How My 10-12 months-Previous Actually Sees My Working Mother Burnout
A burnout experience is never your own – it would be selfish to believe that it was.
Your actions and behaviors have effects on your surroundings ranging from small to seismic, but here’s the thing: it’s not like dropping a stone into a pond with immediate effect. The Burnout Stone is inherently secret; it gradually creeps up on you and the others in your life, in the moonlight like the ugly stepsisters – stress, fear, and fatigue – until you bump into the wall.
When the rolling stone gains momentum, people around you politely take up your stepsisters, adapt to your behavior, and accept it for who you are. Meanwhile, your internal conflict increases, your self-confidence decreases, and your subconscious efforts for self-preservation let you withdraw.
You know this life doesn’t work Even so, you put your foot on harder. Calls from friends go unanswered and social invitations dry up; Work becomes your excuse because it makes you feel important and justifies your behavior. Without knowing it, you create an identity that is not easy to coexist with, while your surroundings leave you alone.
That is where the problem lies: acceptance. From everyone, including you. Burnout is associated with a decline in mental health and general well-being; Others may see the problem, but until you are ready to admit it on your own, you won’t listen.
The people around you don’t understand why you keep bothering yourself with it. You don’t understand the fear that drives you – of losing your identity and high income. Never be successful again. Leaving what you’ve worked so hard for.
If you don’t understand, how can you expect others to do it?
My close circle consists primarily of my boy Lewis. For the first 10 years of his life he knew me as some kind of person – one I didn’t particularly like and, as I recently found out, neither did he. Five years ago I had to give up a lucrative career that was no longer good for me. It turned out that this single mother had a finite end to being on 24/7 standby for 14 years serving the implant needs of Melbourne’s spinal surgeon.
It was then that I decided to tell Lewis what I was going through. Since there were only two of us in the household, I couldn’t and didn’t want to hide what I was going through. He knew I resigned because I wanted to change who I was. He knew that I would visit my psychologist every month and create a new, more fulfilling life for myself. One that gave us priority for the first time. I redesigned myself piece by piece.
Tireless curiosity, which served me well as a sales professional, became my superpower for self-discovery. Energy became my currency as I searched for my goal – understanding what I stood for, what lit me up, and how I can vigorously protect it to avoid ever ending up in the same mess again.
Success would no longer be defined by my sales number. It would be defined by the integrity of what defined me and how I brought it to life through the gesture of giving, human connection and learning.
Today, as I watch Lewis smash steaming crpes drowned in amber maple syrup, I can’t help turning my mind back to the days when he sucked his breakfast through a thick red and white straw and a barber – Shop rod sticking out of a domed plastic cup. Some mornings we were so upset as if the house had puked out the door. I called the local cafe by speed dialing while I switched the car ignition on and pre-ordered our liquid breakfast. If something came up on the way, we were too late.
There are no words to describe how happy I am to leave that morning pressure cooker in another life. In comparison, today’s teenage mornings can best be described as slow cooking. We get up without the unwanted intervention of a high-pitched alarm, our bodies and minds are rested and ready for the day ahead. The morning is calm, so is my brain.
The new relaxed pace has given my brain a chance to recover from 15 years of reality I swept under the rug. To learn how to function to your full capacity rather than scorching your limits with a constant state of emotional reactivity. It’s a brain that’s happy where it is and doesn’t desperately wish it was somewhere it wasn’t.
I recently had a lightbulb moment that grabbed Lewis, his youthful enthusiasm and a rainbow pad of post-its. Together we have accomplished what I can only call an intimate moment of truth.
With a line down the center of a blue billboard, I asked Lewis if he would like to share how he felt about himself and how he would describe me before and after I left my job. I assured him that he had a free hand: “Say what you want, be honest, there is no right or wrong here. I will respect everything you write. ”From my point of view, I would do the same, the left side stands for“ before ”and the right for“ after ”my resignation.
His post-it notes were pink, mine were yellow – and did he paint this board pink? He let go. Pink notes were enthusiastically clapped left, right and in the middle: “angry”, “lonely” and “never listen to me” staring into my face from which I could not hide.
There I stood and thanked God that his words on the right – “calm”, “laughing” and “listen to me” – now balanced. Phew
Two special notes that needed explanation were the name of the company I used to work for on the left and “Sitcheff”, my last name, on the right. “What are they there for, buddy?” I asked. “I’ve thought that was your last name for ages, mom.” I guess if your mom answered the phone like this all your life, you probably would too.
I was shocked. At that moment, I was immediately grateful that I had given everything away. And for the realization that my journey would always be his journey as well.
Peta was forced to take a break from life after a 14-year career with Melbourne’s spinal surgeon in the relentless world of medical device sales. The following year was her lovely mess. Today, as a consultant, speaker and coach, Peta inspires teams and builds companies and is always committed to more sustainable professional practices that minimize burnout. She recently published a book about her experiences in the distribution of medical devices and their subsequent personal transformation: My Beautiful Mess – Life through Burnout & Rediscovery. Connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.