of my classmates developed shingles at age 25 (stress). Another ended up hospitalized with gastritis (stress), and a third with severe vitamin D deficiency (poor diet, lack of sun exposure due to long lab days). Although my celiac disease kicked in at the beginning of PhD year 4, I didnít get really worried and consider slowing down until postdoc, when I was hit with an unexplained bout of rectal bleeding and a subsequent bout of pertussis (which was awful and I absolutely understand how kids die from it, and yes, I had been vaccinated).

Yeah, I wasnít sleeping by the end. My post doc advisor recommended that I take sleeping pills because it was the only way that she could sleep. I was anxious all the time, but so was everyone else around me. One good grad school friend was on three separate meds for anxiety. The anxiety and stress were accepted as normal. You learned quickly not to even talk about them except with close friends (and only at the peer level) because it would make you look weak. The physical symptoms were what the culture accepted as problematic.

The culture sucks. No question. I donít think the answer is to blame people for not paying more attention to mental health when it is not even obvious to us that those symptoms are abnormal.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2019, 08:34:41 AM by OtherJen »

Raenia

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #68 on: August 19, 2019, 08:38:50 AM »
I just want to thank you all for talking about this.  I'm not burned out (YET) but enough of what you're saying is resonating that I think I need to take some preemptive steps to decrease my load, because if I'm getting anything from this, the feelings of tiredness and overload are only going to get worse.  I was viewing these symptoms as temporary hurdles, but now I see they are more likely a pattern, and only going to grow if I don't stop the cycle now.  Being more productive is not the answer!  It will be hard, as I've always had a drive to be productive, but I realize I need to do fewer things well, rather than more things at all costs.

That type of drive isn't who you are though, it's something you learned and something you choose to continue.

Look deep inside yourself as to who benefits from the outcomes of the things you work towards. Is it you? Do these behaviours fundamentally make your life healthier and happier? If not, then who are you doing this for, and why have you let them condition you to do it for them?

I'm a SUPER driven A-type personality too, but I'm taking a month off during the worst possible time at work to do so, while tremendously inconveniencing my boss and losing clout in doing so, and no, it's not a critical emergency that I take this time off either.
Why? Because my drive is ferociously directed towards my own well being. I aggressively protect my health and life balance. If I have to choose between prioritizing work or prioritizing down time, exercise, and sleep, you bet I'm going to choose whatever I need in order to feel my best.

Granted, it's taken me a few years to engineer my career in a way that I can do that with impunity, but that's how priorities work: you set them and work towards them. 3 years ago I hit the wall HARD, I cut back and got a new job at a 50% pay cut, and then spent 3 years working towards a life that worked optimally for me.

A good and healthy life does not come over night, but the commitment to it can.

We can all choose to take that A-type drive and put it towards living our best lives. It's not a matter of cutting back on drive or motivation, it's a matter of getting our heads out of our asses and directing that drive ourselves instead of letting society, bosses, family, whomever, define for us where our efforts should be going.

If you are working yourself into the ground and at the end it's costing you your health and happiness...who the fuck told you that was a good idea???? Why did you listen to them????

Yes, this is exactly why it will be hard - it's something I learned very young, so now I have to rewire my brain, because it's been ME telling myself I can and should work harder, and obviously that's not going to work.  Redirecting that drive from external productivity to [internal] wellness is going to be a big change.  Totally necessary!  But difficult nonetheless.  But it should be much easier to start changing my behavior and rewiring my mind NOW, before it's become an emergency.

I've always been pretty good at prioritizing sleep - when that's slipped, it's mostly when DH is having a restless time and keeps me up or wakes me up accidentally.  Exercise, on the other hand, has always been the easiest thing to let go.  Normally I have tried to just add exercise onto my existing schedule, but obviously that doesn't work.  So I need to choose which other thing I am currently doing will be removed to make space.  And then do that same process for each additional self-care task that I need, until I don't feel overwhelmed anymore.

Nederstash

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #69 on: August 19, 2019, 08:51:57 AM »
I just want to thank you all for talking about this.  I'm not burned out (YET) but enough of what you're saying is resonating that I think I need to take some preemptive steps to decrease my load, because if I'm getting anything from this, the feelings of tiredness and overload are only going to get worse.  I was viewing these symptoms as temporary hurdles, but now I see they are more likely a pattern, and only going to grow if I don't stop the cycle now.  Being more productive is not the answer!  It will be hard, as I've always had a drive to be productive, but I realize I need to do fewer things well, rather than more things at all costs.

