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Let’s navigate the journey from burnout to blissful balance together!

Learn how I turned exhaustion into empowerment, and am now living a life full of energy and love.

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My Burnout Story

February 07, 20245 min read

"Being given the time to do activities that nourished my spirit was the ultimate in self-care."

Burnt out.

Overwhelmed.

Overloaded.

And utterly exhausted.

That was me, more times than I can count. 

Almost two decades in the teaching game taught me that...

burnout was practically part of the job description. 

But back when I started, the word 'burnout' wasn’t used as often as it is now. It was just the unspoken reality of the grind.

At the time, especially when I first started teaching, I had no idea that I was suffering from burnout- it’s not like I was the only one who was feeling tired and stressed. 

Besides, I thought it was normal. I was just learning to be a teacher, and I wanted to be an excellent one. I wanted to prove myself and earn my permanent certificate and my continuing contract. In a couple of years, I was sure things would slow down and I would be able to have more balance in my life

It never did. 

Despite changing principals, schools, grades, programs, and even countries, teaching remained a challenging career that occupied all my time and demanded too many sacrifices.  

Not every teacher, of course, has the same experience. Some are better able to balance their personal and professional lives. Nonetheless, many have had similar experiences, which explains the often-cited 30% of new teachers who leave the profession in the first five years. 

I didn’t leave in five, but over 18 years…

I burned out numerous times. 

And over 18 years, I had several wake-up calls telling me I should— 

Slow down. 

Have more balance

Put myself first

But I didn’t heed the warnings and kept doing the same things over and over again…

Until I was put on a forced leave of absence.

That was a difficult time. I was doubting and questioning who I was. Why was I still in this profession that I had given up so much for? Was staying another 13 years worth 'the golden handcuffs' of a decent pension, excellent benefits, and great holidays? 

With extra time on my hands, I debated starting a side hustle or finding other ways to stay busy, but my partner told me to enjoy the time off. We didn’t know how long it would last and maybe I should look at it as a gift. He encouraged me to pursue the things I loved and to discover new passions.

So I did.

As I was off work in the spring, I spent more time outside, planting my first garden, and working in the yard. All of my workouts were outdoors too, and I went biking, walking, or running nearly every day. Having the freedom to be active outside whenever I wanted made my heart so happy.  

Personal development books and podcasts became my essential companion when I had alone time and I listened to so many while training for my first marathon that fall.

Brené Brown, in one of my favourite discoveries, The Gifts of Imperfection, wrote “If we want to make meaning, we need to make art. Cook, write, draw, doodle, paint, scrapbook, take pictures, collage, knit, rebuild an engine, sculpt, dance, decorate, act, sing— it doesn’t matter. As long as we’re creating, we’re cultivating meaning.” 

And so I did. 

Refinishing old furniture, crafting a wreath for the door, taking LOTS of pictures, creating photo collages, cooking new and exotic dishes, redecorating our house, throwing dance parties in the kitchen…

My partner’s shift work allowed us to go on road trips to the mountains in the middle of the week when crowds were fewer. We were able to do some spring skiing, and lots of hiking (the goal was 21 summits in 2021 and while we fell short, the challenge was definitely a fun one!). 

Meditation, something I never thought I would do (quiet my mind—ha!), became something I needed to try and now I rely on it to keep me more balanced and able to handle life’s ups and downs. 

I had always been a reluctant student of yoga, but I found 30-Day Challenges with Yoga with Adriene to be quite grounding and something I could easily add to my day. 

My journaling practice expanded by adding daily affirmations to my daily gratitudes. I journalled more than before to figure out what I wanted and how I wanted to live my life (this is where the real clarity started to happen). 

I know now that…

Being an overachieving perfectionist who wants to do everything herself makes me more prone to burnout.

Setting and enforcing boundaries is vital. Back when I had no personal or professional boundaries, I worked too much and took on too many responsibilities.

Ignoring my feelings and burying myself in my work, then binge-watching Netflix while eating ice cream, didn’t help me deal with the stress I was constantly under and put my health and wellness at risk.

Those 6 months were truly a gift and I am very grateful that I was given the time to rediscover who I was and what I wanted.

What I’ve come to realize since is that being given the time to do activities that nourished my spirit was the ultimate in self-care. 

Before I had thought self-care was more of an indulgent soak in a big tub with bubbles and a glass of wine (thanks, Instagram!). 

But for me, it was doing things that I enjoyed, alone or with the people I love, that nourished my mind, my body, and my soul. I was taking care of myself and putting myself first, something that I hadn’t done before, and that was a big part of why I burnt out teaching. 

Self-care is a necessity, not a nice-to-have. 

Without it, we can’t be the mothers, partners, daughters, sisters, friends, colleagues, or women we want to be. Just like putting your oxygen mask on first when you’re on a plane, you need to prioritize your own wellness so that you can be the best version of yourself for the people who love (and depend on!) you.

