Day 8: I really underestimated my burnout

Dear Reader,

Hope you had a beautiful day.

Mine started well despite the fact that I was a little bit tired. But it got worse and worse.

I’m so tired that I don’t even remember if I already told you about it but one of my colleagues does not have the best behavior and is always putting his own stress on other people shoulders. Before my incapacity of work I started to become very aggressive with him. It was not really made on purpose but my answers to his behaviors and some things he said became more and more straight, sometimes a little too much in my opinion… Then, I often had to find an excuse to go back to my office before the end of the lunch break because I couldn’t stand the way he behaved.

Anyway, yesterday he has restarted and today was even worse. Thank God I was not alone with him so I managed to stay calm. But while driving home I had a kind of panic attack because of which I had to stop the car twice as I didn’t want to be a danger neither for others nor for myself.

It made me realize how I was underestimating my burnout till today and that I shouldn’t have go back to work so soon. I’m feeling so tired and depressed tonight. The worst part of it is that tomorrow I’ll be alone with him at the office.

I have no idea of how I’m gonna deal with it but I’ll have to.

The weekend is almost there…

Day 7: When stress comes back and some good new habits

Dear Reader,

The euphoria of seeing my colleagues again during my first days back to work is already leaving me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still happy to see them, it’s just not as intense as it was.

On the other hand, I starting to face the same exact source of stress I used to face before my 4-week incapacity for work. For instance, I kind of absorb my colleagues’ stress, we have every single day technicals problems (which I won’t describe as I’m not ready to share my identity yet), and we also really are understaffed which make us face a pile of files growing every day.  I have to admit it stressed me out during several hours today, but I ended up letting it go. My colleagues and I can not fix this company’s problems as long as the management team won’t be willing to do so.

Good news are that I am trying to take more breaks during the day, just a few minutes to take a breath, to stretch a little bit, or have a cup of coffee (ok, coffee is not that good for an over stressed person, but the social thing around it makes me feel amazing lol). I also try to make better choices for breakfast (which used to be THE bad meal of my day) and before to eat breakfast, I drink a homemade fresh juice to start the day with a whole lot of vitamins.

I think that improving my eating habits can help me with stress and depression. If that’s not the case, at least I will eat my fruits and veggies  ( Let’s stay positive!)

I must also find a way to finally get rid of those sleeping problems… today was only my 3rd day back to work and I already feel so tired and still not ready to sleep. Everything just keeps on hitting my mind: what’s happening at work, ideas of business, ideas on new things I should learn, what people say or do which hurt me,… it sometimes seems so difficult to get rid of those thoughts. Sometimes meditation or prayer help, sometimes it doesn’t.

Anyway, even if that article does not sound as good as I’d like, let me tell you this:  I am a fighter, I’m gonna learn how to deal with stress, and I’m gonna reach all my goals, one by one.

Even if I still have many things to improve in my life, I already have learned a very important thing, which is being patient!

Talk to you tomorrow 😉

 

 

 

Day 6: Taking responsibility and moving your life forward

Dear Reader,

Today was another good day 🙂

And to celebrate it, I’d like to share some words of wisdom I heard on Youtube and which were said by someone I deeply respect, admire, and really love as “an auntie” even though we never met: Oprah Winfrey.

Don’t judge me! I know it may sound a little cliché, so many people say they are inspired by her. But she really is a wise and loving woman so why wouldn’t we be? 😉

Here is what she had to say in a video about taking responsibility for your life: “… you are responsible for your life. And if you’re sitting around waiting on somebody to save you, to fix you, to even help you, you are wasting your time. Because only you have the power to take responsibility to move your life forward. And the sooner you get that, the sooner your life gets into gear… It does not matter where you come from… it doesn’t matter what your mama did… what matters is your willingness to see this moment for what it is, accept it, forgive the past, take responsibility, and move forward.”

Why do I love that small speech she gave on Youtube?