YES! Halle-fucking-lujah. I wish I'd had half your smarts like 8 years ago, instead I'm digging myself out of a hole I made with my own pigheadedness.
(Also I need to work on negative self-talk. Oh well, next project)

Raenia

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #70 on: August 19, 2019, 08:54:55 AM »
I just want to thank you all for talking about this.  I'm not burned out (YET) but enough of what you're saying is resonating that I think I need to take some preemptive steps to decrease my load, because if I'm getting anything from this, the feelings of tiredness and overload are only going to get worse.  I was viewing these symptoms as temporary hurdles, but now I see they are more likely a pattern, and only going to grow if I don't stop the cycle now.  Being more productive is not the answer!  It will be hard, as I've always had a drive to be productive, but I realize I need to do fewer things well, rather than more things at all costs.

YES! Halle-fucking-lujah. I wish I'd had half your smarts like 8 years ago, instead I'm digging myself out of a hole I made with my own pigheadedness.
(Also I need to work on negative self-talk. Oh well, next project)

I wouldn't characterize it as smart, just having the right information in front of me at the right time.  How could you recognize you were overloaded when no one ever talked about it honestly?

Nederstash

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #71 on: August 19, 2019, 09:34:37 AM »
@brunetteUK I'm really worried that you're still working. Needing a 10 or 20 minute rest after a commute is NOT okay. You're pushing yourself too far. Can you get a doctor to clear you for sick leave? Or to clear you for working fewer hours?
*looks around the room*
Me?... sick ...leave? But...as in...me?
@Nederstash your comment made me actually consider seeing the doctor for burnout sick leave. I asked a friend about what companies ask for etc when you are off sick for more than a week and I feel reassured. I booked an appointment with my doctor.
I can't really believe I'm going to ask for sick leave. But I am so t.i.r.e.d at work.

[ ]

Let me see, you said "hit your limits years ago" and from the top of my head I can recall, in chronological order:
- the physical breakdown 4 years ago that kept in bed for 4 days
- the mental breakdown a month later, which led me to my doctor begging for a psychiatrist (therapy ensued, overcame depression, thanks god for that breakdown)
- crying uncontrollably on my first trip to Greece
- the "feeling unwell" before another trip to Greece
- the "feeling unwell" when I arrived in Austria, spent the weekend in bed
- leaving work and going to the doctor at least 3 times in the previous years complaining of dizziness.
and ...the past 9 months deserve special mention:
- Dec: stressed out like the craziest woman, had the worst birthday of my life
- Jan: biggest, meanest flu
- Feb: travelled to Australia, did not sleep enough to recover, went up and down non-stop, flew back 12 days later
- Mar: arrived in London one day, travelled to France for work literally the next day. Various days of very bad health ensued. Arrived back in London with health issues, slept 2 days in a row.
- Apr, May, Jun : went to France twice a month, bad health at every trip
- Jul: that's when the vomiting started. Spent a weekend in Amsterdam with the worst stomach pain. Went straight to France from there. Next day I arrived in the office in France, went to the bathroom and cried. I could not go on like this, I just couldn't. Aborted the trip, took the train back to London and was off sick for 2 days. Went back to work on the third day. Had to go back home and sleep afterwards.
- A week later: got dumped. Heartbreak. Arrived in the office and could not stop crying. Had to take a day off, spent all day crying. Finally, I stopped.

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!

Malkynn

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #72 on: August 19, 2019, 10:05:16 AM »
A really important thing to note that I'm seeing in response to some of my content is a focus on the physical manifestations of burnout.

Yes, I have emphasized the physical aspects of burnout, but that's only because they're overwhelming and downright alarming in this case. However, there's a distinct bias in our culture that the physical injury is valid, while the psychological injury is somehow not as important. As if the physical toll justifies action, but the mental anguish is difficult to justify doing anything about.

That's just absolute nonsense.
If the reason to maximize physical health is to be able to enjoy life as much as possible, then neglecting mental health is even more damaging to that goal.

Speaking as someone who deals with chronic, serious, and very painful health issues, I would take a lot more physical issues over increased mental issues any day. Of course, the two don't exist in a vacuum, they are continuations of one another, so even conceptualizing them as separate is utterly ridiculous.

How you feel is how you feel, and if you don't feel okay, you are not okay. Period.
Some suffering can be alleviated through lifestyle, and some can't, but you should be extremely wary about life choices that voluntarily increase suffering.

I think itís more that some of us donít realize how bad the mental health has gotten until the physical symptoms kick in and force a slowdown. I donít think we can be blamed for not recognizing the mental symptoms if we grew up in a Type A-rewarding society and were never even taught about mental health. My dad regularly worked 60+ hours per week when I was growing up. At 68, my mom still regularly works 45-50 hour weeks. It was my norm.

