Self Care for Burnout. You Finally Healed. But now What?

You’ve made it! You finally reached the end of that long, dark tunnel and you can finally say goodbye to that demon called burnout that controlled you for so long. Whether it took you weeks, months, or years, it doesn’t matter, you healed from burnout, and that is a huge accomplishment! Congratulations! So, why do I ask, now what? Is self care for burnout ever done?

The work is not done. You followed all recommendations from online research, a therapist, and hopefully also from my blog, and now you have reached your goal, your burnout is over, but that doesn’t mean that you can throw yourself into stress again like you used to do.

Make Self Care a Part of Your Day

If there is one thing we all learn from burnout it is that we must look after ourselves. Our brain is an organ that is often neglected, and we must learn to care for it too. So, once we are feeling better, the work on ourselves continues. Taking care of ourselves is an ongoing process. It doesn’t stop. Living in the demanding world we live in today, we have no choice. Self care is number 1.

Self Care for Burnout. You Healed. Now What?

If meditation is one of the methods that helped you get better, I recommend that you incorporate meditation into your daily routine. If that is not possible, make it an every-two-days or weekly habit. If you took yoga classes to find peace of mind, then don’t drop them because you have found it. Rather, continue your yoga classes. You will be doing your body and mind a great favor.

Stress is ever present in our daily lives, and if it has affected you once, it can do so again, unless you don’t allow it anymore. Meditation, yoga, the five breaths technique, taking walks to refresh your mind, listening to relaxing music, and anything else that calms you should remain part of your daily habits.

yoga position

Deal With the Causes of Your Burnout

When you go back to the job that caused your burnout or the situation that drove you to break down, you need to do this with a different state of mind. Yes, the workplace needs you, but while you were on sick leave they did just fine without you, so there will be no need to test your limits again with overtime and impossible deadlines. You are not indispensable. Relax, take on projects, but keep in mind that you cannot return to burnout. Take care of yourself. Put a limit to what you can do.

Any good manager should know what workload is acceptable or not. If work demands too much of you and makes you feel drained at the end of each day, burnout may just be waiting for you around the corner … I think, in that case, it is best to find another job.

job interview

Change is Good

True, change can be daunting. If you have worked somewhere for years or decades, it can be frightening to suddenly look for work elsewhere, but changes are always for the better. As intimidating as they can seem, once you’ve done it, you can only look back with a smile and think, “see, that wasn’t so hard. I should have done this ages ago.”

Compare it to someone who just survived a heart attack. Now that he or she receives a second chance at life, it is unlikely that they are going to indulge in high cholesterol meats and other unhealthy foods. It happened once. Couldn’t it happen again? Many heart attack survivors change to a healthier diet, either of their own volition or on recommendation by their doctor.

vegan food

So, why then would you expose yourself to the factors that caused your burnout after you have just healed from burnout? That doesn’t make sense, does it? This is why self care is an ongoing process. It never stops. True, we can sometimes slip, no hard feelings – I am guilty of it myself πŸ˜‰ – however, the most important thing is to always remember that you cannot return to the stage of burnout. If you have been there, you know you don’t want to go back to it.

Creature Cups' chill turtle mug

So, keep on taking those steps to stay healthy and stay at a distance from whatever caused your burnout: be it your job, an abusive co-worker, abuse at home, ongoing difficulties with a company, and so on. Many factors can be the cause for burnout, not just work. Just make sure that those factors do not get close to you, and if they do, then hopefully only very rarely.

If an abusive co-worker contributed to your burnout, you must talk to management and explain the situation. If the abuse happened at home, it is best to leave. No one – and certainly not family or spouses – has the right to hurt you, and if they do you have every right to walk away from it. If someone makes you feel guilty about it, don’t listen. Pay attention to how it makes you feel. If you feel better or safer or calmer because you walked away from whatever caused your pain or burnout, then you did the right thing.

self care is not selfish

Do What Works for You

The day I healed from burnout was one of the best days in my life. I went through it for several years, and finding the end of that tunnel was such a relief, such a euphoric moment. I remember telling my friends, “I have healed!” “I have healed!” I was simply over the moon. I just knew that it was behind me now.

After you have healed, you stay on that path of wellness and self care and let no one beat you off it. I have done so for the past two years and so far I have been successful. When I experience some taxing moments, I take in a deep breath while counting to 5, and then I breathe out, also counting five seconds. I repeat this five times. This breathing technique makes all the difference. I feel calm at once.

breathe

Final Thoughts

Whatever works for you, do it and keep at it. We can easily incorporate certain practices into our daily routines. They will only benefit us. Ultimately, what helps you will also benefit your friends and family. It isn’t easy to deal with someone who has burnout, which is a reason why many of us go through it alone. As hard as it is for us, it is also challenging for the ones close to us. Therefore, if we look after ourselves we are not only doing ourselves a favor but also to our relationships with others.

a vegan starters kit

10 thoughts on “Self Care for Burnout. You Finally Healed. But now What?”