Because, as I told you I had some anger issues. Not the kind of anger which makes you fight with people, but the kind which burns you from the inside. And, of course, people and life were always responsible for the bad things happening in my life so I was angry at them. I also was angry at those people who always get everything more easily, thanks to their parents, or their money, etc. You get the idea…

Since then, I’ve learned that no matter how much I’ll complain about it, I wasn’t born in the best environment, and nobody’s going to change that. But what can be changed, what I can change, is my future.

So I try as much as I can to take all that negative energy and to transform it in studying and earning money in order to have a better future, and if possible to take care of the people I love who were not able to do so.

OK, I have to admit that it is a big part of the reason I am going through a burnout. That and the fact that I invest a little bit too much in my job.

I had totally forgotten how to enjoy the present and to make things just because they were making me happy. And as paradoxical as it may sounds, I totally stopped taking care of myself, me the advocate of healthy food.

But I’ve learned my lesson and I am trying to find the right work-life balance.

I’m also trying to take things a little less personally.

Finally, even though I still don’t know my exact purpose in life, I start having clues about it which is very important to me. I’m also trying to do more things which make me feel happy, which includes taking more walks with my dog, which makes him happy, which makes me, even more, happier lol

Are you ready to take responsibility of you life too?

If so, please share your first step in the comments section.

Talk to you tomorrow 🙂

 

Day 5: A surprisingly good day

Dear Reader,

I was so overstressed yesterday when I got to bed because of my return to work today. Waking up was not easy neither. But I made it!

I was actually the first person to arrive at the office today, and I was super happy to see my colleagues when they finally arrived. All of them had kind words which made me feel good. We had the time to really catch-up during lunch time.

Then, I had the opportunity to meet that amazing shining bright woman who’s going through cancer. That person, despite what she is going through, found a new purpose and is working towards it. Can you believe it?! What an amazing source of inspiration!

We talked about the importance of having a purpose, working towards it, and staying positive. We shared a little bit about our respective journeys, and without even noticing it we spend more than an hour together.

Today was definitely a good day, and I am very grateful for it!

That’s already it for today Dear Reader. I have to watch a few lectures about happiness before going to bed.

Please, leave a comment in the section below if you want to share something about your day too!

Talk to you tomorrow 🙂

 

Day 4: A definition of happiness

Dear Reader,

During a lecture, we were asked what was our definition of happiness. As we have to meet certain criteria, I paused the video in order to give you the most genuine definition of happiness I could.

In my opinion, happiness is being able to keep a certain level of inner peace no matter what. It’s having a purpose and working towards it to my own pace. It’s also feeling useful, and sharing pure moments of joy, and love with people. It’s feeling safe at any level, being at peace with your past, and confident in your future.

As you know, I am going through a burnout, so I have to ask myself what would be happiness in the workplace?

First of all, I would probably say having a sense of freedom. Not feeling like a modern slave. Not having to spend more time working than I have for things that really matter to me: taking care of myself, people that I love, and my environment. Learning, sharing, and discovering the world. It would also be (if I really have to work for someone else *rolling my eyes*) having a boss and managers who trust me, respect the fact that I am a human being, and not a productivity and money making tool, and working in a company who really want me to develop both myself as a person and my skills.

That being said… I’ve always known for a fact that one day I’ll be my own boss, and I will make it happen.

About today

I have to say that I am feeling a little bit better than yesterday. Still not my best day, I am still anxious at the idea of going back to work tomorrow, but I have decided I won’t let it ruin that beautiful sunny Sunday!

So, I am writing you from the middle of a peaceful park, and I am about to go to take a walk before going back home to get my stuffs done for tomorrow.

That’s it on my side for today, but I’d love to hear about you and your definition of happiness in the comments section.

Talk to you tomorrow!

 

 

Day 3: Making others happy and why today was not my best day

Dear Reader,

Yesterday after posting my article of the day, I started playing with my dog. At that precise point in time, something struck my mind. It may sound obvious but when we are happier, we are actually much more interested in and capable of making others happy. Isn’t it a beautiful thing to think about?

