My life-changing burnout recovery journey

Burnout can manifest in various ways.

It is different for everyone.

Some people land up with stomach ulcers, depression, even autoimmune disease, but in the end, we all have something in common.

We are depleted, and we have no energy left in our batteries. We have burnt the candle at all ends (whether physically, mentally or emotionally) and our body is shouting at us.

Now is the time to listen!

If you don’t listen to your body’s messages, then your life as you know it WILL be over, and you could potentially lose EVERYTHING!

If you land up towards stage 12 of burnout, then you are no longer able to function as a ‘normal’ human being and often don’t even care about living anyway.

Take this quiz below to see where you might be on the ‘Stress Less, Live More Scale’.

Some people I have encountered have endured living with debilitating adrenal and chronic fatigue for more than 17 years – having to give up their job, not being able to exercise again, and becoming burdens on their family.

It is not worth it!
Believe me. I know!

Journal entry – June 2018:

“It’s a huge decision!

Do I carry on with my busy life ‘as usual’ and head home to my supportive family, caring for clients and friends? Or do I stay and focus on myself and my healing?

Going home means rushing, pushing, pressure, long work days, just sucking it up and being strong – being in that warrior, yang energy all over again. But how can I not? I have so many commitments and engagements that I ‘have to’ do, I tell myself.

Once again, I have added too many things to my diary, trying to please too many people and saying yes to everyone, except for myself. What to do? Should I stay, or should I go? I am exhausted at the thought of being back in that space: I have so many engagements over the next five months.

How can I let everyone down? But I can’t continue, I know this, I couldn’t even stand at the airport holding up the ‘Welcome to Bali’ sign for my ladies arriving on my retreat a few weeks ago. I almost fainted and had to sit down on the floor, in the middle of the arrivals area, to let the cold sweats and feeling of nausea wash over me and pass. All the while telling myself the usual mantra “You’ve got this! You can do this!” and just praying for the strength to make it through the next ten days.

Thank goodness I managed to survive and my ladies were happy. But now that my retreats are complete, I have a decision to make… do I go home and be ‘responsible’, or do I stay on this blissful island of Bali to heal?”

Deciding to put yourself first can be scary!

As women who can do it all and be everything to everyone, we are not used to putting ourselves first.

However, putting yourself first is not being selfish.
Thinking about yourself all of the time is.
It is important to remember the difference.

Self-love is not selfish, self-care is not selfish – by looking after yourself, you can then be a better human being and give more to others. But, you cannot give what you don’t have. So, you need to stop what you are doing, take some time out and reflect on what self-care rituals will help you heal.

Your time is now!

You have permission to rest.
You are not responsible for fixing everything that and for holding all the balls – for everyone – up in the air.
You do not have to try and make everyone happy.

Stop holding everything together.

Let the balls land where they need to.
For now, take time for you.
It is time to replenish, recharge and reprogram the way you do things so that you don’t have to feel so drained anymore.

Deciding to focus on your healing can be daunting, and fear might take over.
Now is the time to get out of your head and listen to your body and all the messages you are receiving.

After years of stress and running too many businesses, I became depleted entirely and had nothing left to give.
All the energy had been sucked out of me.
However, it was now time to decide.

What to do, what to do?

Journal entry – July 2018:

“I am sitting on the fence of my old life and this new one I am about to create. It is like I know that once I jump off and run into the sunset (oh it would feel good to be able to run again) … and head towards a new me… I won’t be coming back.

So, it is a little scary. I am afraid of whom I will be letting down, whom I will be leaving behind and all the FOMO I will have when I am missing out on the happenings back at home.

However, I know I need to make this decision. I know it’s going to alter the course of my life, forever. I know some people won’t understand. But, I have my body shouting at me and my soul begging, so I know that if I don’t put myself first and look after me, I will spiral further down into the abyss. I have a choice… and I choose ME! ”

The preparation

My 66 days of natural healing was originally not planned to be 66 days.
I just gave myself as long as I needed to get better.
I had created space in my life, and so I had no timeline, and although I had heard that healing from burnout could take anywhere between 3 months to 2 years – I was hoping that I wouldn’t be feeling the burnout symptoms for years to come!

