Rebuilding your life after burnout

Deep peace of the running wave to you

Deep peace of the flowing air to you

Deep peace of the quiet Earth to you

Deep peace of the shining stars to you

Deep peace of the gentle night to you

Moon and stars 

Pour their beaming light upon you

Deep peace of the infinite to you

Celtic blessing

With some beautiful changes happening in my life recently (I got married and moved to Copenhagen!), I’ve also been going through a pretty deep burnout.

Although I have much better systems in place than I used to – especially since I started working for myself – a lot of things have been thrown out of balance and started slipping, without me being able to do much about it.

There’s been Covid, of course. And being stuck in environments I can’t change or thrive in for over a year, as well as a lot of uncertainty, change, and lack of personal space. My autism has blown up and I’m more affected by loud noises and can’t easily regulate my emotions. My mind has been reluctant to do anything – focus, be creative, make decisions, recall what I heard five minutes ago… on the worst days, anything.

As I start my life in Denmark with Iain, I’m putting the pieces back together again.

I’ve burned myself out before, primarily before I left my full-time job nearly three years ago, but this year’s edition has been a contender even with that.

After losing what feels like all focus, as well as most of my motivation and just plain energy, I’m not sure how I used to do it.

One thing I don’t think many people mention is how burnout affects your identity. When you go from feeling like a creative and focused person to someone who can’t remember how they used to just pick up a pen and write – or even have any desire to do so – it’s about more than just exhaustion. It’s about questioning who you are. That’s pretty terrifying – and a call to make some changes, fast.

If there’s something to gain from this, and there is, it’s a reminder to rest and take up the opportunity to build things differently. Covid is shaking up the world for all of us, but the silver lining is the same: the chance to pause, reflect, pivot, and do things differently from now on.

During burnout is the time to ask:

What is out of balance in my life?

How can I create stronger frameworks to exist and thrive?

How can I allow more time for walks, yoga, and sitting quietly with my mind and breath?

How can I escape into the words and worlds imagined by others and craft my own?

How can I go further into nature and let the world show me the way?

Getting out of burnout requires a total rethinking of things. It means rebuilding the foundations of your life from scratch, this time in a more sustainable way.

It also requires accepting where you are. I love the process of creation – of bringing something that didn’t exist before into the world. But even when I’m not doing that right now, I’m still me. Just as when you’re not on top form, you’re still you. And we’re both enough.

I moved with Iain to Copenhagen a week ago and we’re each building our foundations here, together and alone. I’m thinking hard about what I want my life to look like: transitioning further from my consulting business to my creative business and setting aside more time for rest and being lost in thought.

There are books I want to finish writing and projects to launch, but it starts with slowing down and taking a breath first.

What about you: are you making sure to pause and breathe? And what do you need to know right now?

Sending love, no matter where you are on your journey right now.

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