Updated: Jun 19, 2020
For a long time, I lived my life disconnected from my heart, body and soul - each existing in isolation; misaligned, lost and confused as to what the other needed. I was living my life predominantly in my masculine energy - logical, focused, pushing forward and felt disconnected from my feminine power - disconnected from love, care and intuition. Then in 2017, whilst walking barefoot on the beach in Kalamata, Greece my heart called and my soul tugged - we want to go home.
Since that day on the beach, there has been pain, breakthroughs (and breakdowns) and there has been transformations. I share with you in my words my path to reclaiming my feminine power and stepping loudly and proudly back into my authentic self - a highly sensitive, intuitive, sassy soul.
Firstly, I wanted to share with you my recovery from burn out as it is a significant part of my story over the last three years and what has lead me to being here today.
I define burnout as a ‘clusterf*ck of workplace stress', although the experts would describe it as:
a group of symptoms resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed, characterised by
- feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
- increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and
- reduced professional efficacy
At the peak of my burn out (2018), I had lost all ability in replenishing my energy stores; within a 12 month period I had taken annual leave twice, 12 weeks each time, had maxed out my sick leave and yet still felt depleted - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I had become stuck on a merry-go round of cynicism towards the organisation I worked for and its managers; and had difficulty meeting the requirements of my role - a role I was (and still am) passionate about, specialised in and was good at became painful to do.
The organisation I worked for and in the role I was in, provided compulsory monthly counselling sessions - the purpose of these monthly sessions was to prevent burn out and compassion fatigue!! *eye roll* The psychologist I saw each month provided by work was great, she helped me in many ways! However, the work environment I was in was not helpful in preventing burn out. The factors that contributed to my burn out were constantly present in my work environment and despite my best efforts to put in place my own strategies and support systems to minimise the harm - they failed because the work environment did not allow it.⠀
I knew I wanted things to change but being stuck on a merry-go round of cynicism made it difficult. I needed help to step off but I did not know how to do that. I needed to unpack all my negative work experiences, to understand them and to heal from them.⠀
I was angry. I was hurt. I was lost.⠀
I sought out my own counselling - you see, for a long time I have known that I am a reflective learner. I need time and space with my thoughts and my feelings to really digest and make meaning of life; I needed time and space to wholly heal! Counselling afforded me the time and space to deeply reflect. It took me 12 months of work with my psychologist to step off that merry-go round of cynicism, she helped me heal mentally and emotionally. This gave me the clarity I needed to see that physically and spiritually I was still depleted and the physically depletion was wrecking havoc on my body - in a significant, at times life threatening way.
So, I resigned!
Towards the end of my work with the psychologist, when I had regained clarity I had started to see that I gave and gave to everyone and anyone, in my professional life but also my personal life. For 30 something years, I gave until I gave out.
I had depleted my soul of its life force.
I had broken my own heart.
Deep down, I knew I needed to nurture my soul back to health. That is when I reached out to a heart centred life coach. With her support and guidance, I dove deep into exploring my soul; I became curious as to what were my soul needs and asked myself whether my mind and body were in alignment with my soul.
My three biggest lessons (there’s been many) I discovered from life coaching have been:
1. Being a sensitive/highly sensitive person is not a weakness or something to hide/suppress
2. Our needs matter and we are worthy of the same love and compassion that we so freely give to others, and
3. People pleasing has a detrimental impact on our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health
Discovering life coaching started a revolution inside my heart and soul and I have not looked back since.
Note: my physical recovery from burn out is intertwined with navigating the ebbs and flows of a chronic illness, so that is a decicated blog post for another day).⠀