During my program, I was doing much research and discovered through a workshop that I attended with functional medicine doctor, Dr Yulli, that – contrary to popular belief – it doesn’t take 21 days to change a habit (interesting to read about where this belief came from – https://jamesclear.com/new-habit )

According to recent science and research, on average, it takes more than two months before a new behaviour becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.

How long it takes a new habit to form, also varies hugely depending on the behaviour, the person, and the circumstances.

I didn’t have any expectations. I just knew that I desperately needed to heal!

So I carved out a few months in my life, lived in the healing and spiritual centre of Bali and gathered all the healers and support that I could find.

There was some prep work before I started on my ‘Burnout Rehab and Recovery Program’.

I was working with a Naturopath and Kinesiologist, and she gave me the outline of what I needed to do from a supplement and food point of view.

She also gradually helped me go off the anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills I had been on for four months. Plus, I had stopped the contraceptive pill a few months before that, so now I was on no medication and not putting anything toxic into my body. If I was going to heal correctly, I wanted to do it the natural, long term and sustainable way.

So with a suitcase of supplements (delivered kindly by my parents who where coming over to visit as I couldn’t get them all in Bali), a new clean eating regime, feeling better already, after the side effects lifting a little, now that I was off the meds, a lovely villa to stay in and a clear diary… I started on my journey to healing.

The burnout recovery program

Week 1 – Detoxing my life

 

Journal entry:

How am I feeling?

  • Depressed, sad, demotivated, lethargic and in pain.
  • I have an aching body, headaches, bleeding and swollen gums and a bloated, sore stomach.
  • I can’t stand and feel as though I am going to faint all the time.
  • I feel nauseous like I have sea sickness 24hrs a day
  • I’ve just got over a bladder infection… but I think the yeast infection is back?

I feel like I am in ‘Princess and the Pea’ mode – everything hurts!

My muscles ache, my joints are painful, and any little bump on my scooter hurts and reverberates through my entire body.

The back of my heart aches (which I realised in my meditation today is because I am not feeling supported), my kidneys & lower back are so painful even when doing a gentle Balinese massage.

My brain is so foggy – it seems like I have what all my mommy friends call ‘pregnancy brain’.

I am extremely sensitive to smells, sounds/loud noise, light exposure, and I don’t want to be around people.

Anything traumatic affects me – or any negative energy – and seeing a plastic bottle floating in the sea brought me to tears.

I’m not depressed, I am just exhausted and angry at myself for letting it all get this bad!

What is my routine & healing program?

No admin, no chores, no responsibilities, cleanliness, quiet, beauty, no noise, little talking, minimal time on my phone & computer, no social media (it makes me feel useless), and I can only do 1 thing a day – that includes a gentle yoga session, a grocery shop, a visit to a healer. The rest of the time I have to be horizontal in bed.

What do I want for my life at the moment?

  • I don’t know. I do know, however, that I don’t want to feel what I am feeling right now!
  • My biggest wish – what I want more than anything else in the world right now – is to get better.
  • I can’t live with this pain and sadness anymore.

Week 2 – Clearing my mind and changing the way I think

 

Journal entry:

How am I feeling?

  • I feel at peace when I wake up – another 10hr deep sleep. These supplements and Chinese medicine tablets are clearly working!
  • My back actually feels ok, not so painful and achy anymore.
  • I have more energy and fewer headaches.
  • My head actually feels quite clear. Could this be because I stayed in bed most of yesterday?
  • I definitely feel better after resting more yesterday… mmm… I might be onto something here!

What is my routine & healing program?

I do very gentle yoga on the balcony at my villa – but only when I feel up to it. Doing seated meditation seems impossible as my body is too exhausted and sore… so I have stopped doing my TM meditation twice a day and just doing Yoga Nidra and lying down meditations instead.

