Lately I’ve needed a reminder to stop and smell the roses. I’ve been so focused on getting well and preparing for a new career that I am failing to enjoy life fully.
I’ve been really focussed on stepping up the exercise and a bit annoyed that I have to step up the rest as my body adjusts to the new normal. I remember my running days when I could run five kilometers easily in half an hour. Now a five kilometer walk takes me an hour. And I can’t even run one kilometer. That’s not because I’m unfit. It’s because I am recovering from burnout.
Instead of trying to beat my body into submission, I took the advice I received recently. We live near a river and last week I decided to take an amble next to the river. There are risks in walking near the river as you can encounter the occasional vagrant and some criminals hide out in hard-to-see spots. We have better security than we used to so I thought it reasonably safe to take a walk at a leisurely pace for a change.
What a different experience than pounding the pavement, dodging traffic and begrudgingly greeting runners (out of jealousy of course). It was as if I was deep in nature. I noticed birds and butterflies, the sound of water flowing over the rocks and a sense of calm came over me. The traffic melted into the distance and I didn’t feel that I had to beat my previous best walk any time soon.
Sometimes a shift in perspective is all we need to have some sort of breakthrough. I now find the walks peaceful and enjoyable. The frustration I felt before is no longer there and I’m being a lot more gentle on myself as I acclimatise to exercise again. I also had some new insights on what to do for my work opportunities. I’ve realised that I want to work on sales and marketing, using what I learnt in my business. I can apply many of the same lessons and tools I used there into my new career. Now, however, I have to brand and market myself which will be a new experience.
It is hard to explain to someone what it feels like to experience a burnout. There are those who think a short run will sort me out. I tried to jog 300 meters a few weeks ago and I slept for hours that afternoon and slept right through my alarm clock to fetch my daughter. The recovery requirement from physical exertion and stress is significant for me at the moment.
There are others who tell me not to do any exercise, but that doesn’t work either as my body needs to move to be healthy. I’m working on this inflammation in my back which is assisted by yoga and biokinetics. I think the main lesson for me is to take it slow and to be gentle with myself. Slowly, I will become stronger and my body will become accustomed to exercise again. I look forward to a time when I can do a run without major recovery needed. But that is still in the future and there is much to learn in the meantime. Like how to brand myself as a writer, speaker and workshop host.Follow me: