How To Recover From Burnout - Part 3
Updated: Oct 14, 2022
The intention of this blog series is to bring more awareness to burnout, to make it more tangible vs something that happens to someone out there and not to us, to recognize how burnout could be showing up in our life and what steps we can take to recover from it.
The third and last post of the series will focus on what we can do to truly recover from burnout and get back our passion and energy, and what practices we need to put in place to prevent another burnout.
Whether you're in the midst of burnout, just starting to feel it, or feeling completely drained and exhausted, know that you CAN recover fully, that it IS possible for you to feel that spark, creativity, and aliveness within you again, and that it's just about making small changes right now to nourish and recharge your mind, body & soul.
Your recovery time will depend on how much you've overextended yourself: if you've been pushing past your limits and been feeling exhausted for months / years, you're going to need longer to recover than if you've noticed the first signs of burnout a few weeks ago and have already started to course-correct.
Wherever you are, know that:
🧘♀️ there is wisdom in your body: let your body (and not your mind!) be the authority on how much time you need to recover
And you will know when you've recovered because you'll feel differently, have more energy, you'll feel the inner spark, aliveness and joy again, you'll start to become more creative, you'll naturally want to start giving again, spending time with others, doing things that are fun.
🗺️ it's a journey, which will be different for all of us and you are the only one who can determine how long you and your body need
We're all on our own journey and so much will depend on what context we find ourselves in:
(over)working / parenting full-time
the amount of time we dedicate to our self-care and nourishment
our unconscious patterns & mindset
our coping strategies + personality
how strong our boundaries are
how long we've been experiencing burnout,
whether we're working with a coach / therapist or recovering on our own, etc.
After my first burnout (you can read more about it in part one of the series), when I pushed myself for almost 2,5 years, it took me at least 6 months to get my inner strength back and 8 months to fully recover. My second and third burnout took a few months because I course-corrected as soon as I noticed the first warning signs, and so I recovered fairly quickly. Again, this is my experience and it will be different for all of us.
The first steps towards getting back your energy
If you've ever experienced burnout, you'll know that simply reducing working hours / workload and getting more rest / sleep won't be enough.
Once you drive your mind, body, and soul to a place of exhaustion, your whole system needs time to recover. Plan for that and give yourself time. That does include slowing down on the amount of activities, but it's much more than that.
It's important to give ourselves permission to be where we are. It's ok. It really is. It doesn't mean anything about us, but it does mean we need to make some changes to how we are being with ourselves as we're moving towards our goals, through life and to start listening to the parts of ourselves that have been trying to let us know that they need rest. It means going from self-abandonment to self-nourishment.
💗 Establish regular & nourishing self-care practices
I love this quote by one of my teachers Camilla Loesch: "Work needs to be followed by recovery."
A lot of us live in cultures that often glorify and even reward hustling and overworking, and we tend to forget that REST is an essential part of our well-being and even productivity:
it gives our bodies and our cells a chance to renew and recover
it supports our brains in problem-solving, creative ideas, finding new information
it's like a charger that fills our energetic battery so that we can focus on work and other things that need our attention
Rest can mean different things to different people: some get recharged if they Netflix & Chill in bed the whole day, for others that's being in nature, doing yoga, sleeping, spending time with friends... You get to decide what recharges you.
A part of rest and recovery is to implement regular nourishing self-care practices into your life: this ensures that you recharge daily, but it also helps you feel better and more connected with yourself and your truth, which in turn helps you make choices that feel more aligned with you.
If you are currently experiencing burnout, I recommed loooooots of self-care practices on a daily basis. And by that, I don't just mean massages, bubble baths and journaling: I mean spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical activities that nourish and replenish you (these will be different for everyone):
🧘♀️ Spiritual: gratitude practice, prayer, channeling
🧠 Mental: inquiry work, meditation
💗 Emotional: being with friends, playing with your kids / nephews, self-forgiveness work, journaling, EFT, breathwork
🏃🏽♂️Physical: walks in nature, outdoor adventures, traveling, dancing, yoga, working out
What works for your energy in terms of self-care? What gives you energy and how can you enhance that?
🙏 Doing the inner work
I recommend working with a coach or therapist to do this because often, we need to address the underlying patterns of behavior that drive us into overextending ourselves / not having strong & healthy boundaries. Unless these are reprogrammed at the root, they will keep on unconsciously driving us and there's a big chance that we'll fall back into the old pattern of overextending ourselves, being over-responsible, and having blurred boundaries, which can lead to another burnout later on.
Some questions you can ask yourself:
What do I fear would happen if I slow down?
Is overextending myself bringing me closer to what I want and the life I want to live?
What am I choosing?
