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Trying to Heal the Burnout: One Month of Holiday

Posted on Jan 7, 2021 by

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Can one rest after years of overworking? Can one really take a break from it all? Maybe — if one can move to a cabin in the forest and have no human contact for a month. That’s my answer after trying to bring in that much awaited rest for my body and mind, and not doing a very good job at it.

one month of rest

I am starting the year with a month of holiday. The plan was to chill, take it easy, clear my head. We are one week into the month now and my plan doesn’t seem to roll out as I would have liked to. It turns out that I don’t know how to rest anymore; I don’t know how to have one lazy day after another, how to spend my time walking, sleeping and reading without feeling somehow guilty. And it’s no surprise: I spent the last years working a full-time job while trying to keep up with my blog and photography projects, which, in time, became more elaborate. Looking back, I have no idea how I had the energy to do it all. They say that if you do what you love, it doesn’t feel like work. Maybe that’s true, but it does make you tired, eventually.

The craziest time was 2018, the year when I suffered from post-viral fatigue syndrome after a terrible flu (I call it Covid18). My state was that of a vegetable for many months, and, even so, it’s the year when I did the most creative projects: interviews, theatre reviews, photography. Every time I could find a pocket of energy that wasn’t consumed by my daily job, I would use it for the projects. No one was forcing me, it was the only way I could feel alive, the way I could cope with the exhaustion that was encompassing me every day.

I got to rest from it in 2020 — because of the pandemic I couldn’t go to events and meet as many people as I would have wanted, so the creative projects were less, and done in isolation.

A walk on the beach

Now I have a full month of no daily job, and I can’t use it as I was hoping, or at least not yet. It might be because in December I was sick and now that I feel better I want to compensate for all the time I lost with that. But it is more probably because of the years of living in constant “to do” mode, the pressure that society puts on us to always be productive, the social media influence and all the other burdens of modern world. For the first time in years, I have the opportunity to do whatever I want with my days, and I should take advantage of that. But how? I was thinking this morning that I need a person who could meet me every few days and remind me it’s OK to rest, it’s OK to do nothing except things that make me happy (like painting or reading), and that the planet won’t collapse because of that. Maybe I will have to be that person and play the role, reminding myself every day that transformation is not easy and it’s a process that will take some time. None of us is an expert in changing their life, we need to learn as we go, and that’s just fine.

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