I burned out last year after 7 months of doing daft hours and trying to keep my head above water on the project I was doing. All in all (perversely) when I managed to get my sorry arse back up off the ground, it’s been a *VERY LARGE LEARNING EXPERIENCE* and it’s actually improved my life. It’s certainly given me plenty to think about.
Here’s what I’ve found…
1. You need all of the sleep. And the naps. For months after you’ve crashed. This isn’t sloth, it’s healing.
2. You will still have days where your brain refuses to work properly. This is the nature of your recovery, rearrange things if necessary to accommodate for this, you probably have more agency than you give yourself credit for. Be aware that if you have 1 good day, the next day you might have a day where it’s like you’ve eaten a great big slice of stupid pie, and that’s ok.
3. You start saying “no” – a lot.
4. Your thoughts of “omg, it’s all going to go wrong and argh etc” can be beaten into submission as you now recognise they are just thoughts. Your brain is throwing things at you in response to all the cortisol that’s bombing through it and often nothing based on reality.
5. You realise that anti-depressants are not the worst thing in the world.
6. You practise Mindfulness meditation which can be really helpful in quelling the incessant head noise. It’s actually not a pile of old hippy bollocks.
7. The step off the hamster wheel is something brilliant and caring that you are doing for yourself. You are not weak but you are tired.
8. Your loved ones like you happy.
9. You stop putting too much pressure on yourself. “Your kids would rather have frozen lasagne from a happy mom, than a perfect home cooked meal from a witch”.
10. You can only concentrate on a limited number of things at a time. However you resist the urge to beat yourself up about this and go have a nice cuppa.