It sadly reminded me of some conversation I had with two of my friends. Both of them have very depressed mothers. And I know myself how it feels to have a depressed person in my family. It actually impacts everyone, even those who say the opposite!

So, I wanted to start this article by sharing about the fact that, without adding any pressure on our shoulders, maybe could we find strength in the love we feel for others, and in the love they give us? Maybe, at least, remembering the smile of one of our beloved can make us smile just for a short, still good, moment?

That being said, today was not the best day for me since “we met”.

Those nightmares again, and the thought of going back to work in two days are haunting me. I tried everything, I tried to work on an assignment for a course I am currently following (one thing that characterizes me is a drive to always want to learn new things), I had a walk with my dog, then I went to my favorite coffee shop to read and see the owners who are super friendly and always make me laugh. Some words in Touré Roberts’ book and the fact to see friendly people helped me to forget about work for a while. But now I’m back home and I am really wondering how to find the strength to go back to work on Monday.

I never thought that the way a company is managed, the stress, and fatigue could hurt me to the point of not being able to work despite the fact that I like my job and my colleagues. It really sounds crazy to me when I think about it. I definitely have to keep on looking for another job and stay as far away as possible from that toxic company.

This is already it for today. Talk to you tomorrow!

Day 2: The deadly happiness sins, and how I felt today

Dear Reader,

I hope you are doing well! 🙂

Before I talk to you about my day, I’d like to address something with you that Dr. Rajagopal Raghunathan shares in one of his lecture on Coursera’s Website. It will sometimes happen on this blog because it’s part of the journey towards happiness I am trying to share with you. But I’ll try not to give you too many details because I don’t want to “stole” his work. [By the way, I have to slow down because I have already watched the last week 1 lecture eventhough the course is only supposed to start on April 10th. Which makes me think you still have the time to enroll if you want to do so.]

Anyway, what I want to talk to you about is the concept of “The seven deadly happiness sins“. He says that those happiness sins – which basically “kills” your happiness – are:

1) Devaluing happiness (by not making it a priority in our lives, or not as much as we should)
2) Chasing superiority
3) Being needy – or its opposite – being avoidant
4) Being overly control-seeking
5) Distrusting others
6) Distrusting life
7) Ignoring the “source within” (meaning ignoring “mindfulness”, meaning “the ability that we have to focus attention in a kind and non-judgmental way on anything”)

It really concerns me because I feel like being “guilty” of everything on that list. I have been working for a while on some of those items, like devaluing happiness and ignoring the source within. But not really on my need to control people. Trusting others and life are not my top qualities neither. But I think those 3 items are deeply linked with the fact that I am afraid of being hurt again. And what is even more painful than being hurt? Being hurt by someone you love. So, it made me realize why I was trying to control people that I love the most, and that I will probably have to learn more about it in order to overcome it.

I also have to admit that I sometimes chase superiority. Only sometimes?! Yes, because that’s something I’ve been working on for a while. First of all because I realized it was not helping at all when I was trying to be a good friend. And because I’d love to empower people, not to belittle them. It’s simply not who I want to be!

Then, what’s weird about me and the 3rd item is that I can be both needy and avoidant. I am very needy when it comes to my lovelife which led me a few weeks ago to decide to stop dating for a while. I took that decision because my neediness leads me to date people who are not good matches for me. About the “being avoidant” part, it’s much more in my relationships with friends. I love my friends but I sometimes feel disconected from them, and I kind of build walls when new people try to become my friends.

What about my day?

Here comes the time to tell you about my day.

Generally speaking, I don’t start feeling depressed in the middle of the day. I just wake up this way or not. And the thing I’ve learned about depression is that it can takes many shapes: some people will cry all day long, others won’t be able to make anything during the day, sometimes you will simply sleep all day long without being under medication, and it won’t prohibit you to sleep all night long afterwards!

