How to recover from burnout and rebuild your professional life

You are totally burned out. The constant pressure to deliver on time and meet expectations has been too much for too long. Not only demands from your boss but being unable to fulfil your own high expectations.

You had always previously thought that those who burn out are weak. You have now learned from your doctor that people who suffer from burnout treat their work seriously. They are perfectionists who work too much, try too hard, putting their company’s interests ahead of their own. Those of us who work abroad separated from family and friends, are even more susceptible to it, completely surrounded by the confines of work.

Treatment can take months. At first you don’t accept your own weakness, you deny it, you want to go back to work. You worry what others think of you and how they will cope without you. Nobody can deliver without you.

You then sink deeper into the depths of non-existence for months. You don’t watch TV nor read newspapers or books. You can’t concentrate on anything. You’re losing your memory. You feel nothing but emptiness and anxiety that takes away your sleep.

Burnout accurately describes the overwhelming weight you feel. You don’t feel self-worth, you just feel an overwhelming fear of the world.

Fortunately, you can, and you will recover.

Many months of therapy, rest, sleep and contact with nature, and learning to be mindful of your own needs make you reawaken to life as a new person. You start to see what you forgot before, overwhelmed by work responsibilities, constant stress and life on the go. You start to enjoy the sunshine again, hear the birds singing, observe the flowers and leaves on the trees. Finally, you start to see a little wider and wonder what to do next.

You don’t want to go back to what it was.

You already know what you don’t want in life. You don’t want to work in a large organization where you felt like a cog in a machine. You saw even after all your hard work you had been easily replaced. Now you want to live differently. You want your life to really make sense, so that your actions bring you true fulfilment. You want to go back to a time when life had a deeper meaning.

But how to do it? After months of loneliness and self-healing, it’s not easy. You are fed up with therapy and you no longer want to talk. You begin to feel ready to act again. But where next? Which road for a life of meaning and happiness?

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