Updated: Jan 24
A Burnout Recovery Story: Part I
When we made the decision to postpone our Burnout Recovery Event last week, 3 things occurred to me:
Clearly, asking humans who are burnt out to come to an event, isn’t necessarily the best way to help these folks. Although the event is high value and something they’re really interested in learning more about (and will help them!), ultimately it also is just “another thing” on their to-do list… …which, as we discuss in Phase 2 of the burnout journey, is not a vibe to make that request of these tired people.
This event’s goal is ultimately to help and teach people. To help them identify areas of life that they may be experiencing burnout, to teach them ways that they can cope in their current season of their burnout journey, and to show them how they can work to recover from (and prevent future) phases of burnout. If our intention is to help people, we don’t need to host an event to do this. I mean, don’t get us wrong, we LOVE hosting events and are so excited to get to host one in the future (as planned), but in the meantime, we can absolutely continue forth with our original mandate and use the wonderful world of digital media to help us help you!
It’s probably beneficial to share more details about my own personal journey through burnout. This past year has been one of intense ups and downs for me (Kelsey). From hitting (quite literally) my burnout break-down in March of this year to really putting intention and work into figuring WTF was going on in my life, and, finally, to genuinely feeling like I am thriving in my post-burnout recovery (so much so that I want to share my story with the whole world).
So, I’m going to do that. Share my story. Right…..now :)
My Journey To Burnout Breakdown (aka. BB-D Day)
In order to get to my burnout break-down (and I promise it’s worth sticking around to that doozy part of the story), I have to give you, my dear reader, a quick flash summary of how I got to March 2022 (aka. “BB-D” Day)...
Once upon a time..
Just kidding. Here’s what you need to know (aka. The Cole’s Notes):
Creative soul who drank the corporate “kool-aid” early on in her 20’s as a “temporary solution” (*cough* 7 years *cough*) to a short term financial need.
During that time, this creative soul climbed the corporate ladder with her engrained work ethic and organisational prowess. As a bi-product, she consistently convinced herself that her creativity (and those related pursuits) were not worth the energy and time…(I’m sure you can guess where this story is going…) as her “big fancy money making job” didn’t leave her with much energy and/or time.
Eventually our trapped creative soul got up the nerve to sever the proverbial “corporate-cord” (so scary) to go out on her own and start her own business in…marketing. Aka, the closest “corporate” business she could run that allowed her some creativity and the ability to earn income. This in the hopes that she would have an “expected healthy balance” between being creative and successful. (P.s. Note the quotations...hint hint).
As some readers can perhaps identify with, when you have the potential to earn “unlimited” income (“unlimited” in terms of just your own time and energy) what tends to happen is that you push yourself to make as much as possible. And when you get there (to that next income milestone), instead of saying “yay!! I did that and I’m amazing” *pats self on back*, you say “Pft…I can do better”. And so the pattern is created.
This pattern never leads anywhere good…
And so, this is where our creative soul (aka. me, myself and I) found herself in March of 2022...
Scene opens with Kelsey and Kris (<-- Ride or Die to Kelsey), sitting in their car. Kelsey has picked up Kris from work, she’s on the bluetooth with a very “out of alignment/energy drain” client (more on this later) about an event that has been causing a boat-load of stress. They’re running late for something…? More likely not, just Kelsey’s typical on-going underlying anxiety about being late for something at all times (isn’t this normal?).
Kelsey starts backing up the car, oblivious to the fact that there is a commercial truck parked right behind her. The car sensors are going off, the commercial truck is clearly on the backup camera and in all the mirrors, Kelsey’s client is talking at her, Kris starts yelling, and all Kelsey does is keep backing up…right into the flippin’ truck.
At that moment, Kelsey broke down. With that literal jolt back into reality, she looked around and realized that her present reality was…not going to sustain her for much longer.
After ensuring no damage to the other truck (none, it was a huge truck vs. a car and “Luckily” there was only minor damage to our sweet bat-mobile) and driving home to a brigade of very valid “WTF is going on with you?” questions from Kris, Kelsey made it home through tears of frustration to exit the car with a flourish and a dramatic, but bold, claim of:
“I’m a failure. I fail at everything. I’m just going to go pick up dog shit because at least I’m capable of succeeding at that.”
Yup - not a very proud moment for me looking back.
But, amongst the cringey-ness of that statement, even I had enough wherewithal to say to myself “well that’s a tad bit dramatic don’t you think”?
With that “reality check” I was able to come into my own personal awareness that I was one sad, lonely, stressed out, burnt out human being. That one moment was the kick-off point for me to take ownership of my situation and figure out whatever I needed to figure out in order to change course and take charge of my own happiness and well-being.
There's light at the end of the tunnel (even if it's a long and seemingly never-ending tunnel).
And so started a 6-month journey of “decluttering” my life (scaling down my business, taking a pause from anything that was draining me that I was capable of stepping away from, etc.) in order to create space (both internal and external spaces), to free up time/energy/mental bandwidth to focus on what I truly wanted to be doing with this season of my life.
Through that process, I was able to devote more of myself to learning, listening, watching, and reflecting…on anything and everything that was in my life that was:
Making me happy & bringing me joy
Causing me stress or draining my energy
Missing from my life that I wanted to add in
Waiting for me to rediscover and redefine a “grown-up Kelsey”
It has been this intentional journey, the learning, the podcasts, the books, the conversations about shared experience, and everything else that have helped me make the connection that there are SO many people going through something similar.
This connection (the “ah-ha moment” of shared experience) is what made me want to host a burnout event and help others in the first place! I want to share the tools and insights and practices and learnings that have guided and truly helped me. And I want more than anything to stand in my ability and opportunity to GET TO provide support to my community.
I didn’t know I was burnt out until I had to literally back my car into something to realize what was happening in my life. I don’t want others to have to get that far before they can start to identify, manage, and heal from their own burnout journeys.
So I guess this is basically the “long story long” version of “what’s next for fika”.
What’s next is that we’re going to be showing up for you (our dear community) and do our best to help you in the HERE and NOW in ways that you can manage and get excited about.
(THEN we’ll host an event and all of you fabulous folks will be chomping at the bit to come and meet everyone else who is on this super cool journey.)
Thanks for sticking around with us. Love y’all!
Your Fika Guide, Kelsey.