Although I find it embarrassing to share such painful and embarrassing and deeply personal parts of my life, I have not found much truly helpful information about how to recover from burnout on the Internet. So I'm sharing with you anything that I've found to be useful as I recover.
I had a real hit-bottom moment last Sunday. I couldn't stop crying and John and I had to leave church not long after the service started. Thankfully, the panic that rises up when you can't control things in your body or your mind was lessened as soon as I remembered that just a few days earlier a friend of mine told be that sometimes you'll get hit with a bad day seemingly out of the blue. When I remembered that, I was able to at least get control of the panic, although it didn't help me to stop or control the crying.
It's been a tough week – way better than Sunday, but I feel like I've lost some of the ground I'd gained over the last several months. I decided I needed to start being more aware of what was going on in my body and my mind and why.
I made a note of the some of the things that – like the first sneeze when you start to wonder if you're coming down with a cold – give me warning that I need to take better care of myself. For me, these issues include:
- tight muscles, especially in my neck and shoulders, but really everywhere
- sleep problems, especially waking in the middle of the night and not falling asleep again
- feeling stressed or hurried even when I don't have a reason to be
- not breathing enough or deeply enough
- feeling angry or tearful for no apparent reason
Your warning signs may differ from mine, but I thought showing you my list would help you think of yours. Once we know what the warning signals are, we can be prepared with ways we can avoid another low point or even a panic attack.
I'm going to focus on breathing more and deeper, and I'm going to look for breathing exercises to help me calm my mind and body. I hope you find this to be encouragement to make your own list of warning signs, and come up with ways you can combat what's happening before you lose your footing. Good luck! We can do this!