  1. Hello, a great article you wrote, and all of these activities proposed are very good to heal your burnout but it’s not easy to get out of burnout. You need to talk to you just to get out of bed and just start your day…. I enjoy reading this post, thank you for sharing
    Lyne

    Reply
  2. Very motivational and inspirational article, Christine! I can only say to everyone they should listen to you, because you are so right about your description of possible situations. And you give great tips how to either avoid those situations or turn them around once gotten into them.

    Isn’t it painful at times to see people fall into the same trap again? Maybe I told the story before, but your remark that someone after a heart attack will definitely change his behavior, catapulted me right back to a remark my neighbor made the other day.

    He has been very sick. Was hospitalized for months and at times it was a close call to not going well (we would say it was ‘kantje boord’). Yet, the first thing he said to me when he got back home was “Oh, how I long for my beer, now I can finally have it”. Ai.

    Reply
    • Ai, indeed ai, I hope that one day your neighbor will look after himself …
      It is indeed painful to see people fall into the old rut again, the same trap that led them to burnout before. It is important to avoid the triggers that caused a burnout in the first place, or at least learn how to respond to them.
      Thank you for your comment!

      Reply
  3. I completely agree with you. Change is good, and I would even add necessary at times.

    I just turned vegan like three months ago and finally realized that I should have done this years ago.

    I was physically and emotionally burned out for such a long time, and I wasn’t even aware until I started dieting and making some massive changes in my everyday life.

    I’m now feeling much better, more energized, and prepared to confront new challenges.

    I’m no longer in that deep state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion, and honestly, at times, I even feel like I’ve been reborn.

    Thanks for crafting such a fantastic article, Christine, and know that for some reason, your content never seems to disappoint.

    Reply
    • Hi Gorjan,

      Thank you for the compliment! That just made my day πŸ™‚
      Following a vegan diet helps a lot. You instantly feel your energy restored and your health gets a nice boost. I am glad that you are feeling much better now. I’m also vegan, and when I made that change, my body also felt all the positive differences πŸ™‚

      Reply
  4. “Do what works for you.” I think this statement is super and giving an individual some self power so they can allow themselves to enjoy for what they really like and make them happy.

    Not giving yourself those moments to enjoy I think leads to the burnout to some people as well.

    Being kind to yourself always.

    Much love and peace.

    Reply
    • True, always be kind to yourself and do what works for you. What works for one person may not be the right treatment for another person. We find our own way.
      Thank you for your comment!

      Reply
  5. Hello there, Burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion, cynicism and ineffectiveness in the workplace, and by chronic negative responses to stressful workplace conditions. While not considered a mental illness, burnout can be considered a mental health issue. Thanks for sharing this awesome article I hope it helps others as it has helped me.

    Reply
  6. Getting through the burnout is never easy but we all experience it one time or another. And just like anything else in life, I believe that the more we experience it, the better we can handle it the next time when it comes around. Self care is so important. I guess it is most women’s behaviors that we put ourselves last and do not take care of us first. I used to think that if the airplane told us to put the mask on us first before the child then the same rule should apply to us.

    What I usually do for my self care is to take a walk right by my place, I have a nice Hudson River view. Or I sometimes drinking my favorite teas and read some good books (mostly all about motivations lol). I sometimes go out and just enjoy spending time with my girlfriends. Or it can be just as simple as a hot bath and just relax. 

    My cause of burnouts are mostly the same routine and the change just not happen fast enough for me. Or sometimes it can be I have to deal with a lot all at once, work, marriage, family, finance etc. But now I know how to cope with it better as I get older. I learn later in life that everything and I mean everything can be fixed. It maybe hard but it can be fixed. 

    I also learn to take care of my body and my mental health as well. I eat mostly whole foods, plant based but I do indulge some meat here and there. I meditate daily and it helps me to see things clearly and stop me from acting with my emotions. 

    I still have a long way to cope with the burnout though but I get better at it everyday πŸ™‚ 

    Reply
    • Hi Nuttanee,

      It looks like you’re on the right track. It is true that taking care of ourselves is a learning process and sometimes we understand how to do that when we get a little older. You also make a good point when you mention women’s behavior’s when they put others before themselves, which is why in airplanes they always remind us to put the oxygen mask first on ourselves before helping others. I think in real life we also must remember that we need to put our figurative oxygen mask on first before taking care of others’ needs. πŸ™‚ 

      Thank you for your valuable comment!

      Reply

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