“I had an epiphany when I said to myself that there has got to be a better way to do what I love without burning myself out and into the ground.”
My focus, after taking on the General Manager position at Nita Lake Lodge, a luxury hotel in Whistler, British Columbia, was to pour my heart and soul into building the business and the team.
I was absorbed by my own high-achieving self and wanted to prove that I could make it as a young woman in business. I had never managed a hotel before and my focus shifted solely to my career. I ended up neglecting my health and my relationships as my obsession with proving my worth grew. I created a lot of success with what I was doing in my career, but my health and my life stalled.
Eventually, I got to a point where I was sick all the time; I got the flu badly and ended up having a cold pretty much for an entire year. It seemed like there was always something in my body that felt out of alignment. My digestive system was out of whack and I had brain fog all the time to the point where I wouldn’t have any recollection of what specific conversations were about.
Despite training for a half marathon at that time, I was completely unhealthy and had zero energy. I felt constantly hungry but never satiated and even if I did get solid night sleep, I woke up exhausted. I felt like my day was just dragging on. It didn’t matter how much I was working on how much effort I was putting in, it just felt like I never got anywhere.
From the outside, I looked like a poster child for success but on the inside, I was at war with myself. I often wondered how I could keep doing this without tearing down all that I had built. I felt like something was about to implode and then, it actually got worse. I piled on 30lbs in a matter of two months and started waking up with cold sweats in the middle of the night. Deep down at that point, I knew something was seriously not right. Despite my efforts to eat healthily and work out, my body basically said, “I’m going to find a way to shut you down!”
The last piece that added to the burnout was my mental state. I didn’t want to make decisions anymore and I was leaning on everyone else to help me make decisions. I was never happy with any decision I made. This became almost like a depressive state and I remember waking up in tears and going to sleep in tears. I would close my office door sometimes and would have a full-on breakdown in my office. I hid it well but you can only do that for so long.
When I entered that last stage of burnout, I knew I needed to get help. To be honest, I wished I would have started to take my symptoms seriously earlier. My road to recovery took me over 12-months, but with the support and guidance of my naturopath, coaches and some counselling, I finally found a way to balance the needs of my body with my high-achiever mindset and accept that putting myself first on my priority list is the greatest act of self-respect.
I started with the really small things. What that meant for me was thinking about small steps towards big results. I was thinking of small tools. So, one of them was for me that I started with something I call “silent minutes.” Basically, it’s a morning routine where you don’t do anything. No checking my emails first thing. No checking social media. No music. No podcast. No TV. I eventually worked my way up to thirty minutes. Instead of being reactive from the moment I wake up, I would just consciously be. This allowed me to start my day with a clear and calm state of mind rather than frantically trying to solve every problem within the first five minutes of being conscious.
So please remember to be kind to yourself. When you’ve gotten yourself to the point of burnout and you feel exhausted, just be kind to yourself. Acknowledge that you need to make a change and give yourself permission to do just that.
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