That’s my burnout story. What’s yours?


Back to Blog
blog image

My Burnout Story

February 07, 20245 min read

"Being given the time to do activities that nourished my spirit was the ultimate in self-care."

Burnt out.

Overwhelmed.

Overloaded.

And utterly exhausted.

That was me, more times than I can count. 

Almost two decades in the teaching game taught me that...

burnout was practically part of the job description. 

But back when I started, the word 'burnout' wasn’t used as often as it is now. It was just the unspoken reality of the grind.

At the time, especially when I first started teaching, I had no idea that I was suffering from burnout- it’s not like I was the only one who was feeling tired and stressed. 

Besides, I thought it was normal. I was just learning to be a teacher, and I wanted to be an excellent one. I wanted to prove myself and earn my permanent certificate and my continuing contract. In a couple of years, I was sure things would slow down and I would be able to have more balance in my life

It never did. 

Despite changing principals, schools, grades, programs, and even countries, teaching remained a challenging career that occupied all my time and demanded too many sacrifices.  

Not every teacher, of course, has the same experience. Some are better able to balance their personal and professional lives. Nonetheless, many have had similar experiences, which explains the often-cited 30% of new teachers who leave the profession in the first five years. 

I didn’t leave in five, but over 18 years…

I burned out numerous times. 

And over 18 years, I had several wake-up calls telling me I should— 

Slow down. 

Have more balance

Put myself first

But I didn’t heed the warnings and kept doing the same things over and over again…

Until I was put on a forced leave of absence.

That was a difficult time. I was doubting and questioning who I was. Why was I still in this profession that I had given up so much for? Was staying another 13 years worth 'the golden handcuffs' of a decent pension, excellent benefits, and great holidays? 

With extra time on my hands, I debated starting a side hustle or finding other ways to stay busy, but my partner told me to enjoy the time off. We didn’t know how long it would last and maybe I should look at it as a gift. He encouraged me to pursue the things I loved and to discover new passions.

So I did.

As I was off work in the spring, I spent more time outside, planting my first garden, and working in the yard. All of my workouts were outdoors too, and I went biking, walking, or running nearly every day. Having the freedom to be active outside whenever I wanted made my heart so happy.  

Personal development books and podcasts became my essential companion when I had alone time and I listened to so many while training for my first marathon that fall.

Brené Brown, in one of my favourite discoveries, The Gifts of Imperfection, wrote “If we want to make meaning, we need to make art. Cook, write, draw, doodle, paint, scrapbook, take pictures, collage, knit, rebuild an engine, sculpt, dance, decorate, act, sing— it doesn’t matter. As long as we’re creating, we’re cultivating meaning.” 

And so I did. 

Refinishing old furniture, crafting a wreath for the door, taking LOTS of pictures, creating photo collages, cooking new and exotic dishes, redecorating our house, throwing dance parties in the kitchen…

My partner’s shift work allowed us to go on road trips to the mountains in the middle of the week when crowds were fewer. We were able to do some spring skiing, and lots of hiking (the goal was 21 summits in 2021 and while we fell short, the challenge was definitely a fun one!). 

Meditation, something I never thought I would do (quiet my mind—ha!), became something I needed to try and now I rely on it to keep me more balanced and able to handle life’s ups and downs. 

I had always been a reluctant student of yoga, but I found 30-Day Challenges with Yoga with Adriene to be quite grounding and something I could easily add to my day. 

My journaling practice expanded by adding daily affirmations to my daily gratitudes. I journalled more than before to figure out what I wanted and how I wanted to live my life (this is where the real clarity started to happen). 

I know now that…

Being an overachieving perfectionist who wants to do everything herself makes me more prone to burnout.

Setting and enforcing boundaries is vital. Back when I had no personal or professional boundaries, I worked too much and took on too many responsibilities.

Ignoring my feelings and burying myself in my work, then binge-watching Netflix while eating ice cream, didn’t help me deal with the stress I was constantly under and put my health and wellness at risk.

Those 6 months were truly a gift and I am very grateful that I was given the time to rediscover who I was and what I wanted.

What I’ve come to realize since is that being given the time to do activities that nourished my spirit was the ultimate in self-care. 

Before I had thought self-care was more of an indulgent soak in a big tub with bubbles and a glass of wine (thanks, Instagram!). 

But for me, it was doing things that I enjoyed, alone or with the people I love, that nourished my mind, my body, and my soul. I was taking care of myself and putting myself first, something that I hadn’t done before, and that was a big part of why I burnt out teaching. 

Self-care is a necessity, not a nice-to-have. 

Without it, we can’t be the mothers, partners, daughters, sisters, friends, colleagues, or women we want to be. Just like putting your oxygen mask on first when you’re on a plane, you need to prioritize your own wellness so that you can be the best version of yourself for the people who love (and depend on!) you.

That’s my burnout story. What’s yours?


Back to Blog
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~ Louisa May Alcott

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