The Surprising Blessings of Burnout
How to learn hidden lessons behind burnout and how to use it to our advantage?
Although burnout can be a very physically, mentally, and spiritually tough, challenging, and wrecking experience, it can also be a blessing — even though it’s hard to see it if you’re currently stuck in the midst of it.
In this newsletter I’m going to talk about how we can use burnout to our advantage to learn hidden lessons behind burnout and how to use it to our advantage to build a new, better us.
This is also the first article in my new series called “Lessons from my burnout journey”, where I’ll be sharing with you life-changing lessons that I learned from my own burnout.
So let’s first talk a bit about burnout. What is burnout?
Burnout is a state of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion.
Symptoms can range from mild — from being tired all the time — to very severe — like being unable to get out of bed and unable to do anything.
What makes burnout so challenging is the fact that it affects multiple areas of our health and well-being at the same time: it affects our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
But although burnout can be very physically, mentally, and spiritually challenging, it can also be a blessing — even though it’s hard to see it if you’re currently in the midst of it and burned out.
As someone who had multiple episodes of burnout, I know how hard and tough burnout condition can be. But at the same time, I always try to emphasize that even though burnout seems like a course, it’s a blessing.
So what do I mean by that?
Burnout can be a great teacher. It can be an opportunity to make an inventory and reinvent your life: You can take burnout as an opportunity to take a step back and analyze your life.
You can take burnout as a wake-up call: to analyze what caused you to burn out, fix the reasons and what caused you to burn out, leave behind things that don’t serve you anymore, and start living differently.
Now that being said… I know from my own experience that seeing burnout as a “blessing” and being grateful that it happened to you, can be one of the most challenging things to do, especially when you’re in the midst of burnout.
But once you’re able to make that mental shift that burnout didn’t happen to you, but for you, and be grateful for it, it's profound and life-changing!
So now you might be wondering how to make that shift if you’re currently burned out.
1. Support and work on foundations
The first thing to do is to support your body, mind, emotions, (spirit) and mental health. These areas are the base, the foundation of health and well-being, and need to give them the opportunity to rest and recover because, without them, we can’t make the mental and emotional shift to see burnout as a blessing and figure out the lessons behind it.
So make sure that you are:
getting enough quality rest,
sleeping enough and well,
lowering your general stress and obligations in life,
supporting your mind and emotions with different practices (meditation, journaling, emotional releases, etc),
and making time for things are activities that you enjoy, feel a sense of passion and purpose for and that fill you up.
The second step is then to change the way you see burnout.
2. Make the shift to see burnout as a blessing and discover the lessons behind it?
Look at burnout through a different lens: try to see it as an inventory, as an opportunity to reinvent your life, to analyze what caused you to burn out, to fix the reasons and causes that brought to it, leave behind things that don’t serve you and start living differently.
To do that, take some time and space to calm down and reflect.
You can ask yourself and explore the following questions:
“What are the reasons behind this burnout?”
“What has brought me to burnout?”
“What were some of the mechanisms and patterns behind me burning out?“
“What can I learn from this and how can I change my life?”
You can do this in a journal, in your head, by talking to someone you trust, to a pet, a toy, it doesn’t really matter.
What matters is that you go fully into the experience, really feel it, and welcome anything and everything that comes up.
Also the first couple of things that come to mind after asking yourself a question like this are often the best ones to play with and explore since they come from your heart, spirit, soul - whatever you want to call that true, higher part of yourself - and not from the ego mind.
When you find yourself in that burned-out state or if you’re currently in that state right now, remind yourself that:
Burnout is a blessing: it happened for you, not to you - even if it’s really hard to see it and believe it.
Burnout can be an opportunity to take a step back and analyze what caused you to burn out, to fix the reasons and what caused you to burn out, leave behind things that don’t serve you anymore and start living differently.
Also If you’re currently suffering from burnout, don’t lose hope! Burnout is curable and reversible — it just cannot be done in a day or a week. Have patience and faith: trust the process and believe in yourself and your body!
If you need any help with navigating burnout and you don’t know how to deal with it and recover from it, hit me up and I’ll be happy to guide you along the way.
I’m working on an online course about how to prevent and recover from burnout. In the course, I’ll teach you everything I learned from my burnout journey, including how to improve and elevate all four pillars of the body in much more detail.
The course is in the making, but you can join the waitlist and get updates on its progress and when it’s about to launch.
Members of the waitlist will have early access to the course before it launches and a special offer when it launches, so make sure to secure your spot and grab that special offer!
Great article Jani as always. I’ve just shared to Twitter as people need to read this. I hope they do.
Recently I’ve been feeling myself getting drawn down into what might be a downward burnout cycle. Work seems to be providing a myriad of problems with no obvious upside other than I’m being paid. This is starting to get me down so I feel that something needs to change.
Thanks Jani. Burnout happened for me not too me. I will ponder that. My fatigue is a bit worse at the moment and I know that there are lessons in it that will help me have a better future. But it is demoralising at the time. Take care.