I was an academic biomedical scientist in my former life. I lived in that bubble for more than a decade. The only visible path to success (i.e., tenure) was to work 60-80 hours per week and run oneself ragged. The junior faculty member across the hall ended up hospitalized for heart palpitations (from stress) when I was in grad school. One of my classmates developed shingles at age 25 (stress). Another ended up hospitalized with gastritis (stress), and a third with severe vitamin D deficiency (poor diet, lack of sun exposure due to long lab days). Although my celiac disease kicked in at the beginning of PhD year 4, I didnít get really worried and consider slowing down until postdoc, when I was hit with an unexplained bout of rectal bleeding and a subsequent bout of pertussis (which was awful and I absolutely understand how kids die from it, and yes, I had been vaccinated).

Yeah, I wasnít sleeping by the end. My post doc advisor recommended that I take sleeping pills because it was the only way that she could sleep. I was anxious all the time, but so was everyone else around me. One good grad school friend was on three separate meds for anxiety. The anxiety and stress were accepted as normal. You learned quickly not to even talk about them except with close friends (and only at the peer level) because it would make you look weak. The physical symptoms were what the culture accepted as problematic.

The culture sucks. No question. I donít think the answer is to blame people for not paying more attention to mental health when it is not even obvious to us that those symptoms are abnormal.

No blaming and no criticism.
I was the exact same way in the exact same type of industry. It's specifically *because* we normalize psychological suffering, even praise it, that we are trained to downplay the importance of the mental health arm of overall health.

In this conversation though, it's critical to respect the damage to mental health as a valid reason in and of itself to take action and change things and to acknowledge that obvious physical symptoms aren't necessary in order for someone to feel entitled to need to take a break. Again, not an ounce of criticism or judgement in that statement.

Nederstash

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #73 on: August 19, 2019, 10:09:00 AM »
Sorry, forgot a few key things:

Tell your doctor your symptoms. Never go to the doctor with a homemade diagnosis. They're the professional, they get to diagnose. Explain what's been going on. Resting for 10 minutes after a commute because you're dizzy/tired. Crying after the slightest inconvenience. Unable to sleep or sleep too much. Getting ill when you have downtime. Heart constricting when the phone rings. Etc etc... I remember a public prosecutor saying in court: "Your honor, this man is guilty!" Judge replied in his driest voice: "I'll be the judge of that."

Tell your employer you're ill. You can even tell them it's stress related, if you want. Please refrain from over-explaining and giving them all your symptoms. No matter how nice your employer is, they still have a business to run and you might become expensive. They might start pushing you to increase your work sooner than you can handle. "Well, it's a headache, take some aspirin! You've had two weeks of rest!" No, just no. They don't need your symptoms. The doctor needs to know and the doctor will clear you for any work you can handle. Not you, not your manager. In short, inform your employer on a need-to-know basis. You have a right to privacy regarding your health.

Good luck!

Fish Sweet

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #74 on: August 19, 2019, 11:37:48 AM »
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.

BlueHouse

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #75 on: August 19, 2019, 11:56:17 AM »
Start planning a fantastic vacation.  Then take it.

mm1970

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #76 on: August 19, 2019, 12:30:45 PM »
Gosh, there were so many good posts in here that I read this morning that I lost track, and cannot even figure out how to respond to all of them.  For sure, I see that burnout is more of a risk to me when I get older.  And to my husband.  But I cannot fix him.  HE has to decide to not burn himself out.  He was at work until 12:45 am.  Ahem.

The physical symptoms are super hard because you are already well down the path.  One of the ways that I've been dealing with my stress is exercise - specifically running.  I don't love running.  I'm not built like a runner.  But it burns off stress.  Lately though, it's been a struggle due to wearout.  Just...hips, back, hamstrings.  I am finding that in order to run, and get faster (there's that Type-A thing again), I am having to carefully craft my life.  The right amount of foam rolling and stretching.  Eat certain foods at certain times.  Think about giving up coffee - I have been plagued with digestive issues for a couple of years.  Mostly gluten but there are other things too (prob stress).  I spent 2 weeks on vacation in Copenhagen with almost ZERO digestive issues.  Yet back here, I have issues.  The food?  The stress? Ugh, I just want to run a 10k without suffering the rest of the day.

Many folks at my office are into the burnout phase - especially the older ones - I can feel it myself at 49, and it hits harder and earlier for older folks.  I have been working at home a lot this summer because it decreases my interaction with difficult people.  Because everyone is so stressed!

Quote
Society idiotically practically worships suffering and sacrifice as virtuous, which is fundamentally unhealthy, but it is what it is.
People admire the marathon runner for the hell they put themselves through even though the actual feat isn't productive, how fucked up is that???

Yup.  You just described my entire family of siblings.

