Burn out is not the end

It has been two months of constant grind and when I felt burnt out, I thought I would never be able to pick myself back up again. Trigger warning.

Throughout the past months, I would not be exaggerating when I say that I was continuously working six days a week, with the remaining day spent on either leisure or more work. I was not overworked nor trying to fill my time with something to do. It so happens that work required more of my time, more energy and more workload was given. That plus university too, was definitely more than enough to put my everyday into being busy with something. Despite the tight schedule, managing to balance this with exercising, meeting and talking to friends was already a big feat to me.

A week or so ago, I came home all weary and drained somehow. I scheduled to write another essay that evening and decided to pass on it and opted for rest. Yet the next morning, I could not even find the energy to grab my laptop that was still in my bag from the previous night. Despite having a good amount of sleep too, the tiredness remained and my mind really felt like soup, except that soup has substance my brain did not have at the time.

I was scared. Truly. From the deepest part of my mind, something was screaming at me that what if I’m back to the hole that put me through so much shit. It also happened this time of the year, when I felt so caged and isolated in a box and my trust issues on others and myself intensified a thousand fold; when I thought so badly of myself and what others thought me. It all started with a burn out, and even to this day, I do not want to think about how it all ended. Simply speaking, I feared for what burn out may cost me this time.

I allowed myself the break that Sunday. Gently and with love, I comforted myself that burn out happens. What matters is how I deal with it, and I needed to be kind to myself. That resting will not make me less capable. That time off will not destroy what I have been working on. That breaking away from my productive routine will not reset anything. Of course, this convincing and reminders to myself did not engrave itself on my mind overnight because another day of not feeling up to do things only fuelled the anxiety, but that when there was a need to constantly remind myself to be gentle and kind to my anxious mind. How would I treat someone who’s scared? How would I talk to someone who’s afraid? That was the start.

I am feeling better. I’m back to work. This time with a more inspired outlook because I have just managed to not fall into the temptation to blame myself for what-ifs and what-could-have-beens. To everyone battling burn outs, anxieties and past fears, I see your struggle and I believe in you.

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