I have added in a gentle breathing technique that I learned in my Ashram in India, a healing chakra visualisation from my meditation teacher at the Yogabarn, an energy clearing from the Guru in the ashram in Ubud, and end off with a ‘bliss bubble’ meditation

The Reiki master I went to see told me that I don’t have negative energy – my problem: “too much heavy on my mind”. It reminds me of what my iridologist said – I am a perfectionist, and this is the cause of most of my stress. I’m going home now to do Dr Dimartini’s coaching questions. Perhaps if I change my mind, my beliefs, my expectations, the way I perceive things… then my physical ailments will get better. My energy is good, so now the next steps… I start working on my mind!

Week 3 – Letting go of limiting beliefs

 

Journal entry:

How am I feeling?

  • Feeling a lot better. Less fatigue, fewer headaches. My brain is back! Yay!
  • Dealing with fear around money – limiting beliefs and how that has affected me. Working on the negative emotions from what happened in my past, 8 years ago.
  • I got woken up in the middle of the night with the earth shuddering. Was it another earthquake or was it the Universe waking me up to give me a message? “Stop playing small” – is what I am being told. It is a protection, I know, but I’m scared to put myself ‘out there’ in the world. One of my limiting beliefs… “WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK”. Of course, this stems back to my feelings of doubting myself, not feeling like I know enough and not feeling good enough.
  • After working with various practitioners, it keeps on coming up that being a perfectionist is really affecting my life. Gotta let that go!

What is my routine & healing program?

  • Focusing on NAET treatments
  • Get out and about in Bali – loving all the health cafes, going to talks, swim time & chilling
  • Self-coaching around the pool
  • Yoga self-practice but I also managed a Gentle Yoga class at Yogabarn. It is a huge step!
  • Tapping and EFT – releasing emotions behind trauma and any beliefs I have about myself.

Week 4 – Getting back into the flow

 

Journal entry:

How am I feeling?

Seriously Universe! What is going on?!

Life can sometimes feel so unfair. Why is it all feeling stuck and not working out? What is blocking it? Why is it not in flow?

I am travelling to Singapore to get my business visa authorized, so I am unable to execute my program fully, plus having the additional stress of travelling (and eating travel food) is making me feel pretty yucky. However, I don’t have that intense fatigue anymore though, and I can handle the travel stress and change of plans without bursting into tears! That is progress.

Deep down I actually know why Life feels stuck. I just don’t want to admit it. It’s time though, I need to make another big decision!

What is my routine & healing program?

Soul chats! Having some quality time with myself, chats with my soul and journaling the answers. It’s quite profound what an impact this has on me and the insights I get from the ‘conversations’. I know I haven’t been connecting too much with my inner wisdom & intuition because life got too busy… but now I am reminded once again how important it is. No matter how scary. I need to listen.

Week 5 & 6 – Working with the elements

Journal entry:

How am I feeling?

Wow, these past two weeks have been profound!

I have just completed a Teacher Training, combining Thai Yoga Massage, Chinese Medicine and 5 elemental yoga. I was worried that I wouldn’t have the energy for it, but I absolutely loved it, felt so inspired and was even getting through a daily yoga practice! Halleluiah!

Through studying the 5 elements, I learned more tools to ‘let go’ and even had a profound moment in meditation where I realized… it’s not about anyone else… it is about me not supporting myself, not saving myself. I have been doing it for everyone else but not for me. From now on I have to put myself first – my health depends on it!

What is my routine & healing program?

  • Inspirational teachings.
  • Daily yoga, meditation and breath work.
  • Daily laughs and dancing (most of the group with whom I did the Teacher Training are Latino! So much of fun)
  • Regular healing Thai Yoga Massages.
  • Spending time with like-minded people who love me for who I am and see me as “Shiny Queen” even though I feel anything but.

Week 7 & 8 – Healing through knowledge of Self

Journal entry:

How am I feeling?

Feeling energised and ready to get out and about in Ubud and connect with friends again!

