I yesterday described how it happens that a lot of people these days have a burnout, break down and even get into deep depressions due to the pressure and stress of their work. Today I would like to write a little bit about the recovery process after such a burnout situation.
I have met a lot of people with burnout in individual counselling sessions and at the Ashram and I have worked together with several psychotherapists, so I do have a quite precise idea of the feelings that people have when they find themselves in this kind of situation – and what they need to do in order to get their life back on track.
Yesterday already I mentioned that they don’t actually need to get ‘back to normal’ because their ‘normal’ lifestyle, their way of living, thinking and acting before their breakdown, has brought them into this situation in the first place! They have to start over new!
Someone who has suffered from burnout needs professional help because he or she has first of all fully hit rock bottom. Many people have to stay in a clinic because they don’t even know how to go on living – the complete base of their life seems senseless now! Very often they identified completely with their job, their post, their work and didn’t even realize the immense pressure they were putting themselves in. This fall has taken this base from beneath their feet. Their body took care that they could not do this any longer, that they could not ignore your own needs any longer.
Doctors usually prescribe medicines for burnout patients – anti-depressants, sleeping pills and more. It helps in the beginning, in the emergency, but after some time, which can be months, they have to start getting on their own two feet again and find some stability. That is the point when they start an inner search and where a stay at our Ashram has already helped many people.
The main thing, when you are in that situation, is that you have to find yourself again. You have completely lost the feeling for yourself in the race for money and success. Who are you? What do you want to do in your life? What do you actually enjoy doing? These and similar questions have to be answered before a burnout patient can pick up the pieces of his life again! Many decide that they have to change their job, that they just cannot go on with what they were doing because that doesn’t give them any chance to get rid of their stress and pressure.
It is not only the outside, though, you also have to get rid of a lot of inner patterns and thoughts! And what could be better for this cleansing process than taking a time out from your normal surrounding and go somewhere completely different. We have made very good experiences with people who took for example our Ayurveda Yoga Holiday in such a situation.
They told us how much the daily Ayurvedic massages helped them because there was someone who, for a complete hour, concentrated just on them, on every small part of their body. For years they had not given their body this attention and it was longing for exactly that! The treatments helped them detoxify and get rid of toxins – physically and mentally! In the daily yoga sessions, you regain a feeling for your body which you have nearly forgotten about while you were running from one appointment to another, pushing yourself further and further with your expectations on yourself!
And then, maybe most important of all, you get the atmosphere and surrounding where you can find out who you are and what you want. You can be just yourself – on your own, with the children, with our family or with other retreat participants. You can retreat or you can join, you can read, you can meditate, you can do completely whatever your heart tells you. And that is the big chance: you can start listening to your heart again, which you have just not heard over the voice of your stressed mind!
Slowly, very slowly, people after a breakdown find back to themselves. And most of them say that afterwards is better than it ever was before their fall! I wish anybody who is in such a situation the strength to find back to his real self and everyone who is still running in pressure and stress that they may realize what they are doing before it hits them hard.
And if you ever need distance from your usual surroundings, the Ashram has an open door for everyone who needs it.