It’s about 4 weeks since I realised that I was on the road to burnout, if I wasn’t already there and to tell you the truth, it’s probably one of the greatest things to have happened and would say it’s right up there with when my back went into spasm when I was 26, leading me to run a marathon, do something I never thought I could and embark on a career in fitness, helping others do the same! A blessing in disguise really!

It sounds like a silly thing to say especially given the impact it’s had on my health, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I believe we learn more from when things happen to us than we do from when we succeed.

The most important thing is that it’s forced me to stop, take a step back, reflect on everything I’m doing and it’s lead me to:

  • Stop trying to please everyone

  • Stop getting bogged down by tiny details and look at the bigger picture

  • Set a criteria for what I say yes to

The irony is, I used to practice this a lot, was a big part of who I am and how coach clients! I’d say that since the pandemic, I fell into the trap of listening to too many “gurus”, stepped away from the path I was on, started doing what I thought I should be doing, what others were doing only to dilute what I was doing and made me stand out and end up feeling lost.

A Better Journey

I’m really pleased this has happened as it’s forced me to stop and change the way I think. There’s no point in just resting otherwise I’d likely go back to repeating the behaviours that got me here in the first place. Besides, I’m rubbish at sitting down and doing nothing! Instead, I know exactly what to do, the little changes I can make that are within my control that will help my recovery and lead me onwards to a better place.

It feels like I’m going from putting the pieces together of a jigsaw to create the picture of someone else’s idea of the future me, but it doesn’t mean anything to me to knowing exactly what the picture looks like and working out which pieces go together, in the right place, at the right time to get there and I feel excited about the journey ahead!

I’ve already started to make decisions like:

  • Blocking off time in my diary to rest and set cut-off times in the evenings for finishing work

  • Go for walks into nature every day and ask myself what’s the one thing I can do today that will help me get to where I want to be. Sometimes it’s a task, other times it’s rest

  • Seeing food as medicine and only eat the foods I feel will help me rather than reach for easy snacks for the quick energy

  • Get back to enjoying coffee for the experience of making it and enjoying the flavour rather than get the caffeine hit to keep me going

The great thing is that all of these are part of my Move Better Feel Amazing coaching program. Another part is just doing things, being ok with not being able to do them perfectly, practicing, learning, failing and repeating until I can do them better and grow. This is the path I need to take to get to recovery and is the approach I ask my clients to take when it comes to exercising.

I’m feeling a lot better so far but I know I’ve got a long way to go, anticipate that there will be many bumps in the road but I feel excited about the journey ahead. I’ve also found Essentialism by Greg McKeown to be a great source of inspiration.

The most important thing is that I see burnout as my friend and my body will guide me on what it feels like it wants to do and when it’s time to stop or take it easy rather than see it as an obstacle that’s in my way.

If you feel like you’re heading towards burnout, or feel you’re there and struggling to make any progress or would like to know more about my Move Better Feel Amazing program, I’d love to hear from you!