Welcome into this new Blog Post where I will open up my heart and get very personal.
I will share with you my personal burnout story when I was only 23 years old.
I will share my struggles, what I was experiencing and how, after almost 10 years, I still have to pay attention in the way I think, set goals and work. Unfortunately, a burnout story is never a single episode.
It was/still is (work in progress) a pattern of behavior coming from a specific core belief. I will also share WHY Yoga is helping me right now so much to see the sings early enough to prevent it.
Before we dive deep, please remember that I am not a therapist, coach or counselor. I am sharing my experience with burnout and how Yoga helps me to prevent it and take care of myself.
If you realize that you need help, please look for a certified therapist helping you in this way.
So, now we can start!
From Excitement to Exhaustion
At 22 years old, fresh from university, I had the opportunity to apply as events coordinator in the Sales and Marketing Department of the luxury hotel in Florence where I was working as a waitress at that time.
This position was new and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of this project. I was honored that they picked me as the first event coordinator in Florence of this incredible well-known company in Italy.
I was excited and I felt so ready to put my heart in my job.
The beginning was electrifying: at 22 I had my own small cubicle in the Sales Department and I was coordinating different departments in the hotel.
However, after 6 months my initial excitement began to crack… I was working an unbearable number of hours, always stressed out, and of course, as you can imagine, doing the work of 2 persons.
After one year I was walking home often crying, and I started to feel empty and always very tired.
At that time, I didn’t have any ideas of what healthy boundaries were and how to deal with stress. There was no culture inside the company to talk about these issues and how to address them.
You only had to suck it up, put the head down and keep working.
After one year I felt:
- Miserable on a daily basis
- Empty of any passion for my job
- Resentful towards the company
- Brain fog, lack of concentration that led me towards royal mistakes 😊
I had the sensation that I never had enough time, resources and support to keep going.
Yoga showed up on Ponte Vecchio
One day I was walking back home crossing the amazing Ponte Vecchio in Florence with a beautiful sunset on my right side.
The truth? I didn’t notice either the beauty of Ponte Vecchio or the sunset. My head was spinning very fast, my gaze was towards the floor and I only wanted to go home.
Somehow, I lifted my head up and run into a good friend of mine.
He was glowing, had a big smile on his face and told me he never felt so good in his entire life.
I asked him: “What’s your secret? What are you doing? You look amazing!”
Him: “I just came out of a Yoga class and I simply feel amazing. You should try Andrea; the studio is around the corner”
I decided to try Yoga, although I was skeptical at the beginning, and…
….. I felt alive, full of energy and empowered again.
To make the long story short, I decided to change drastically my lifestyle, quit my job (it took me 6 months to elaborate the decision) and dive deep into a Teacher Training.
I decided to listen to my inner teacher and opted for my wellbeing and mental health.
The decision to take the control of my life, and stop receiving passively, was so empowering.
Yoga was teaching me to listen to the voice of wisdom, instead of the inner critic, always ready to tell me that I didn’t work enough, that I was useless and unworthy.
Definitely, an incredible step forward for 24 years old.
Now that I am Yoga Teacher, I will never burn out again
Yes, this is was I thought: I will never burn out again. I practice daily, this can never happen to me again. Well, it did happen again: not with the same intensity as the first time, but it did happen.
After the second time, I had a powerful insight during a meditation (thanks also to the all the years I was in therapy):
Burning out is a behavioral pattern I have coming from a limiting core belief: I am not enough
It was a punch in the face, because I was taking responsibility of my own behavior.
My episode of burn out happened because I was a young girl struggling with boundaries and low self-esteem in a toxic company. Sbam, a dangerous and self-destructive combo.
For years I blamed only the company, denying my part in all of this.
I understood that I might have changed the container (career shift | changing job), but I had the same approach to work:
- I was setting unrealistic goals
- Putting to many things on my plate
- Ignoring tiredness and exhaustion
- I had the feeling that what I was doing was never enough
- I never celebrated my accomplishment
- My needs were the last one to be met (co-dependency)
Does it sound familiar? Well, if yes, I see you and I am here to support you.
Burnout happens not only in a toxic working environment but also where we are trying to juggle to many things at the same time: pursuing a career, going through motherhood and/or taking care of elders and so on…
In 2020 a research reported that 53% of American women were experiencing burnout, due to the incredible pressure of homeschooling and/or taking care of old people. This study research shows that women spend 20 hours in caregiving in a week.
20 hours are more or less 2.5 working day. We . Can’t. Go . On . Like . That
Here’s the link for more infos:
My passion for what I do, my love for my family and community is my fuel, my life source – especially in difficult times. However, I had to learn the hard way, that:
- My fire, life force is not infinite
- To sustain my life force, I need to re-prioritize my wellbeing
- I can’t give from an empty cup
- I need to work on a regular basis on my core believes if I want to change my behaviour
Yoga: a self-inquiry path to prevent burn out
As you know, Yoga is a complex system where asanas (positions) represent only a small part of it.
We are so blessed to have so many Yoga tools to use daily as a form of self-inquiry and reflection.
Burnout is the result of chronic stress that has not being addressed. In order address it and take action, Yoga gave us so many tools. Here’s what I normally do to keep myself on track:
- Asanas. A simple physical practice can be a great way to observe our energy level, how tired we are and what we physically need. When we notice that we are deeply tired and need restoration, I would suggest soothing and restoring practice such as Yin Yoga and Restorative.
Here’s some from my free resource’s library:
30’ Yin Yoga – Invite Calmness
Restorative Sequence – Who am I when I am not producing?
- Journaling | Svadhyaya as a form of self-inquiry – this practice is often more difficult than a handstand. A regular and daily journaling practice can be so beneficial for our health. When we write often, we can then observe if they are patterns in the way we think, set goals, communicate and behave.
From my personal experience, when I notice that I struggle to digest, binge on social media, experience headache or shoulder tensions, I know I need to stop what I am doing (or simplify) and take care of myself.
Here’s a morning practice, 3 Essential Questions
- Pranayama | Breath Practice – There is a deep link between our mind and breathing function. When we use the mind to control the breath, we lengthen the inhale and exhale. And the action of lengthening the breath and slowing down the heartbeat, has a calming effect on our brain.
Check here, Breath for Stress Releif
- Dhyana | Mediation – Having a regular meditation practice helps me in increasing my awareness and presence with what is happening inside or outside myself.
I am able to observe and recognize when my system (mind, emotions and body) is reaching a point of saturation and an overload of information and stop there.
Mediation to prevent Burnout
Your next stepS
Step #1 practice one of the practices I mentioned above regularly for one week. Track yourself, observe the effects and benefits of a regular and committed Yoga practice.
If the feeling is that you can’t function anymore in your normal life, please look for a therapist. Your menta health is a number one priority.
Step #2 If you feel and think that it’s time to commit to your wellbeing, sign up for my newsletter where I have already put together a gift for you:
3x Meditations (Morning, Lunch Break and Evening)
Small breaks during the day help us to sustain our energy in the long run. You will also receive weekly practices and inspirations to begin to bring balance back into your life.
Sign up with the contact form at the end of the page.
I hope that my story showed you that a new way of living is possible, that we can create balance in our life, putting our wellbeing as first priority in the morning.
with love and see you on the mat
Other resources about burnout: