Burnout is Not Your Friend

Well HELLO dear reader, how are you doing?! I am back, resurrected from the abyss, ready to rekindle the one thing that keeps me sane; writing for pleasure. I can’t believe so much time has passed since I last published a post, I think it’s the most time that’s passed without a post since I started this blog back in 2018. It was only recently that I realised how much I’m missing writing, and even though I couldn’t muster the energy to do it, once I started, I immediately began feeling better.

As you know if you’ve read my posts over the years, I started this blog as just a way to get my thoughts out and to simply vent into the stratosphere. But then it became a way for loved ones to keep up with my life, and I have always been touched at how friends and family have said they enjoy reading my posts. I’m sad to say that I’ve received a few messages from people asking me if I had stopped blogging, and the answer was – well – I didn’t really have one. Technically, I had stopped blogging, because I hadn’t published a single post for weeks (which has now turned into months!).

But it wasn’t intentional. In these last few months, I’ve found myself feeling completely burnt out once again. You’d think I’d have learnt my lesson from the last time it happened in October (post here) but nope, apparently some people never learn! Whilst I can see that people are still loyally visiting my blog (thank you dear anonymous readers, I appreciate your loyalty!), it makes me sad to think that I have just let blogging slide for the last few months, especially when it’s such a cathartic activity for me and a really good form of self-care. If the truth be known, I just haven’t had the energy to keep up.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

March was absolutely ridiculous. I worked pretty much all day every day for about 5-6 weeks, took on more work than I was capable of juggling, and I also undertook my WSET Level 2 Award in Wines (which was amazing and I passed with merit – woohoo! Just call me your personal sommelier!) I was really, really struggling to function by the end of it. I took four whole days off everything at the beginning of April, and I felt like a completely different person at the end of it. I know that for some people, not having a day off is the norm, but that life is not for me. I definitely need at the very minimum one day off each week to recharge my batteries.

So I was already feeling a little run down and mentally exhausted, and then my Mum ended up extremely ill in hospital after suffering complications from a gastric bypass. She contracted numerous infections as well as sepsis, and was pretty much unresponsive for what felt like the most worrying week of my entire life. She was moved into critical care for a short while, and it was really difficult to not know what the hell was happening, and not be able to go and see her because of COVID. She was barely conscious for a few days, then too poorly to communicate and eventually after what felt like the longest week of my life, she finally began texting again (albeit one word (or letter) text messages – a simple X – a kiss). It was all she could manage.

Her stint in hospital really brought to light how tragic this last year has been, especially for all of those people who have lost loved ones in these devastating circumstances, and not been able to visit them or spend their final days together. My heart breaks for people who weren’t able to go and see their loved ones, and the magnitude of living with that for the rest of their lives is unbearable. We were obviously so lucky that my Mum pulled through (and she’s on the up now!), but it was at the forefront of my mind during that two-week period when she was in hospital.

So just as my Mum was on the up, my dog got sick. We have spent the last month trying to treat her and care for her, with ongoing vet bills, visits, and what feels like non-stop stress. Between my mum being ill, an overflowing workload, endless vet bills and a never-ending kitchen renovation that’s been in progress for what feels like eternity, my bank account is drained and so am I. But I have been really good at taking time to slow down a little recently and I’m glad to say I am A-OK once again.

Burnout is very real, it’s something that I definitely never really understood until the last couple of years. I am learning to listen to my body and my mind, and I could feel myself slowing down to a halt. Making mistakes in my work, not being able to speak coherently, not sleeping and feeling generally ill, I really felt like the little car in the last scene of the first Toy Story, where it’s racing and racing after the lorry and then runs out of battery and just runs to a complete stop in the middle of the road, completely burnt out. I know that we have all the self-care gurus all over Instagram nowadays spreading the importance of self-care and taking time for yourself, but it really is vital. And of course, self-care isn’t all just bubble baths and face masks. It’s things like setting boundaries with your time, stop saying ‘yes’ when you really mean ‘no’, taking days off, and not worrying about how rude you’ll look to your friends when you can’t keep up with the 50,000 WhatsApp messages. As a childless person, I really don’t have reason to not prioritise myself, and it’s something that I’m getting better at, albeit very slowly.

I’ll be writing another post about Burnout as I think there’s so much more to be said, but for now, I am back, alive and kicking and I’ll be recommencing my weekly posts very soon. Yahoooo! For now, enjoy this video that’s been doing the rounds again this week. It makes me laugh every single time I’ve watched it over the last 10 years or so, and I still think it’s one of the best videos on the internet!

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