How I Recovered From Burnout – 8 Keys To Getting Back

I thought long and hard about sharing this story. The story about my burnout. I had never been through anything quite as deep, or frankly, personally frightening as my burnout over 2 years ago.

Burnout moves fatigue and the darkness from a place where it was in your control to a place where you can simply no longer control either. Why did I decide to share my story? I’ve heard from more than a few of you who have let me know that you’re in the midst of burnout right now and I hope my story will help you.

So how do you get back from burnout?

Let me share my personal journey. I'm not an expert by any means and I know everyone’s recovery will be different, but these are the 8 keys that helped me on my road to recovery. Sit back because this is gonna be a long one…

recover From burnout

WHY DID I BURNOUT IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Let's start at the beginning. Why did I burnout in the first place? Long story short. I was one of those women who thought to be invincible, I was the multitasking queen, ready to work day and night always having a smile on my face. Don't get me wrong. It's not the hard work that gonna break you, it's the stress that comes with it. After my father died almost 3 years ago I was physically and emotionally drained. The last 3 years of his life he had been in and out hospital always having me worried if he would make it to the next day. My phone would literally be taped to my hand afraid to miss one call. During that time I also decided to leave my job and become a full-time blogger. Yes, I know, my timing was great.

Don't get me wrong. I loved taking care of my dad and being a blogger also meant I could plan my own day and spend a lot of time with him. This would often mean I would drive to his home early in the morning, eat with him, go back in the afternoon and do a photoshoot and edit in the evening. Since I didn't sleep for more than 4 hours a night I would often answer my emails and DMs at 3 am. Put this show on repeat for more than 3 years. Even I blind man could see I was a train ride about to crash.

After my dad died I should have taken some time out. I should have taken the time to sit back and get back on my feet. I should have allowed myself just to rest and heal. But I didn't. I felt I had no excuse anymore to not work to the max. So for the following 9 months, I would jump in and out planes, going from one collaboration to the other, but my battery was already empty. More than empty. And then I hit the wall.

NOT AN INSTANT CURE

And as far as time goes, for me, there was no instant cure. It took about 2 months for me to move from ‘crisis’ (20% of normal) to operational (maybe 60%). It took 6 months to get from 60% to 80% of ‘normal’.

Finally, it took me a full year to finally feel 100% again – like myself. Even a new self.

8 KEYS TO RECOVER FROM BURNOUT

Along the way, these 8 things helped me immensely. And while your story might be different, I offer them in the hope they might help you even in some small way how to recover from burnout;

1. ACCEPT & TELL SOMEONE

This was hard. Admitting that you're not invincible. That you have reached your breaking point. But pride is probably what made you burn out in the first place.

Swallow your pride and tell someone close to you that you have a problem. It’s tough, but it’s the first step toward wellness. When you admit it to others, you also finally end up admitting to yourself. Acceptance is your road to recovery.

2. GET HELP

You can’t do this alone. Really, you can’t. I had a circle of friends who walked the walk with me. You need to talk to your doctor. Get yourself checked and ask for a specialized counselor.

My husband was an incredible and exceptional rock. I’m not sure I would have made it without him. I’m a girl who likes to solve her problems alone, but this one was so much bigger than me. Get Help!

3. LEAN INTO YOUR FRIENDS

Yes, Friends are your holy grail. You need them. Lean into your friendships. Friends came to the house to take me for a walk. They called me. They send me flowers and daily messages. Real friends care about you. Lean into them.

4. REST

I was so physically and emotionally tired when I burnt out. I was so tired I didn't even know how to make it through the day. I slept for about 10 hours a day for a month straight, adding naps to my daily diet on top of that. Give your brain a rest from all social media. Allow yourself to be switched off for a while.  Your brain has probably been on high alert for the last year(s) so give yourself a break.

5. GO OUTSIDE

For me, the best way to calm my mind is to be outside. Because I had no energy at all I started with just little walks. Even 5 minutes a day would make such a difference. I slowly started to add minutes to my walking routine even asking friends if they would join me. Being outside, smelling nature, feeling the wind and the sun on your face is the best medicine. Trust me.

