Burnout

I first felt it back in August.

I was exhausted, irritable, stressed, and downright miserable. No amount of sleep helped, no amount of yoga, exercise or meditation seemed to curb the nagging symptoms of anxiety and depression that were slowly creeping back into my life.

Everyone around me kept asking why I was so tired. “You slept for 10 hours last night? How are you still tired?!”

I would be asked to come to festivals and events and say “Maybe” knowing full well that I wasn’t going. I would watch my phone ring and not answer, knowing that I had no real excuse to be at home in bed. That the person on the other end wouldn’t understand why I wasn’t at whatever event they hoped I would attend.

Tears were frequent, and my temper was short. It had been a stressful and overwhelming few months, filled with hospital stays, surgery, visa troubles, and extreme language barriers. I could feel that I was at my limit.  The light at the end of the tunnel was festival season. October. My vacation to Tibet.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the holidays arrived.

Finally I had 8 days without facebook. 8 days without cell service. 8 days for me to enjoy this trip I had been looking forward to for 5 months.

It’s funny how just a few days can make a world of difference. And while it took some time after coming back from Tibet to feel 100% normal again, I finally do. I finally feel like me.

Days of speaking and trying to understand Nepali are easier, I can focus more, dealing with traffic and buses and the general insanity of the Kathmandu valley is bearable, and I am genuinely happy.

While I’m more than happy to be back to normal, I am keeping this lesson in the back of my mind. Watching for those early warning signs, so that hopefully next time I can avoid it. Hopefully next time I catch myself before I start to burnout again. But if I don’t, I know it’s nothing that a few peaceful sunrises, and a couple of trips to the mountains can’t fix.

 

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