My Personal Story of Burnout & Resurrection
My life in the city was fast-paced, stressful and there wasn’t much time or space for self-care. I was overweight and even though I had great friends and family, I’d never been in a relationship and wasn’t happy at my core. I knew there had to be way more to life than what I’d been living and I was determined to find out what that was.
I’d been working with the same company for 6 years and while it was a rewarding role it was also extremely challenging. The way that I approached it made it stressful and in hindsight, I was not on a great path in terms of my health and well-being.
Because I worked so hard during the week I balanced that out by partying on the weekends. I have very few regrets in my life, least of all the incredibly deep and lasting friendships that were built in these years. However, while partying can be bucket loads of fun at the time it is not (IMHO) a sustainable way of life and the fact is that I’d been living that way for years to the detriment of my well-being – physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
I travelled to India with my Mum in 2008 and that was a real turning point in my perspective on both how I wanted to live my life and how much of what I wanted my life to be was within my control (read: mostly all of it!!!).
In 2009, a couple of my friends moved to Byron Bay to continue their own healing journeys. I’d holidayed in the region for a number of years and loved it, but I’d never considered the possibility of moving away from my friends, family and a lucrative career in Melbourne to live anywhere. For some reason, my friends moving somewhere beautiful and not too far away, made it seem like a remote chance. I guess there are times in your life when things just seem to fit and to feel right.
Like Victor Hugo once said, nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.
I said to my friends at their going away party to let me know their movements over the next few months house-wise just in case I decided to move up. This sparked some decent excitement and even though at the time it was a seemingly throwaway line, a seed was planted. This was all of a sudden more than a remote chance, it was a possibility that I would carefully consider.
From there things shifted quickly. I contemplated the move over the next week and spent the following weekend calling on the wisdom of my sister, mother and best girlfriends to see if they thought this move would be beneficial for me. The feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive and by the Sunday night, my decision was made.
I met with my boss on Tuesday and handed him my resignation letter; I gave 2 months’ notice so we could find and train my replacement. It was a difficult meeting for me, I started crying as soon as I handed the letter over, I felt a deep sense of loyalty to this business and the people I worked with and I didn’t want to let them down. I’d also grown so much in my time there, but I knew this was something I had to do.
I left a good job, earning great money, senior in my field before my time and an integral part of the company I worked with. But I wasn’t inspired; challenged but not inspired. I desired change on a big scale and moving to another role while remaining in the city, continuing to live life the way that I was living wasn’t going to bring me where I wanted to be.
My best mate and I flew up on the 31st December 2009 to meet my sister and her mate who had graciously driven up my car packed full of my possessions. When I moved up to Byron I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had no idea how long I was going to last, what I was going to do for work or how I was going to survive. None of that really mattered though because I’d reached the point where I was deeply dissatisfied with life, I didn’t fear failure ‘cos I had nothing to lose.
I knew my life could be better and I knew that I was capable of great things.
I knew I had a lot to give and that I have the benefit of being born an Aries with spades of devotion / dedication and motivation to making things happen so all I needed to do was give myself space.
When I was saying my goodbyes and people were asking me what it was that I was going to do in Byron Bay, the only response I could fathom was that I needed the time and space to work out what it was that I truly wanted to do.
In hindsight and with the wisdom of a few years, I can see that what you truly want to do in life isn’t necessarily an end point, it’s an evolving, moving target which is, you know, the beauty of life. I am far more at peace now and that’s something I work on every day. My journey here has been all about cultivating time and space to take better care of myself and get closer and closer to the core of who I am.
What I know is that right now, writing for you about my experience, this is the most inspired that I have felt in my life. It has taken me years to get to the point where I am doing something that truly feels like I’m living my purpose, and I can tell you it may not always be easy but it feels damn good.
Now it’s your turn. I believe most of us experience a burnout in our lives at some stage. Let me know in the comments below, what three things do you wish could have magically come into place when you experienced burnout to get you out the other side?