6. EXERCISE

Yes, I know. When you are too tired to even walk from your bed to the couch exercising is the last thing on your mind. Still, it's very important. Having a strong body does wonder for your mind. We spend so much time behind our laptops every day we have forgotten how it is to move. I started using the 7-Minute-app at home. In the beginning, I couldn't even make it to 3 minutes, but every minute more made me happy. Follow yoga lessons online. Anything. Just move!

7. TAKE BABY STEPS

You burned out for a reason and all you probably want now is to get rid of it as fast as possible. That's not gonna happen. If you have burned the candle on both ends it's gonna take time to recover. One step forward, two steps back. Just take baby steps.  You will get there.

8. HAVE FAITH

My first 2 months were an absolute roller coaster, but I would constantly tell myself ” this too shall pass”. Have faith in yourself. You are stronger and more resilient than you think. Even if you don't feel like it right now, you will get back on your feet and even a better new self. I started reading a lot about burnout and how to overcome it. It made me realize I wasn't the only one. Nore are you! Have faith.

And now?

It took me a whole year to recover from my burnout, but when I did, I was determined not to burn out again.

The question was…how?

So I started reprioritizing my time, managing my energy, saying NO, figuring out how to stop getting my priorities hijacked by other people, and in the process, I became far more productive, so now I allow myself time to read a book, go to the gym and I work normal hours on my blog. Still having enough time for my family, friends, and for myself. I stopped running and started appreciating. I've learned it's OK to stand still and grieve the loss of a loved one. My birthday is in a few weeks and I can honestly say I've never been so happy.

I even get eight to nine hours of sleep these days and I never answer my emails at night again.

I hope my story helps you if you to recover from burnout. Maybe you are going through it right now or if you have experienced burnout in the past. Please feel free to comment below and I'm also more than happy to answer your emails in private.

Stay safe,

Yvon

 

28 Comments

  1. Sandra
    August 11, 2020 / 11:43 am

    💪❤️Xx

    • August 11, 2020 / 12:05 pm

      Dank je wel Sannie! For always having my back and getting me through these ugly times. Forever grateful xoxo

      • Bea
        August 11, 2020 / 5:38 pm

        Whow dat was een heftige trein reis.

        Ik moet zeggem, dat ik hier zeker iets aan heb. Reden is dat im mezelf hier zo goed in herken.

        Ben blij dat ik de moeite heb genomen om het te lezen. Want door het te lezen zie ik nu ( ondanks de waarschuwingen van mijn man ) dat ik er tegen aan maar wwllicht in de beginfase zit.

        Ik ga je tips ten harte nemen.

        Dank je wel voor het delen van je Burnout en hoe je er mee om gegaan bent.

        Wens je alle goeds toe.

        Liefs B

        • August 12, 2020 / 7:53 am

          Hoi B!
          Pas goed op jezelf! Een partner heeft vaak eerder door hoe het met je gaat dan jij zelf. Neem tijd voor jezelf en probeer ook elke dag echt even NIKS te doen. Heel moeilijk voor ons bezige bijtjes maar echt noodzakelijk. Heel veel liefs, xoxo Yvon

  2. Sherry
    August 11, 2020 / 12:16 pm

    Hi Yvon , WOW such an uplifting story! Wishing u all the best darling 👍

  3. August 11, 2020 / 12:20 pm

    You are so special ❤️🙏🏻

  4. Barbara Folicaldi
    August 11, 2020 / 12:22 pm

    Ciao dall’ Italia 😘

  5. Rein
    August 11, 2020 / 12:36 pm

    ❤️💙💚💛🧡☀️🤗

    • August 12, 2020 / 7:59 am

      Dank Lemmie!
      Friends are the holy grail! love you xoxo

  6. Maureen
    August 11, 2020 / 12:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story of your burnout. I too have been there and coincidently also after my father was killed in a plane crash. To overcome the grief I just worked and bottled it all inside until I burned out. My recovery followed a similar pattern as yours and with much the same steps you took. Grateful thanks Maureen xx

  7. Nancy
    August 11, 2020 / 1:49 pm

    Yvon, I’ve seen the jewel you are since I first encountered your blog. Now I see you shining even brighter. Sharing this difficult part of life’s journey is a huge gift to the world. I’m older…and I’ve been there, too. Now, looking back, I realize it all brought me to this joyous place I now live, in my heart and soul. It takes being present, being honest and being willing. Courage. When you begin to smile from your heart again, you know you’ve found the path. Be well, stay happy and thank you so much. Nancy