Edited to add: I actually had some time to chat with my spouse this weekend.  That never happens.  I expressed frustration about my physical abilities - as I age, with stress - I just can't DO things that I used to be able to do, or that others can do.  I seem to surround myself with "more" - faster runners, stronger weightlifters, etc.  Which makes me feel like I suck. And it's sort of exhausting navigating everything.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2019, 12:35:35 PM by mm1970 »

Nederstash

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #77 on: August 19, 2019, 01:25:23 PM »
Gosh, there were so many good posts in here that I read this morning that I lost track, and cannot even figure out how to respond to all of them.  For sure, I see that burnout is more of a risk to me when I get older.  And to my husband.  But I cannot fix him.  HE has to decide to not burn himself out.  He was at work until 12:45 am.  Ahem.

The physical symptoms are super hard because you are already well down the path.  One of the ways that I've been dealing with my stress is exercise - specifically running.  I don't love running.  I'm not built like a runner.  But it burns off stress.  Lately though, it's been a struggle due to wearout.  Just...hips, back, hamstrings.  I am finding that in order to run, and get faster (there's that Type-A thing again), I am having to carefully craft my life.  The right amount of foam rolling and stretching.  Eat certain foods at certain times.  Think about giving up coffee - I have been plagued with digestive issues for a couple of years.  Mostly gluten but there are other things too (prob stress).  I spent 2 weeks on vacation in Copenhagen with almost ZERO digestive issues.  Yet back here, I have issues.  The food?  The stress? Ugh, I just want to run a 10k without suffering the rest of the day.

Many folks at my office are into the burnout phase - especially the older ones - I can feel it myself at 49, and it hits harder and earlier for older folks.  I have been working at home a lot this summer because it decreases my interaction with difficult people.  Because everyone is so stressed!

Quote
Society idiotically practically worships suffering and sacrifice as virtuous, which is fundamentally unhealthy, but it is what it is.
People admire the marathon runner for the hell they put themselves through even though the actual feat isn't productive, how fucked up is that???

Yup.  You just described my entire family of siblings.

Edited to add: I actually had some time to chat with my spouse this weekend.  That never happens.  I expressed frustration about my physical abilities - as I age, with stress - I just can't DO things that I used to be able to do, or that others can do.  I seem to surround myself with "more" - faster runners, stronger weightlifters, etc.  Which makes me feel like I suck. And it's sort of exhausting navigating everything.

Skip a workout and just take a nice stroll with your husband. Not a hike, not a run. A stroll. Maybe an hour or so. Talk about random shit, no heavy stuff. Just BE for a bit. My therapist told me last week: you need to learn to accept the discomfort of not doing something perfectly.
 
(I'm talking here like I have all the answers, lol. I really don't. All of the good bits come from friends and my therapist!)

swashbucklinstache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #78 on: August 19, 2019, 02:26:24 PM »
But it was like watching someone else from a separate dimension. I could see my hands cleaning the bathroom sink or cleaning out cupboards at 9pm and I could not stop it. Woman, what are you doing? I don't know, I can't actually stop myself.

It's very possible this is just a matter of a phrasing on your part for emphasis, but please don't ignore this. Talk to your doctor and include this in a list of symptoms you're experiencing. I am not a doctor and I'm not suggesting this is happening for you, but meant as an example of a new mental feeling for you that might be representative of a real, identifiable illness caused by being stressed: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depersonalization-derealization-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20352911

Not that you have a shortage of other symptoms to discuss with the Dr.!

Good luck too, of course. We're all rooting for ya.

Tris Prior

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #79 on: August 20, 2019, 11:50:29 AM »
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.

Raenia

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #80 on: August 20, 2019, 12:58:53 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.

Honestly?  I would start by uninviting that houseguest, because she sounds like a terrible guest.  A guest in your house should be grateful, not critical, no matter what the house looks like when they arrive.  Deep cleaning is not that important, your feelings and ability to rest are more important.

Secondly, DO NOT add more things to your plate right now.  A second job or new side hustle is only going to hurt, right now.  You do what you CAN, there is no "Enough."  "Enough" has a habit of expanding to always be one more thing than you're currently doing, until you collapse.

Can your boyfriend help out more with cleaning and errands?  I don't know what your situation is or how established the relationship is.  Anything you can take off your plate is a good thing.  Most importantly, when you take these things off your schedule, DO NOT replace them.  The space where you used to do dishes (or whatever) should be replaced with quiet time, maybe playing with your cats or taking a walk.  NOT work.

We all have to start somewhere.

As for how to let these things go without feeling like a failure, I can only suggest that you think about a few generations ago, where this amount of work would have been handled by two whole people - one to go out and work, come home and just relax, and one to handle cooking and cleaning and errands, and not work outside the home.  Because managing a home is a full time job!  It sounds like you are essentially working 2.5 jobs between home, work, and side hustle.  That's pretty impressive!  You should hardly be ashamed of not being able to keep that many balls in the air with no help.  The only thing you can do to stop dropping balls, is to juggle fewer balls in the first place.

