Monday, August 8, 2016

Burnout: Continued...

I wrote about burnout at the start of the year, and I think that was just the beginning of things. In that post, I talked about how fighting burnout just doesn't work because there's nothing to swing at, and I still believe that is true. But guess what? I tried to fight through it, anyway.

I didn't even really realise that was what I was doing until recently. I felt like I 'should be better by now' and that maybe I was just being lazy, or pretending, or just wasting everyone's time... Yeh, a lot of old stuff started coming up for me, and I somehow convinced myself that it might be true this time. So I told myself that that was what other people in my life were secretly thinking (untrue) and that I needed to "get my act together" (not even sure I know what this means). So I pushed, did more chores, started looking for a new place (Xin and I are moving soon), started freaking out about our cat (she was a bit sick recently) and trying to fix her by myself, all the while ignoring all the symptoms that were popping up, or the warning signs that indicated I needed to just slow down.

This has happened so many times before, and I really felt like I ought to know how to deal with it properly, but even this time it took a few conversations with Xin for me to realise what I had been putting myself through.

The thing is, burnout doesn't just go away when you are ready for it to be gone. It can sometimes be a ridiculously extended process - especially when you push yourself to get more things done - and I'm afraid that with all my experience of burnout, the main thing to remember is to let go. (Sure, go ahead, sing the Frozen song. You know it's already in your head.) Find your balance again. Forget about forcing things to work, and take some time to just be. 

Right now, I am going to drink some more bubble tea (okinawan brown sugar milk tea!) and read some more of the book I am loving at the moment (Nevernight by Jay Kristoff) and chill out for a while. Any links to burnout recovery are welcome below!

Love to all who read.

2 comments:

  1. One of my recent experiences with trying to recover from Burnout came ab out recently and I thought you might be interested. I've been trying to do so since the beginning of the year, much like you described. I'm overwrought and done in, exhausted and depleted - too much energy needing to go out and not enough to replace it. Or, if there's enough energy it's *just enough to keep the lights on* so to speak. Bare minimum levels.

    So I've been working hard on prioritising self-care and finding new ways for that to work for me. Things that have worked well in the past few months include:
    * Recognising that for all exhaustion means I need down time and quiet time, a lot of the time it's my extroverted self that needs recharging and I need the right kind of social energy or connection to fuel that, quiet time can help that a little, but not as much as a really good quality social experience might. So working out that was useful, and then working out ways to fill it when I'm really low energy was a thing.

    I've asked a few friends to check in on me periodically in case I've gotten too low energy to initiate/organise something so that it's easier to do so with the poke. Also, I've got close friends coming over to my place for dinner semi-regularly which is one of the best things I've done as their energy is familiar and wonderful and makes everything better every time. Plus, it's low energy because I don't have to go anywhere and providing food is a thing I can do well and without much extra stress/difficulty. So max reward, minimum outlay.

    Another thing has been regular scheduled but light on commitment skype/vid chat dates with a couple of my Perth friends I miss, like Helen (@Dilettantiquity). And they too have been magnificent for social energy influx but take almost no effort to do, I just 'turn up' and there's wonderfulness. It's helped so much.

    I'm doing more conscious timing of things so that I am not 'on' all the time or merely switching productivity gears. I found recently when I was sick that I didn't have the concentration to read or do uni work or much of anything - so I played a lot of silly app games on my phone that were all fluffy timesinks and no actual thought needed. Turns out, that's one of the things I needed most... the non-productive down time of just *wasting* time or nothingness and relaxing. I also slept lots which was probably a great thing too. I didn't plan things and just let myself do whatever I wanted in the moment, and that helped too.

    Lastly, the Jamberry nails stuff and in conjunction with that more focus on pampering of self in general has been helpful. It's a pick me up and it feels nice, smells nice and takes time that I'm relaxing and not using a screen so much or focusing on producing something. It's purely for me as a care gesture so it lessens my anxiety and blocks some of the anxious habits I have too (like finger/nail/cuticle picking).

    So it's been an interesting journey for me too with burnout and recovery - while still needing to maintain outward commitments for uni, prac, and family stuff.

    *hugs* Well wishes for your burnout and self care and feeling more resilient and recovered lovely.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for sharing your own experiences, >loves<! The things that you have been trying to do sound so great, and like you are really learning what you need specifically really well. It has taken me so long just to realise that what I need may not necessarily be what other people need - that feels odd, but I am getting there.

      I am mostly focusing my time on a small group of people that make me feel loved and supported, and not going much out of my way for others. Like you said, it's that kind of 'enough energy to keep the lights on', etc, and I find if I push myself even a little too much I end up grumpy and strung out all over again - and often teary to boot!

      I am sending you so much love and hugs for your self-care journey, too <3

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