    • August 11, 2020 / 4:16 pm

      Wow Nancy! Thank you so much for your powerful words. They made me cry but from happiness. Smiling from the heart… thank you, thank you xoxo

  8. Joni
    August 11, 2020 / 2:37 pm

    I am so happy that you shared this, and happy that you have made the recovery. I realized after reading your letter that I have experienced partial to severe burnout for so many years….and it is very related to large and traumatic events in life, and feeling the need to be the strong independent woman that I have always prided myself to be! I am sure that there are many women that share this trait!
    I hope that many people can recognize it early enough to take the proper steps to heal. Your message is on target.

    • August 11, 2020 / 4:13 pm

      Hi Joni!
      I think that sadly many women can relate to this. Always trying to stay strong, but there comes a moment where you have to realize that enough is enough. Before it’s too late. Please take care sweetie xoxo

  9. Mandy guntman
    August 11, 2020 / 2:58 pm

    Thanx for sharing ur story very inspiring for what I am going thru are u still making boho bags?

    • August 11, 2020 / 4:11 pm

      Hi Mandy!
      Thank you so much. I have never made boho bags myself but I’m still blogging and on Instagram 🙂

  10. Pat
    August 11, 2020 / 5:11 pm

    Thanks 🌹 The hardest thing is knowing that you are right, but if I can still push an inch every new day, eventhough I know enough is enough cause I am so tired and my stomach is aching, I push, telling myself, tomorrow I will set my boundaries. Reading your story puts me in place, again. So I will take your tips by hand, beginning by working no longer than 40hrs a week and take a break each day. Starting tomorrow..
    ps: you are a powerful woman

    • August 12, 2020 / 7:58 am

      Dear Pat,

      Please listen to your inner voice and enough is enough. I was always telling myself tomorrow I would take a break, tomorrow I would give myself time to relax, but I never did. Please take good care of yourself. There is only one you! xoxo Yvon

  11. Soozala
    August 11, 2020 / 5:38 pm

    Thank you for bringing this up. Death and grief offer their own special kind of burnout. As women, we are trained early on to care for others and ignore our own needs. Sometimes, after a death those values become defunct and we may find we need to process and discard that which no longer serves us. Also, being in the 50s, there’s less emphasis on what everyone else wants/needs/demands and more of “no, this is my time for me, finally.” And sometimes the fallout from all of this is disease. If not now, when? We need to give ourselves a break. And embrace our inner peace and joy when we finally find it.

    • August 12, 2020 / 7:56 am

      You are absolutely right! We need to give ourselves a break! For me, this was a very hard but also a very good lesson. Finding time to relax and just enjoy the moment instead of running 24/7.
      Thanks for responding lovely, xoxo Yvon

  12. August 11, 2020 / 9:40 pm

    It’s so brave of you to show up and share your personal story of grief and overdoing and trying to be perfect always . You are such a special soul , beautiful inside and outside . I really appreciate you so much Yvonne 💓💓Jane

    • August 12, 2020 / 7:50 am

      Thank you so much for your kind words Jane! That really means a lot to me xoxo Yvon

  13. Nikki
    August 12, 2020 / 9:09 am

    ❤️❤️

  14. Patricia Carver
    August 12, 2020 / 10:32 am

    I am happy to hear you are feeling better and thank you for sharing your story. It’s nice to know there are others with the same problem out there.
    Stay safe

  15. Stephanie
    August 12, 2020 / 6:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story! I have a very similar one and it is comforting to know that I am not alone. Reading your 8 Keys reminds me that I have to look after me and enjoy the wonders that lay ahead!
    I love your blog, your strength and courage! 💗

  16. Mony
    August 13, 2020 / 3:04 am

    Es bueno para todas las que hemos estado en situaciones parecidas a la que viviste, saber que hay salida. Gracias por compartir lo que te hizo bien. Bendiciones

  17. Birgit Cools
    August 16, 2020 / 4:02 pm

    MIJN ENGELS IS NIET ECHT GEWELDIG .

    ..ZOU ER OOK EEN NEDERLANDSE VERTALING MOGELIJK ZIJN !!!!
    Ik ben een grote fan van jouw!!! Ik vind je echt waar een toffe. Knappe klasse volle madam!!!

    Grts Birgit

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