It’s amazing how all the healers and readers are telling me the same thing. It puts me at ease, knowing I have a ‘road map’ to my life and what actions to take (or not to take, actually) according to the knowledge I have been gathering about myself and my life.

I am ‘checking in’ with myself and using my intuition on which healers to see and which talks or workshops to attend – all the while focusing on nurturing and healing me.

What is my routine & healing program?

  • Continuing my regular yoga home practice, clean living and healing techniques included from the past six weeks
  • My annual astrology update session
  • Discovering my spiritual gifts and that which I can share with the world (I already kinda knew, but it was great to have confirmation)
  • Seeing traditional Balinese healers
  • Getting clear on my vision and what I want to do going forward
  • Still keeping it slow though and making sure I don’t overdo it and undo all my hard work for the past six weeks!

Week 9 – Overcoming fear

Journal entry:

How am I feeling?

It’s amazing! As soon as fear sets in then my symptoms of feeling dizzy, having brain fog and headaches, and constricting throat and stomach aches come back. When chatting to my Naturopath about it, she says that fear directly affects the adrenal glands, so this week is all about discovering what I am feeling so afraid of and why it is creating havoc on my body!

What is my routine & healing program?

  • Get out of my head and into my body!
  • Listen to my body’s messages
  • Weekly acupuncture
  • Twice weekly NAET treatments – now we have moved on to the emotions as they directly affect the organs
  • Astrology. It is the last week in this cycle of dealing with my shadow side – not allowing myself to be vulnerable. Putting on a mask and pretending that everything is fine. I need to let go of this fear, and from here everything will feel a lot lighter.

Week 10 – Celebrating life!

 

Journal entry:

How am I feeling?

It has been 66 days of surviving ‘Superwoman School’, and although I don’t quite feel like I am Freedom Woman just yet, I do feel as though I know what I need to do, to carry on this healing journey and get closer to redesigning my life.

I feel good physically – I can walk around Ubud for a whole afternoon without feeling the tiny bit drained or depleted, I can do Vinyasa yoga again, I can enjoy life once again, I can laugh again, and I can connect with friends again.

I do still feel super sensitive to any negative energy but as a Guru told me: “meditation doesn’t make you happier and more peaceful, it makes you more in tune with your surroundings.” So I guess I just have to be super selective with whom I spend my time with and what I do in the day.

What is my routine & healing program?

  • Having fun and celebrating!
  • We are travelling around the Nusa islands, exploring the beaches, the restaurants and having a glass of bubbly at sunset of day 66 to celebrate!

What is the difference between healing and curing?

From “A Time for Healing” by Eddie & Debbie Shapiro

To “cure” is to mend, or bring something that is unwell to a state of wellness. It is usually concerned with the particular part that is unwell, rather than with the whole. For instance, a broken bone can be cured by putting on a cast and a disease can be cured by eliminating the diseased parts. The act of curing something should not be underestimated; medicines do play a vital role in our sense of well being.

To “heal” means to become whole. It is to come into a wholeness of body, mind and heart. The healing journey is that of an awakening by ourselves, to ourselves. It is the ultimate journey we can make, for it is a uniting of ourselves with who we really are.

Each one of us has a story. Each of us experiences conflict and hurt as we grow. This is the stuff we can work with and work through, in order to find out wholeness. It can seem like such a big step – where to begin, how to do it, what happens next?

But in the very moment that we are willing to see ourselves just as we are, when we bring our conscious awareness into action, it is in that moment that our healing begins. To heal is to bring compassion and awareness to that which we have rejected, or withdrawn from. It is to bring acceptance and tenderness to all parts of our being”

This is not your practice life!

Create a life that feels good on the inside, not just one that looks good on the outside!

Wishing you much love & sunshine

Your Life Transformation Angel
Sharni Quinn

PS. If you would like some more information on how to Stress Less, Live More and LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE, then follow me on Instagram or join my Facebook page where I share loads of free content with you.

Or you can visit my website www.sharniquinn.com and see if my 5 Week Stress Management Yoga Course, 10 Week Life Transformation Program, or International Retreats resonate with you.

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