recovering from feeling burned out - system is running on low power
Recovery isn’t linear in the most cases and recently I felt pretty burned out and tired and while I’m still sleepy and sometimes a bit low performing in terms of productive things, I’ll try to recap in this post how that has happend and what possible ways out of this may be.
how did this happen?
This year was full of amazing things, recapping this in a few bullets: * I got my first full-time job * I left uni for a job * I moved into a new flat share * I started to live in a city with even more friends I care about * I finally overcame my depressed episode entirely * cutted out toxic people of my life * and started to build healthy and caring relationships (<3!)
But recently I started to experience having issues to really focus on things, I forgot managing everyday tasks, focussed to much on exhausting things and nearly had a break-down again fearing that everything around me is too much.
The most heartbreaking thing on this is, that on one hand, I started to feel really good about mylife, on the other hand it felt like I disappointed people on different scales because I couldn’t keep up with my chores.
During the last two month situations like the following occured:
- I overworked myself, did a lot overtime, ending up not getting the required amount of work done in two projects.
- I miscommunicated so much in another project that I felt like dropping out of it.
- I ran into communication and workload errors with my flat mate, which made me feel really bad.
- I haven’t had weekends or a single day without work for a few weeks.
- I felt like that my appartment is still unfinished and I haven’t created my comfort zone yet.
- My physical health went down.
activities are consuming spoons
What I haven’t seen in a while is, that all the activities I did this year, were activities I’ve largely done for the first time, were new and exciting things, and more or less were things one can consider as work. It’s not easy getting comfy in the first post-uni job one has, neither is it easy to move places, getting comfortable in a new flat share, and figuring all the adult life things™ out.
Back in my uni days I was always considered a student employee with means I have had a different responsibility for things as I have now, it took quite a long time getting used to this.
Also the work mode I am in is different, since I worked on most of my current companies project alone, so I had to ace the project and time management layer as well, which is, in fact, something, where I still have to learn one or the other thing.
There was this project with a really short deadline, and instead of demanding another deadline or communicating where my problems are, I tried to meet it and somehow failed, because it simply wasn’t doable for a single person.
Instead of saying no to things I overworked myself and instead of communicating why things aren’t working out I internalised the development process completely, me ending up not having time to spare nor practicing self-care, nor doing my chores, I was basically kept in a circle.
What I’ve learned so far
So with all of these things in mind, this is what I’ve learned so far:
- to forgive myself
- to say no more often
- to not blame myself for not wanting to do something
- to communicate open & honest, especially when other people are involved
- that my mental health is more important than anything else
How to not be in such situations again?
I still have got issues with time management as well as with not being a perfectionist about things and not overachieving things at any price.
Before I moved to Berlin I was kind of unhappy with my life. That was, because, before I got into uni, I kind of em(o)bodied a depressed goth teenage theatre girl cliche, and was occupied dealing with my depression during my entire teen, so I haven’t had that much time figuring out what I wanted to do after finally having graduated. The first four years after graduating high school were a mess. I tried studying literature and linguistics and some social sciences as well, did intersectional feminist activism, worked in politics, worked in software development, since my parents never had that much money to support me, I, at some point, finally had the money to travel, and after a while I felt pretty lost, because on one hand I was good at what I was doing, but on the other hand I hardly had any goals in life anymore, nor any way to see what I already had accomplished.
The key point of that is, that I never was unhappy about the results of my work, but about me as a person, since I never felt enough for what I was doing. So there’s this other circle I had to deal with, related to self-esteem issues in the first place. I felt empty because I never valued myself as a person, so that was something I had to deal with as well.
So what I’m currently trying to do is:
- practising self-love, because the things I have accomplished are good and I am okay.
- trying to work with smaller tasks and constant growth rather than overwhelming myself with work out of the fear of not being enough.
- stop starting multiple side-projects only working on one work-related thing and one private project at the same time.
- communicate and plan my time schedules better.
refocussing on things that matter
So what I’ll probably do this year is to take a break of a week and refocus and reconnect myself to the stuff that matters to me, because I feel like so many things got out of focus while I was busy underestimating the work-load moving places, leaving uni and starting to work in the tech industry brings with it.
So what I’ll try to find out is what tools I’d like to use to structure my day, because I want to priotise my tasks, categorize them in musts and optionals, and finally try to shift from having an eye on short-term goals, which is interalised by me due to the work-mode at the university I had, to rather long-term goals.