Nice to see you made it this far!
You can read about my own journey below. I hope it can be a breath of fresh air for you, or maybe an inspiration or even a “kick in the ass” to jump into action. I love sharing it with you because, it’s ok, we’re all just human 🙂
Combining career and family
In 2010, after giving birth to my son, I fell into a post-natal depression and a burnout. I don’t remember much about this period, and when I look back on it today, I didn’t learn anything out of it at the time either. I just kept repeating the same patterns and ignored the signals my body gave me.
Because 5 years later, in the fall of 2015, having a new job, a new challenge, my energy had run out again. My batteries had gone completely dead. Burnout 2.0 was the verdict
So how could it have come to this? Had I really not seen this coming? I had already experienced a burnout. How come I’m having a second one now?! Is this really possible?
I wanted to combine everything. A job, and preferably one with some prestige, so that you meant something within a company. Because yes, for us women it is not always easy, we have to give that little bit more to get there. So we take that extra project on board.
No knowledge of the subject? No problem, we’ll figure it out along the way. Giving up was not in my vocabulary, I just keep going until the bitter end.
And this in combination with raising a family. Plus wanting to do it all perfectly. Craft activities with my son and his friends, games, excursions, I wanted it all. Delicious and varied cooking, every day. A clean and tidy house. I wanted to be the friend, the listening ear, I bended over backwards to be there for everyone. Because that’s what you do, right? An overflowing social agenda, because you don’t want to miss out on anything, do you?
Sure, I suffered from low back pain and experienced tension in my neck. Then, before our fall vacation, I was having a lot of pain in my left arm. I could barely drive the car. I thought, a couple of sessions at the physiotherapist and then I’ ll be rid of it. Besides, we were going on a week’s vacation anyway, so this would solve all my problems.
As if … There I am on the last day with our friends, fantastic location, good food, great week behind us and still I’m not feeling well, I am exhausted. I had pushed it too far. Overload was the verdict. Take a few weeks to recharge, said my doctor. Sleep, take some rest, that’s what my surrounding told me. And a few weeks, became months and finally a year.
the whispering of your body,
So that it doesn’t have
And then suddenly at home…
Physically and mentally this was what I experienced:
- I had no power left. Carrying a laundry basket up the stairs was impossible. Even carrying my own son upstairs when he was tired, was too much. I had no strength, no energy.
- My son had to be taken to school and even though there were two of us, my husband couldn’t always help. So, I did it myself. Exhausted, often just in my pajamas, boots on top, a thick coat and a hat, i brought him to school. This to mask that I just rolled out of bed.
- Excessive sweating while doing the bare minimum. As if I had run a marathon. My body showed in every imaginable way that I was burned out.
- Making simple decisions, like “What are we going to eat?” “Who’s going to pick up the little one?” failed me. It was as if my head was full of cotton balls.
- Going to the store, visiting public places. That was a disaster! I was having a panic attack just thinking about it, let alone doing it. Oh no….
- Doing something with friends. “Fun” I thought. “Will be relaxing.” No, it wasn’t. Because I was pretending to be better than I actually felt. I tried too hard to accommodate everyone in the best possible way. Often I caught myself going to the kitchen to avoid talking because I simply couldn’t handle all those stimuli. And then when I listened to what they had to say, it didn’t work either. My attention was completely scattered. I was there, but mentally it was as if I were on another planet.
- I forgot all sorts of things, couldn’t concentrate. Reading a book, re-reading the same line 10 times because I just didn’t grasp what it said.
- I didn’t want to do anything. If only everyone could just leave me in peace. Sleeping, lots of sleep. I slept for hours during the day. Catching up, because at night I was wide awake, fretting and worrying about all sort of things, and I just couldn’t get to sleep. And those micro naps during the day made me feel drowsy and didn’t help me recuperate either.
Choosing for myself, my own happiness
But then what? How do you tackle this thing? Here I was at burnout 2.0, and obviously I hadn’t learned anything from my previous one. But I didn’t want to go through a burn-out 3.0. I wanted to be myself again, that cheerful, good-humored Julie.
Good coaching in combination with a lot of structure, rest, doing the things I liked, helped me move forward. Systematically things started to improve, some days were better than others, but the curve shifted to the right side. I felt I had a little more carrying capacity. But on my own I would never have been able to do this.
By reading a lot, trying things out, I systematically climbed out of that deep valley. I started to reflect on my own life. How do I want it? What exactly do I want to do? What do I feel good about? What is not going well? What eats up my energy? How can I better learn to take care of myself? What are the signals mentally/physically that indicate to me that things are starting to go wrong?
It was a long road, but I have come to a point where I have gotten to know myself even better, where I now recognize my own body’s signals more quickly so that I can respond to them better. Self-care has become important to me. It has become a priority to feel good about myself and to be myself.
One day or day one
It’s your decision
The bigger WHY
Of course, it didn’t stop there. I wanted to get a better grasp of the concept of stress and what it does to a person. I wanted to know how we could learn to deal with stress in a preventive way, and not wait to take action when it is already too late.
When I was young, I had always had a passion for human well-being. And I wanted to do something more with this now. Because often we don’t know what the symptoms are, we just race through life and don’t think about what we are doing to our own bodies. The barrier of asking for help is sometimes too big, often still a taboo.
Out of this interest I became a coach.
The “Happy Mind Guide” is based on all my personal experiences, studies and acquired knowledge.