How I Managed The Worst Burnout Of My Life

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Here at CGD we often talk about the perils of a burnout, what happens when you feel one coming on and how you can tell the difference between a burnout and a bad day.

But a burnout can happen to anyone.

Even those of us who spend our time writing about the dangers of burning out, as I found out this week. So here’s what happened when the worst burnout I’ve ever experienced crept on, and what I learned coming out from the other side.

Pre-Burnout . . .

I knew it was coming, but those closest to me could see the signs before I could. They kept asking me if there was anything they could do to help, and telling me to just relax in the evenings, I was shrugging it off saying I just had to get everything done, but actually, I stopped feeling optimistic very early on and just started putting on a brave face.

Thinking back on this week I don’t remember having 3 square meals in any one day, so you can see how I was getting into dangerous territory. My mood was okay but when I thought about the work I had to do, I would start to panic. I probably should have taken our advice, if you feel one coming on read our article here on how to avoid a burnout and make time for yourself.

Burnout . . .

When the burnout hit, I woke up as normal and went about my day as cheerfully as possible. The problem was I started to become aware of more things I needed to do and I was out at events all day with no chance to get them done. To be honest, I was still cracking jokes up until the middle of the day, and then I just started feeling really low.

I remember I kept thinking ‘what’s the point?”. It was like I had a thunder cloud above my head, and as well as getting angry I was also very low and kept thinking I might burst into tears. When I got home, I curled up on the floor with my baby blanket and cried for a good five minutes, I’m glad nobody walked in because that would’ve been a very strange sight, a grown woman cuddling a yellow blanket covered in bunny rabbits, wow.


I knew I had to snap out of it, so I did some more work, wrote everything down in different days in my planner so I knew I couldn’t do everything in one day, had a glass of coke and watched my favorite reality TV show. I couldn’t finish my dinner, but I did manage to have a giggle and look at some funny gifs of dogs. Dogs always help.

Post-burnout . . .

Coming out of a burnout is hard, it lingers. I’m still dealing with the effects of it, and still feel stressed, negative and incapable of doing anything, but I’m more prepared to tackle things one at a time now. Post-burnout I’ve realized it’s not a rational thing, mental health is just as important as physical health, you don’t choose to be sad or irrationally angry and negative, it just happens as a consequence of over-working yourself. It can happen to anyone, even those of us who love our jobs, and it doesn’t make you weak or wrong.

If I could do things differently, I would voice my concerns beforehand and ask for help. And when I started getting low I would probably order a chocolate fudge cake, turn off my phone and watch trash TV for an hour. It works!

If you need more tips, read our article on what to do when you’re under too much pressure or check out some healthy ways to de-stress at your desk.

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  • Brigitte Hayley

    This is a really helpful article, it shows how important it is to remember to think about your mental health and incorporate some ‘Me Time’ into your schedule. Great post!
    Brigitte x |

    • Thanks Brigitte, it really is important! It can happen to anyone if you neglect yourself! X

  • Grace

    So glad you found a way to get things back under control and starting to feel more capable again. With so many posts about avoiding burnout, it’s so refreshing to hear about the topic from a different perspective. Props to you, girl!

    That Twenty Something

    • Thanks Grace!! It was AWFUL but it’s totally normal and most career girls experience it. x

  • dreamofadventures

    So happy you are out of your burn out and it didn’t get worse. I just got home from work exhausted beyond belief and went straight to the jar of nutella in my cupboard. one spoon and im feeling better =o)

    great post this made me feel better too =o)

    • Ahh thankyou! I’m glad it helped you out, oh god nutella is sooooo good it’s bad. I try to avoid it because otherwise I’m dipping into the jar like crazy


  • Hillary Flinn

    Great post, it’s so important to take time to decompress and remember what’s important. :) I find it especially helpful to get outside for some fresh air and light exercise — it keeps me level when I feel like everything else is weighing me down. Thanks for sharing!

    Hillary |

    • Thanks Hillary. Yeah, I should have probably gone out and had a walk in a park, and definitely switched off my phone for a while – but when you’re in the middle of thinking OMG I can’t waste one second, it’s hard to rationalise! Haha xx

      • Hillary Flinn

        Good point! Hindsight is 20/20, right? ;)

  • Emilybelleblogs

    You are so right that anyone can suffer with burnout and how it’s important to remember that it doesn’t show a sign of weakness. Anyone can over do it. Particularly passionate people. Glad you are feeling better xx

    • Thanks!!! :) Yeah, I totally felt weak and not a team player when I was having my week of throwing my toys out of the pram, but I am on the up now. Getting a grip on the work load and having a bath really helped! xx

  • Camille Beygui

    It must have been such an awful experience

  • Della

    Wow, a reminder that burnout can happen to all of us. Thanks for all that you do to help us learn how to avoid and deal with these things. Than you for sharing your experience with us, Im glad you are feeling better! Xo

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