Tris Prior

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #81 on: August 20, 2019, 01:14:55 PM »

Exercise, on the other hand, has always been the easiest thing to let go.  Normally I have tried to just add exercise onto my existing schedule, but obviously that doesn't work.  So I need to choose which other thing I am currently doing will be removed to make space.  And then do that same process for each additional self-care task that I need, until I don't feel overwhelmed anymore.

This is so true. When I started feeling really overwhelmed earlier this summer I felt that the only thing that could really be pruned from my schedule is my weekly dance class. And I'm still feeling overwhelmed! My problem is, what else to remove? Lately, I've been removing cleaning and household chores (other than bare minimum like cleaning cat boxes and keeping the dishes clean and out of the sink so that the cats don't lick them or take silverware and go running through the house with it in their mouths, I wish I were kidding but that is what happens!), but look where that left me, having to now spend this week emergency-cleaning so my landlord doesn't freak out and my houseguest doesn't spend the entire weekend shaming me because my floors feel gritty and my cabinets and fridge are sticky and the shower's gross!

Malkynn

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #82 on: August 20, 2019, 01:25:07 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.

It starts with accepting that basic adulting is essentially a full time job as it is.

I only work 2-3 days a week and everyone constantly asks me what I do with all of my free time, and I look at them like they have three heads, because just existing in a functional way takes up, like, ALL OF MY TIME!

I usually reply with "well, you know that long list of things you should do, but don't have time for? Yeah, mine's done"

It takes A LOT of time to sleep properly, eat properly, shop and cook, exercise, clean, stay on top of paperwork, stay on top of house maintenance and improvement, stay in contact with friends and family, meditate, go to medical appointments, maintain hobbies, pursue constant self-enrichment and learning, be involved in your community, volunteer, vote in all levels of government while staying up on the relevant voting matters in order to be a responsible agent of democracy, foster romance with your partner, keep yourself well manicured, keep your pets well manicured, and I'm not even going to touch on everything to do with kids!

Trust me, as someone who is currently on a month of leave, just living well takes up most of the day, and even then it's easy to fall behind. It's only once I realized that that I finally took the pressure off of myself to always do more, and to start being exceedingly wary of taking on more work, as I *know* that I have *just enough* resources to live really well and work just a little bit. Any increase on the work front, and something on the wellness front has to give.

Tris Prior

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #83 on: August 20, 2019, 02:05:22 PM »

It starts with accepting that basic adulting is essentially a full time job as it is.


I agree with you, and it SUCKS! I do not want my life to be get up, go to work, come home, do chores, sleep. And on weekends, get up early, run around like a crazy person doing the errands that I can't do after work, do more chores, sleep. (And that's not even getting into time spent correcting others' mistakes; a couple of recent examples for me were tracking down misdelivered packages and trying to figure out why my dentist was billing me way more for my broken tooth than the insurance said I owed.) If I were actually on top of everything that needs to get done, that is what my life would look like. No time for Boyfriend, for friends, for volunteering, for social activity, for anything that I find fun or relaxing or calming.

A lot of people tell me I should simplify my life by quitting gardening, but growing my own food is really important to me and part of me thinks, really, I have to give up something that I really enjoy so that I can instead scrub the toilet and vacuum more frequently and cook more (I LOATHE cooking)? I find that incredibly depressing, to be honest. That doesn't feel like living. That feels like drudgery.


mm1970

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #84 on: August 20, 2019, 02:56:23 PM »

Exercise, on the other hand, has always been the easiest thing to let go.  Normally I have tried to just add exercise onto my existing schedule, but obviously that doesn't work.  So I need to choose which other thing I am currently doing will be removed to make space.  And then do that same process for each additional self-care task that I need, until I don't feel overwhelmed anymore.

This is so true. When I started feeling really overwhelmed earlier this summer I felt that the only thing that could really be pruned from my schedule is my weekly dance class. And I'm still feeling overwhelmed! My problem is, what else to remove? Lately, I've been removing cleaning and household chores (other than bare minimum like cleaning cat boxes and keeping the dishes clean and out of the sink so that the cats don't lick them or take silverware and go running through the house with it in their mouths, I wish I were kidding but that is what happens!), but look where that left me, having to now spend this week emergency-cleaning so my landlord doesn't freak out and my houseguest doesn't spend the entire weekend shaming me because my floors feel gritty and my cabinets and fridge are sticky and the shower's gross!

Ahem.  You can pry my house cleaner (she/they come every 2 weeks) out of my cold, dead hands.

OtherJen

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #85 on: August 20, 2019, 05:53:16 PM »

Exercise, on the other hand, has always been the easiest thing to let go.  Normally I have tried to just add exercise onto my existing schedule, but obviously that doesn't work.  So I need to choose which other thing I am currently doing will be removed to make space.  And then do that same process for each additional self-care task that I need, until I don't feel overwhelmed anymore.

