My Burnout Story


So.... where have I been?

To be honest, I've been pretty good! Trying to live life, trying to build a career, trying to juggle my (then) full-time job, studies and relationship in one go... it's good, really.... until I experienced a burn-out in May. 

Burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to 
1. Physical and emotional exhaustion  
2. Cynicism and detachment  
3. Feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment
(retrieved from Psychology Today

I remember specifically on a Sunday when I woke up, I felt a strong sense of emptiness and worthlessness. I did not know how to enjoy my Sundays anymore. I just wanted to sleep and sleep and sleep. I cried, with my already puffy eyes from the crying the night before. I slept. I woke up and cried again.

Then I stopped, thinking to myself: oh shit, I'm depressed. I'm experiencing a major burn-out. I don't want this.

So I picked myself up, and started focusing on just one thing: cleaning up my space.

It's been so freaking long since I last take my own time in doing something FOR MYSELF. I appreciated it so much. I'm glad I was able to identify this with my knowledge on burnout. Then I thought to myself, how about those who are not aware of this? You can read more on the symptoms of burnout here, but here's some of the things that I've experienced (note: we are all different and amazing so no one will have exactly the same symptoms)

1. Feeling of worthlessness. 
I felt so damn unmotivated. My common thought was "What's the point?", to a point where I felt so useless and worthless. I had the perception that I have completely lost the power/control in changing things. That sucks.

2. Constantly feeling lethargic 
Very. Despite having naps, I still felt tired after waking up. The tiredness didn't appear to be physical, but it was more emotional and mental exhaustion. I can't believe how much I've cried this year. I don't know how to explain this feeling, but I know I'm not the only one feeling (you feel me right T_T)

3. Miserable
If there's one way to describe how I felt about burning out, it's miserable. Even when I went for trips with Joe, I was always occupied with the thought that I need to go back to the job I hate, I'm still useless, I'm nothing but a freaking failure... the list goes on. That was how miserable I was! With my mind constantly racing... that led to the next symptom.

4. Disturbance in sleep routine 
I couldn't sleep at night even if I felt tired. However, I napped a lot. Yet I still felt tired. Then, I cannot sleep at night. And it goes in full cycle.

5. Lost of appetite 
There are days when I don't even want to eat. Even eating is tiring. Hello, food leh! How can I ever say no to yummy food, but yeap, I did not have the appetite to eat.

I took around 3 months to fully recover from all the chronic exhaustion I experienced. Now, I'm working on pacing myself, and preventing myself from burning out. To be honest, I still don't think I'm 100% okay, but I am definitely in a better place now. Here are some of the steps I took (and am still taking) to take care of myself. It revolved around staying grounded, prioritizing your emotional health and knowing the "why".

1. Staying grounded
I continuously did a few things to keep myself grounded. Have you ever feel like you are floating around like a helium balloon, sometimes not even knowing what you did like 5 minutes ago? I felt so all the time during that period of time. What I do now to keep myself stay grounded are like journalling, meditating, working out and going for counselling. It may seem like hoo-haa boring stuff but man, it was important! I'll write how I do each of them specifically in upcoming posts. ;)

2. Prioritizing my emotional health 
Or basically prioritizing the above activities. The first and last thing I do in a day is to journal. I used to be the kind of person that would just work for hours straight. Well, you've guessed it right, I can't. I end up procrastinating, which causes so much guilt OR I just go depressed afterwards. Now? I found a great system to work for an hour and take 15 minutes breaks in between, using a timer. This morning I even woke up 15 minutes earlier just so I could quickly journal. I've been taking my emotional well-being more seriously after the burnout. I'll talk more about it.

3. Knowing the "why" 
This is ultimate. Many times, we go on auto-pilot mode where we just blindly do the things we do, especially when we're so caught up with meeting the daily needs. This ties closely to the first point. Knowing the 'why' keeps us grounded. I dedicated a whole day writing my vision and mission in life, identifying what feeds my soul and motivates me most. I review my purposes/whys at least once a week. I know it may sound cliche, but I swear just this ONE habit can keep you on track, and help you prioritize what must be done, and what can wait. :)

I know it is still quite a brief write-up. There's so much to cover! I'm glad I'm back on track and I hope I could discuss more of these topics here. I made a video about my experience as well (if you prefer to watch it instead), you can watch it here.

My question to you is, HOW ARE YOU? 
Check in with yourself. Really sit down and ask yourself this question.


  1. This is such an important post! Thanks for sharing and I’m glad you’ve found such great coping mechanisms. :)



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