It never happens to us until it does. And when it happens, we feel so many contradictory emotions that can be overwhelming and difficult to handle.
There are a lot of resources about burnout- how to prevent it, how to deal with it and learn from it. Many cases of burnout lead to long term absence and sometimes exit from the company and there are a lot of questions about emerging from burnout and getting back to the job market.
I have been there and I also have worked with people who have been there and I always have these 3 important pieces of advice.
Burnout is a difficult life situation and a lot of burnout survivors take long time to accept it and then properly heal and recover. There is one, hugely important thing to remember – you need to be ready and feel ready to get back. However you decide to continue, whether in your previous role, or in a brand new job, company, working arrangement, if you are not really ready, your comeback will be extremely difficult and most likely, unsuccessful.
How to know if you are ready? Everybody is different, but when you feel actual longing for tasks, being involved and engaged in projects, ability to contribute and feel part of something, that’s when you feel ready.
Now that’s the part we all struggle with. Because a stigma around burnout is so strong, a lot of us are ashamed to admit we have/ had burnout. I have been there. I know the feeling. But I also know that once you feel ready and start talking about this, you regain full control of your situation. And it is liberating, empowering and helps you find the right place for your new you. You don’t need to Tweet about it, but start opening to people who ask how you feel, colleagues, relatives. These conversations will be a great support system in your new journey.
Burnout sucks. There is no doubt about it. Hopefully, you have been able to get professional support in your recovery process. And as much as it may sound strange, I always encourage people to learn from their burnout. Wonder, dream, analyse, draw, paint, journal… whichever format helps you process and understand your history and, most important, your future self. Once you emerge from burnout, you will be (trust me!), more self-aware and I encourage you to simply be You, new You.
Remember, from now on, burnout will always be part of your story, but it is only up to you if you use the newly-gained knowledge and clarity to enjoy life and find fulfilment.