My body physically felt heavy as I left the bed. Like 'd put on several stone underneath my skin. My mind was blurry and I was both starving and full at the same time. Like most people I just assumed I would shake it off after a few hours or that maybe I'd eaten too much sugar the day before. Maybe I hadn't slept well? Maybe I'd had a migraine in my sleep? As the days went on I got more and more worried and more and more tired. Nothing I did worked to shift it. This feeling lasted for well over a year. I woke up with the same kind of energy that you have in a hangover, everything ached and the most annoying part about it for me was that I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't make music, I couldn't write, make art, or do anything that was remotely coherent. The only relief I had at the time was my readings where the spiritual flow seemed to lift into a space of clarity for a short while but the crash afterwards became more and more toxic. It wasn't technically depression nor technically anxiety although I'm sure they were part of the background noise of that time. What I had done was effectively worked myself and stressed myself into total burnout.
I know burnout. I know it's devastating effects on your body. I know how it can emotionally and mentally drain you and I also know how easy it is for it to sneak up on you. Your potential is limitless, your body isn't. There is only so much the human animal you live in can take. I wake up inside this wonderful and weird little human called Ryan. I need to make sure he's fed, watered and warm. I need to make sure he's exercised, socialised and has room to play. I need to keep him mentally and emotionally healthy. Ryan and I have come here for a reason and in order to do that I need to take care of him. You, reading this, you live inside that wonderful human body that is probably skimming through your phone right now. Take care of that human body you are carrying around the place. It needs your attention.
If you are in that space of burnout right now then I have good and bad news. The bad news is that it is going to be a long and slow road to recovery and everyone's journey is different. The good news, is that you will recover and you will be a very different and much stronger version of yourself at the end of it. I know I am. I do have some tips for you though. Meditate. Mindfulness. Movement. There's a reason all three of these have been mentioned by care practitioners for ages, they work. You may not be able to do a lot at the beginning but you can do something. I prefer active meditations so chanting helps although I do like silence based too. My mindfulness practices are usually creative ones like drawing in sketchbooks or origami. As for movement, these days I love cardio, yoga and strength training. Find what works for you and do a little of each. Slowly piece by piece you will see the new you emerge.
As we enter the end of the year there's a certain shame that creeps in or maybe a guilt that sometimes pushes people to work harder at finishing off their goals than they normally would. Doing this at what is probably one of the busiest times of the year is not the greatest idea. I speak from experience and yet, still, on December the 1st I still feel that panic of not having done all of the things I wanted to do. To avoid a shame spiral, a self blame spiral or working so hard that I screw up my start of next year I do what I can to wrap up what I've already made. It's a time to gear down not gear up. It's a time of planning, not so much fingers in the clay. Give yourself permission to write off what didn't get done and give yourself free licence to soothe yourself into next year.
Heal. Breathe. Gather. Take care of your human animal.
Ryan James xx