Today, I did not feel depressed when I woke up. Still, I was not in the best mood at first because, once again, I had nightmares about work.

I started having nightmares about work a few weeks before being diagnosed with a burnout, then it stopped when the doctor allowed me to stay home for a few weeks. (I don’t know about the law in your country, but in mine if the doctor says you are sick and sign a paper saying so – I don’t know how to call it in English – then you stay home and your boss still has to pay you! … Writing it makes me realize how lucky we are to have such laws here!) The nightmares came back a few days ago when I realized I will soon have to go back to work, and to handle the pressure and the lack of sleep again.

Anyway, my mood got quickly better when I saw I had received a kind message on my phone, and when my dog realized I was awake and came to say Hi! (Those simple things… I am really learning to appreciate them!). Soon, I started working a little bit on some personnal projects, but not too much because I was still not in a super-productive-day mood.

Then, I went through ups and downs all day long. A big “up” of the day being another kind message, from a colleague this time, telling me he was missing my presence at work (I can hear you thinking guys… It’s not what you think! This gentleman is happily married and could be my grand-father lol).

Finally, as I was feeling a little bit borred, I decided I should see people. So I took the book I am currently reading (the one about finding your purpose I talked to you about in yesterday’s article) and went to a Coffee Shop that I love. A very cosy place with adorable people! There, I had the opportunity to help someone. Nothing big. Just a very tiny and simple gesture which led me to realize that helping others was – at least for me – a source of happiness.

I am currious to know: does helping people make you a little bit happier too?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it, and for reading me again today.

Talk to you tommorow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1: What’s my level of happiness?

(If you haven’t read the About page of this blog yet, I strongly recommend you to do so. So that you’ll be able to totally understand what this blog is about. 🙂  )

March 30th, 2017

Dear Reader,

First of all, there are a few things you have to know about me.

I used to be a very angry person. I won’t give you any details about it, all you have to know is that anger was consuming me from the inside. I was quick to verbally attack people when I (easily) felt attacked, and even used to be mean to myself. A wonderful book helped me a lot to work on it. This book is “Working with Anger” by Thubten Chödrön.

Then, I am not totally ignorant about some tips and tricks which can help to feel happier. For instance, I’ve tried keeping a gratitude journal which helps you to see the positive things in your life rather than keeping to complain about everything. I also have a few positive quotes exposed at home, as well as pictures of happy events and people or things that I love.

My current level of happiness

Now that you know, here is my score to the test I took to measure my level of happiness: 8.

Basically, when your score is 12 or bellow, it means you are depressed. Which does not really surprise me. Actually, I am currently going through a burnout. I had to be out of the office for a few weeks in order to rest and lower my level of stress. At first, when the doctor said so, I felt relieved. Paradoxically, I also felt lucky because I was not feeling so bad for someone suffering from burnout.

I have a few colleagues, and a friend, who have been going through the exact same thing for months, and trust me (once again I won’t give any details) I think they are in great danger while I don’t consider being myself in danger.

So yes, I took the time to breathe, to exercise a little bit in order to lower my level of stress, I even practiced yoga a few times, and started reading “Purpose Awakening: Discover the Epic Idea that Motivated Your Birth” by Touré Roberts. Because let’s be honest, not having found yet my purpose in life doesn’t really help me to be happy.

Anyway, all those small things helped for a while, but now that I know I have to go back to work in a few days I really feel depressed. I know I am a fighter, but I also know that right now I feel terrified at the idea of going back there, and feel the stress burning my body from the inside again. I am even afraid of not being able to move at all when my alarm clock will ring, letting me know I have to wake up and get prepared. That’s basically what happened to me a few times before being diagnosed.

Now I guess you have a better understanding of why I can’t wait to learn more about this course and happiness in general.

Thanks for reading me, dear reader. And talk to you tomorrow!