The day her life changed forever

She was feeling sick and tired. She felt ill with different kinds of aches and pains that wouldn’t go away. She was so tired she could no longer think straight. It was the Tuesday after the long Easter weekend and she was burned out.

On Good Friday that mountain of stress she’d been under had finally crushed her.

For months, if not years, she’d been working long hours.

60 Hour work weeks were her normal. She regularly put in 80 hours or more.

She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been relaxed.

The last time she’d felt energised, ready to start the day. To face the world.

The last time she truly enjoyed life – or even had a real life.

Somehow she never seemed to be done; never finished.

There was always something left to do when she finally went home from work. Too tired to have a coherent thought.

On more than one occasion she had found herself slowly drifting off to sleep while she was still working on a report.

Finding she’d continued writing in an exhausted daze and having to go back to make sense of the gibberish she wrote.

When she came home, late at night, she’d be too tired to cook herself a decent meal.

She’d get some take-out or have a TV dinner. Sometimes she’d just have a bag of chips.

And at times she would just go to bed. Too drained to eat anything.

She felt sick and tired.

She was 25kg overweight, had digestive problems and never had a good night’s sleep anymore.


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Now she had the strange dual sensation of being crushed by a mountain of stress while simultaneously falling off one.

She’d fallen apart on Friday when she was asked how she was doing.

Crumbled under the weight of stress that had been building for so long.

Finally having to admit she was completely overworked, worn out.

She had tried to convince herself, her family and friends that she’d have to go on anyway.

Even as she knew she’d tell anyone else in this situation to stop and take a break.

As she lay in bed she’d had the distinct feeling of falling down a mountain into a dark canyon.

The thought of having to go back to work had sent her into a panic.

Finally she’d realised that she had to stop.

Stop living to work. Get out from under that mountain of stress.

Start figuring out how to work to live instead.

Start figuring out how to live life again.

It was time to start doing things differently.

So on that Tuesday after Easter she told the HR manager she was burned out and was put on sick leave.

That Tuesday in 2002 my life forever changed.

It was the first day of what became a long and slow recovery from burnout.

It was the day I took the first steps towards changing the way I lived my life.

The day I tentatively put my foot on a trail that would eventually lead me to the mountains and coaching. (But that’s a story for another day.)

If any part of this story is somehow familiar to you, start changing things now.

I urge you to not do as I did.

Don’t let things get as out of hand as they were for me.

Life is about more than work alone!

What will your life be about?

As always….

Go dare greatly

Photo credit: Woman asleep on keyboard (Canva)

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