🚫 Set clear boundaries
Make your well-being a priority and don't negotiate on things that nourish and energize you.
Really carve out time for those activities and make sure you know how much work you can take on to function at your best (this may mean not taking on another project for the time being and saying no) and how much time you need to recharge.
Usually, when we're in a sprint / a more work-heavy period, we need EVEN MORE NOURISHMENT to counter-balance all the energy we're using up, and not LESS, which is what mostly happens.
Setting boundaries can look like asking your family or your partner to take care of the kids a few times a week, not working overtime, not looking at your emails after 6pm or on the weekends, taking time for yourself with no distractions...
Will it be challenging? Yes. Will it be rewarding and will it help you get your energy back? Yes.
If you want to know how to set strong and healthy boundaries, read my in-depth post on boundaries here.
Preventing a(nother) burnout
Those of us who've experienced burnout will know that it's something we don't ever want to experience again. It's not a fun experience: along with not feeling well, the exhaustion, and emptiness, self-judgments, there's also fear of whether we'll ever fully feel like ourselves and get our spark back.
Luckily, our bodies are magical and they DO recover fully IF we listen and give them what they need.
No matter if you've ever experienced burnout or not, here are a few things all of us can pay attention to and do in our lives to prevent us from burning out:
Prioritize your well-being above all. If you're not feeling well and are running empty, you won't be able to GIVE to others, to your projects, your work.
Have a regular self-care routine that fills you up, whether that's dancing, meditation, time with friends & family, cooking, reading - whatever nourishes YOU.
Ah, this one. Add more playfulness and fun to your days! We can take life and ourselves sooo seriously that we forget to laugh, have fun, be silly. Life is more than just projects and timelines and success - it's the FUN PART that makes it FUN!
Be creative. Creativity is one of the best things to fill us up, whether that's doing a DIY project, starting a side business, writing a book, painting - we have so much creative energy and if we're brave enough to share it with the world and bring it to life, it's one of the most fulfilling things we can do.
Start setting strong boundaries, especially between work and private life, with other people, with parenting and time for yourself.
Do your inner work. Work with a coach or a therapist - this will not only help you become more aware of yourself, why you react the way you do, why you are the way you are, think the thoghts you think, but it will also support you in reprograming old patterns and limitations so you'll be able to see a bigger picture and possibilities you weren't able to notice before.
Know your burnout warning signs: become more aware of the cues of your body and notice how burnout shows up for you (tiredness, irritation, neglecting your needs, inner emptiness, lack of focus, resistance...). What are your red flags? And then start course-correcting with lots of nourishment + changes
If our intention is to be the best partners, parents, friends, coworkers, bosses, to powerfully serve and change the world, etc. we have to be at our highest energy, which happens when we are rested, fulfilled, happy, connected with ourselves and in alignment with our truth.
We HAVE TO charge ourselves first and make sure that our minimal energy is always at 100% to function at our best. Only when we overflow with energy, only what's above 100% is what we can truly give to others. When we're overflowing, we can give the most. When we're empty, there's barely anything to give.
You don't have to believe me, but I do invite you to think about it and observe it for yourself:
How does it impact your relationships, your work, and your well-being when you're exhausted and drained? How do you treat yourself and your loved ones? How much can you give? What is the quality of what you give? Are you more productive from this place?
How does it impact your relationship, work, and other areas of your life when you feel full, fulfilled, happy, and recharged? How do you treat yourself and others? How much can you give? What is the quality of what you give? How productive are you from this place?
Recovering from burnout is a process and getting professional support can help us shortcut our recovery.
I needed 6 months after my burnout to start functioning properly and it would have taken longer had I not started working with a coach. I tried to get better on my own for the first 4 months, but I didn't notice a big improvement, so I got support and within a few months I noticed huge changes in my energy and well-being.
Whether you choose to work with a coach or not, I've created an additional resource for anyone who may be experiencing burnout: a beautiful & powerful workshop Overcome Burnout And Get Back Your Passion And Energy, which will help you start making the first steps to getting back your aliveness and your spark.
It's going to be nurturing & nourishing, we'll do some deeper work around what's been causing you to burnout so you can avoid another burnout in the future and you'll recognize exactly what nourishment YOU need and how to start implementing it to your life right away to start feeling better.
Join us or share it with a loved one, who could benefit from it: it takes place next Wednesday, 28.09. at 17:30 CEST - I truly can't wait to see you there! 🎉
Share in the comments what you found most helpful from this post and what helped you overcome burnout - I would love to hear your insights.👇
With all my love & gratitude
Catch up on previous posts from the series:
1️⃣ First part: Understanding Burnout And Recognizing The Warning Signs
2️⃣ Second part: How Burnout Is Related To Stress And Why Some Of Us Burn Out And Others Don't