This is so true. When I started feeling really overwhelmed earlier this summer I felt that the only thing that could really be pruned from my schedule is my weekly dance class. And I'm still feeling overwhelmed! My problem is, what else to remove? Lately, I've been removing cleaning and household chores (other than bare minimum like cleaning cat boxes and keeping the dishes clean and out of the sink so that the cats don't lick them or take silverware and go running through the house with it in their mouths, I wish I were kidding but that is what happens!), but look where that left me, having to now spend this week emergency-cleaning so my landlord doesn't freak out and my houseguest doesn't spend the entire weekend shaming me because my floors feel gritty and my cabinets and fridge are sticky and the shower's gross!

Yeah, your houseguest needs to not be a houseguest. Recommend a good hotel and suggest that she book a room.  Or suggest that she help bring it up to her standards, since you're helping her avoid a room fee.

Tris Prior

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #86 on: August 20, 2019, 06:21:21 PM »
Ahem.  You can pry my house cleaner (she/they come every 2 weeks) out of my cold, dead hands.

I floated that idea past Boyfriend and he said absolutely not. He's uncomfortable with strangers in our apartment touching our stuff. I told him I'd schedule it on the 1 day a week I WFH but he's still uncomfortable. Honestly, we really can't afford it anyway.


Yeah, your houseguest needs to not be a houseguest. Recommend a good hotel and suggest that she book a room.  Or suggest that she help bring it up to her standards, since you're helping her avoid a room fee.

That's what everyone tells me to do but I feel uncomfortable with that because she lets us stay with her for free all the time in her city. In her house that is pristine and never has any pet hair in it despite her having twice as many pets as we do. This is Boyfriend's best friend and he doesn't want to turn her away. He thinks I should just tell her to F off when she criticizes me (this only happens when he is out of earshot, and no, she does not think the condition of our apartment has anything to do with Boyfriend's cleaning abilities or lack thereof because he is male). I just find it hard because she's right, I am a shitty housekeeper. It just hurts to have it pointed out to me, you know?

Raenia

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #87 on: August 20, 2019, 06:40:49 PM »
Ahem.  You can pry my house cleaner (she/they come every 2 weeks) out of my cold, dead hands.

I floated that idea past Boyfriend and he said absolutely not. He's uncomfortable with strangers in our apartment touching our stuff. I told him I'd schedule it on the 1 day a week I WFH but he's still uncomfortable. Honestly, we really can't afford it anyway.


Yeah, your houseguest needs to not be a houseguest. Recommend a good hotel and suggest that she book a room.  Or suggest that she help bring it up to her standards, since you're helping her avoid a room fee.

That's what everyone tells me to do but I feel uncomfortable with that because she lets us stay with her for free all the time in her city. In her house that is pristine and never has any pet hair in it despite her having twice as many pets as we do. This is Boyfriend's best friend and he doesn't want to turn her away. He thinks I should just tell her to F off when she criticizes me (this only happens when he is out of earshot, and no, she does not think the condition of our apartment has anything to do with Boyfriend's cleaning abilities or lack thereof because he is male). I just find it hard because she's right, I am a shitty housekeeper. It just hurts to have it pointed out to me, you know?

If BF is the one who insists on hosting her, why isn't he the one scrubbing down the floors?  If he gets to invite her to stay, he gets to share the chores to get ready.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #88 on: August 20, 2019, 07:46:46 PM »
Ahem.  You can pry my house cleaner (she/they come every 2 weeks) out of my cold, dead hands.

I floated that idea past Boyfriend and he said absolutely not. He's uncomfortable with strangers in our apartment touching our stuff. I told him I'd schedule it on the 1 day a week I WFH but he's still uncomfortable. Honestly, we really can't afford it anyway.


Yeah, your houseguest needs to not be a houseguest. Recommend a good hotel and suggest that she book a room.  Or suggest that she help bring it up to her standards, since you're helping her avoid a room fee.

That's what everyone tells me to do but I feel uncomfortable with that because she lets us stay with her for free all the time in her city. In her house that is pristine and never has any pet hair in it despite her having twice as many pets as we do. This is Boyfriend's best friend and he doesn't want to turn her away. He thinks I should just tell her to F off when she criticizes me (this only happens when he is out of earshot, and no, she does not think the condition of our apartment has anything to do with Boyfriend's cleaning abilities or lack thereof because he is male). I just find it hard because she's right, I am a shitty housekeeper. It just hurts to have it pointed out to me, you know?

