I’m categorizing this post as a “Day of Rest” because that’s usually what I post, if I post, on a Sunday. To be fair, it could also be a Life Rehab Resources, or What I Learned, or What I’m Doing. I’m realizing that after nine months of taking care of myself and trying to be patient, that if I was 100% burnt out nine months ago, I’m still about 87% burnt out now, and I should maybe be taking a more direct approach (instead of trying to “wait it out”), which for me typically starts with some deep research and contemplation.
I posted on Facebook and Instagram asking for books that had helped people through recovery from burnout, even if it wasn’t specifically about burnout. Some of the suggestions were:
- My Sacred Pause: Daily reflections on looking within, loving who you are, and living out loud by Melinda Scime, who I realized I already follow on social media, (bought this one)
- Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski, (bought this one)
- Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller, which I realized I already have on my Kindle, just hadn’t finished it yet, and another one recommended by this author is A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough
- One of my favorite poets said, “James Richardson’s poems always help me recover from nearly everything,” which reminded me how much I like poetry and that I should read it more often
- The Wisdom of Anxiety: How Worry and Intrusive Thoughts Are Gifts to Help You Heal by Sheryl Paul, which would probably be a good one for me to check out since one of my current struggles is with anxiety
- The Bouncebackability Factor: Gain Resilience, End Burnout, Change the World by Cait Donovan, which is in process and recommended to me by the author herself, who failed to mention she also has a great podcast, Fried: The Burnout Podcast, which I will definitely be listening to, as well as taking a deep dive into her website
- A book I bought for my husband that I’m going to borrow back: Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to True Happiness by James Baraz and Shoshana Tembeck Alexander
- Three other books I also ordered after a bit of a search: The Joy of Burnout: How the End of the World Can Be a New Beginning by Dina Gloubermanm, and The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel A. van der Kolk (which I already have on my Kindle and just realized I already have a hard copy of, so maybe I’ll have to do a giveaway for the extra copy), and The Self Confidence Workbook: A Guide to Overcoming Self-Doubt and Improving Self-Esteem by Barbara Markway and Celia Ampel (which Barb already sent me a review copy of that I never got around to looking at, so I decided to buy a hard copy and actually work through it)
One person on Facebook asked for clarification about the cause of my burnout, as that might help her make a more effective recommendation. As I told her, and I think have said here before, “the reasons are compound: just retired after 19 years in a stressful job, on year 11 of perimenopause, an autoimmune disorder, complex-PTSD, etc. So pretty much pick a reason and I’ve probably got it.” That makes deciding on a direct approach for recovery so much more complicated.
What’s been working for me so far, in terms of practices and support: Therapy, quitting my job, reading, watching lots of TV and taking lots of naps, eating what I want when I want it as much as I want, aqua aerobics, yoga, meditation, massage, having honest conversations with those close to me, asking for what I need, walking and napping and cuddling with my dogs, my infrared heating pad, our new living room furniture, flowers in the bathroom, cleaning out my office, getting more plants, limiting the amount of time I spend “peopling,” listening to music and podcasts, comedy, sitting in the sauna, reading in bed at night while Eric and the dogs are asleep, really good healthcare for my dogs (the better care they get, the less stressed I feel), writing, turning down the volume on bad news, cute animal and baby and dance videos, art, CBD oil, a small dose of THC before bed to help me sleep, the softest pjs in the world, my moon lamp, my HappyLight, and a sunrise alarm clock.
Another thing I have to do is cultivate patience and a willingness (which is currently reluctant) to accept that this could be permanent. I may never have more energy than I have right now and I need to figure out how to be okay with that.
All that said, I have a favor to ask you, kind and gentle reader: if you have recovered from burnout, what worked for you? What did you try, read, watch, do to feel better? If you don’t mind, could you post a comment or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know? One request: as I am in recovery for not one but three eating disorders, even if a diet or nutritional supplement worked for you, could you leave that part out? I have to be super careful about how I handle anything having to do with nourishing myself through food or supplements, so not referencing anything related to that would be really helpful to me. Thank you in advance. You are the best!