If someone staying at mine pointed out that I'm a shitty housekeeper (which I am), I'd be suggesting that maybe they take that over or stfu. Meanwhile, who the hell care if you're a shitty housekeeper? Better things to do, better places to be and no one has died yet, right???

okcisok

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #89 on: August 20, 2019, 10:17:57 PM »
I've gotten so much out of this thread in the few days since I discovered it. There are too many insightful, delightful, helpful tips to give credit, so just assume that I've quoted nearly everything written here so far.

I've spend the last few days really deep thinking about what I want and need (something I haven't been encouraged to think about, nor seen many examples of in my life). My neck finally quit hurting, I've slept better, and I've let go of some things at work. I left at 4:30 today to come home and take a nap! No explanations, no notifications, just said "see you tomorrow!" to the receptionist and sailed on out the door.

Instead of cancelling plans with a friend because WORK, I went to her house and we drank wine and worked on our hobby together. We vented and chatted and had a great time.
I've made a point of spending time with my dog in the morning, actually petting her and walking her, having nonsense conversations in a high-pitched voice because that's how I talk to animals (don't you??). Before, I'd rush her and tell her to hurry up and pee, for chrissakes, so I could get to work on time. Please note that I do NOT have a set work time--I was putting that pressure on myself.   That's a whole thread right there.

Thanks again to everyone who's posted here, for all of your kindness and deep thoughts.

MoolahLula

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #90 on: August 21, 2019, 04:47:33 AM »
@brunetteUK , you and this thread inspired me to call up an old doctorís office I used to visit, and I go Friday for lab work. 

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #91 on: August 21, 2019, 06:14:55 AM »
I've gotten so much out of this thread in the few days since I discovered it. There are too many insightful, delightful, helpful tips to give credit, so just assume that I've quoted nearly everything written here so far.

I've spend the last few days really deep thinking about what I want and need (something I haven't been encouraged to think about, nor seen many examples of in my life). My neck finally quit hurting, I've slept better, and I've let go of some things at work. I left at 4:30 today to come home and take a nap! No explanations, no notifications, just said "see you tomorrow!" to the receptionist and sailed on out the door.

Instead of cancelling plans with a friend because WORK, I went to her house and we drank wine and worked on our hobby together. We vented and chatted and had a great time.
I've made a point of spending time with my dog in the morning, actually petting her and walking her, having nonsense conversations in a high-pitched voice because that's how I talk to animals (don't you??). Before, I'd rush her and tell her to hurry up and pee, for chrissakes, so I could get to work on time. Please note that I do NOT have a set work time--I was putting that pressure on myself.   That's a whole thread right there.

Thanks again to everyone who's posted here, for all of your kindness and deep thoughts.

Ever taken your dog for a dog-centered walk? This is where you stop whenever and for however long they want to sniff, and you let them decide where to go at each corner. Your job is to hold the lead, pick up poop, and supervise road crossings. Otherwise it's all on them. It's hilarious where you end up.

magnet18

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #92 on: August 21, 2019, 06:27:21 AM »
So sorry for what you're going through, just know that it can happen to the best of us.  Einstein himself got burned out and then put significant thought into the topic if you're curious what he had to say.  I know a guy at work who, after his phd, essentially spent a year sitting on the couch drinking beer.  Now he's a respected scientist.  We all have limits, and the mind can take awhile to heal


Everyone is different, what you need is different, but a suggestion from someone not in your shoes is check out the marie kondo tidying up book.  DW and I find that going through our stuff and getting down to the minimum has huge mental clarity benefits and really helps put our life goals in perspective. 

afterthedark

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #93 on: August 21, 2019, 09:22:06 AM »
I have spent much of the last 15 years trying to recover from burnout, which for me came in the form of chronic fatigue syndrome. Iíve slowly identified lots of unhealthy beliefs, e.g. caring what others think of the tidiness of my house or garden, perfectionism about certain things, it not being ok to be ill or take time off work, not being able to achieve as much as other people, the long list goes on.

What Iíve realised more recently is pretty much all the unhealthy beliefs I have are really ĎIím not good enoughí. My garden isnít tidy enough so Iím not good enough, Iím not good enough because I achieve less than that person, Iím not good enough if Iím not in perfect health, etc. Iím listening to the book ĎI heart meí by David R Hamilton, which Iím finding really helpful, if this is something that others can identify with.

The thing I found interesting about beliefs is apparently they often get formed before weíre 8íish. Obviously at that age you arenít considering logically if a belief makes sense or not, you are just learning things from the people around you. The throw away comment they make when they are preoccupied, or the health or money worries they think they are hiding but you are still aware of on some level, can become unhelpful beliefs that have a life long impact on you.

Raenia

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #94 on: August 21, 2019, 10:01:08 AM »
Oh, so much yes on the not being sick or taking time off work!

This morning I woke up feeling ugh and like I could use another 3 hours of sleep.  Normally I would just force it, get up, and go to work.  I thought about getting up, and then I thought, DH sometimes takes a sick day 'just' because he didn't sleep well, and I don't think any less of him for it.  Why shouldn't I do the same thing?  So I called out, went back to sleep, and am now having a leisurely day at home doing some tidying and reading.

I was very proud of myself last year for not taking any sick days!  But why?  Why is not being sick, or not taking care of myself when I don't feel well, something to feel proud of?  Of course, it isn't at all.  Amazing how long it took me to figure that out.

mm1970

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #95 on: August 21, 2019, 10:38:27 AM »
Ahem.  You can pry my house cleaner (she/they come every 2 weeks) out of my cold, dead hands.

I floated that idea past Boyfriend and he said absolutely not. He's uncomfortable with strangers in our apartment touching our stuff. I told him I'd schedule it on the 1 day a week I WFH but he's still uncomfortable. Honestly, we really can't afford it anyway.


Yeah, your houseguest needs to not be a houseguest. Recommend a good hotel and suggest that she book a room.  Or suggest that she help bring it up to her standards, since you're helping her avoid a room fee.

That's what everyone tells me to do but I feel uncomfortable with that because she lets us stay with her for free all the time in her city. In her house that is pristine and never has any pet hair in it despite her having twice as many pets as we do. This is Boyfriend's best friend and he doesn't want to turn her away. He thinks I should just tell her to F off when she criticizes me (this only happens when he is out of earshot, and no, she does not think the condition of our apartment has anything to do with Boyfriend's cleaning abilities or lack thereof because he is male). I just find it hard because she's right, I am a shitty housekeeper. It just hurts to have it pointed out to me, you know?

If someone staying at mine pointed out that I'm a shitty housekeeper (which I am), I'd be suggesting that maybe they take that over or stfu. Meanwhile, who the hell care if you're a shitty housekeeper? Better things to do, better places to be and no one has died yet, right???
Or point out that BOYFRIEND is a shitty housekeeper.  If you don't like it, here's the vacuum.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #96 on: August 21, 2019, 01:38:46 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)
« Last Edit: August 21, 2019, 01:49:04 PM by brunetteUK »

Malkynn

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #97 on: August 21, 2019, 01:49:09 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

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?"

It's the only way I know how to show love ;)
And yeah, that's exactly the kind of thinking I was hoping to trigger.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #98 on: August 21, 2019, 01:58:38 PM »
I think itís more that some of us donít realize how bad the mental health has gotten until the physical symptoms kick in and force a slowdown. I donít think we can be blamed for not recognizing the mental symptoms if we grew up in a Type A-rewarding society and were never even taught about mental health. My dad regularly worked 60+ hours per week when I was growing up. At 68, my mom still regularly works 45-50 hour weeks. It was my norm.

I was an academic biomedical scientist in my former life. I lived in that bubble for more than a decade. The only visible path to success (i.e., tenure) was to work 60-80 hours per week and run oneself ragged. The junior faculty member across the hall ended up hospitalized for heart palpitations (from stress) when I was in grad school. One of my classmates developed shingles at age 25 (stress). Another ended up hospitalized with gastritis (stress), and a third with severe vitamin D deficiency (poor diet, lack of sun exposure due to long lab days). Although my celiac disease kicked in at the beginning of PhD year 4, I didnít get really worried and consider slowing down until postdoc, when I was hit with an unexplained bout of rectal bleeding and a subsequent bout of pertussis (which was awful and I absolutely understand how kids die from it, and yes, I had been vaccinated).

Yeah, I wasnít sleeping by the end. My post doc advisor recommended that I take sleeping pills because it was the only way that she could sleep. I was anxious all the time, but so was everyone else around me. One good grad school friend was on three separate meds for anxiety. The anxiety and stress were accepted as normal. You learned quickly not to even talk about them except with close friends (and only at the peer level) because it would make you look weak. The physical symptoms were what the culture accepted as problematic.

The culture sucks. No question. I donít think the answer is to blame people for not paying more attention to mental health when it is not even obvious to us that those symptoms are abnormal.

This story and similar ones helped me so much to come out of denial. I read it and found it absurd! But of course someone can read my story, my normal and find that absurd.

I'm not from Asian background but my parents can be described as Tiger Parents. When I was talking to my mom today I was ready for "because in my days, we worked 300 hours a week and were grateful bla bla bla" instead she said "I only regret not taking care of myself when I went through what you are experiencing at the moment. It was a different time and a different culture or maybe I just could not see that is was an option, but it was so hard. You should take all the resources available to you to make you feel better".

Another "fuck" moment.

brunetteUK

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Re: How do you recover from burnout? ALL advice and compassion appreciated
« Reply #99 on: August 21, 2019, 02:04:27 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.