Burnt out, but surviving!

Today.

I am taking some much needed time to write out how I am feeling.  Which, to be frank, is completely and totally exhausted. In other words, I am totally burnt out!  I am not sure why second-year has left me in this total state of exhaustion.  Perhaps it is the amount of information, or the lack of sleep, or the “trying to do too much at once”.  But I am so, so tired.

I wrote a post about feeling burnt out last year and how to cope with it.  Folks, the struggle is REAL.  Coping is an active process.  It does not come naturally for most of us.  I can’t tell you how many photos I saw of my classmates asleep in lecture today, so I guess we are all feeling it.  But the truth is that the only way to deal with feeling burnt out is to focus on the good things that are happening in life.

The good.

For instance, I was asked to teach yoga at the studio where I am training and will be teaching yoga for veterinary students at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine!  It is amazing to see how far I have come in just a few months.  Yoga has given me a confidence that I never knew I had, especially when it comes to public speaking.

My social media accounts are blooming and growing faster than I could have expected – a true blessing!  It requires more work than I could have ever imagined but is so rewarding when I can connect with others.  I have also recorded two podcasts in the past few weeks, which I never in a million years would have thought possible.

My grades are good, my health is good, I am getting stronger by the day, and I am learning how to let go of unrealistic expectations.  New friends have come into my life, and old friendships have grown even stronger.  I also have the amazing opportunity to travel to Paris this summer to extern in the exotics department at the veterinary school in Paris (École nationale vétérinaire d’Alfort).  All in all, life is pretty incredible.  In just a few weeks, I will turn 28 and I am so fortunate to be where I am now.  I am provided for, loved, supported, and so stinking happy.

But not every day is great.

Some days I still have mood swings and anxiety.  Stress is a constant in my life and I don’t always handle it in the most productive way.  I don’t have it all figured out, even if social media depicts it that way.  Life is a challenge, but it is worth facing – head-on, without fear.  I talk about fear a lot throughout my blog.  I truly believe that if you are experiencing fear about something, you should probably go ahead and do it.  The greatest self-esteem boost in the world is overcoming fear.

Another great self-esteem boost is totally ignoring any negative opinions about you or your life.  Who cares what other people think or say?  If you stop caring so much, you let go of the need to be accepted and loved by everyone and start being your authentic self.  There is nothing more liberating than that.  I have gotten to the point where I basically block out anything that isn’t relevant to my life.  I don’t know if this is due to my short attention span (lol) because I am still pretty overextended, or simply because I have let go of that stressor in my life.  But it is a pretty great feeling to know and love yourself so much that nothing anyone says can break that part of you.

Overall, burnout happens to all of us.

It happens in every aspect of school, from high school to professional school.  All of humanity feels burnt out at some time or another – from stay-at-home parents to business owners to yoga instructors to monks.

In No Mud, No Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh (a Vietnamese Buddhist monk) eloquently states:

“It is possible of course to get stuck in the “mud” of life. It’s easy enough to notice mud all over you at times. The hardest thing to practice is not allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by despair. When you’re overwhelmed by despair, all you can see is suffering everywhere you look. You feel as if the worst thing is happening to you. But we must remember that suffering is a kind of mud that we need in order to generate joy and happiness. Without suffering, there’s no happiness. So we shouldn’t discriminate against the mud. We have to learn how to embrace and cradle our own suffering and the suffering of the world, with a lot of tenderness.

The “mud” is the burnout my friends, and we must accept and embrace it with gratitude.  The mud allows us to fully experience the joys of life and without it, we would have nothing to compare our happiness.  So, I am writing this post as much to help others as to remind myself that the suffering shall pass.  That despite it all, inner contentedness cannot be stripped away unless you allow it.

So what is the best way to deal when you feel burnt out?

Embrace it.  Accept the challenge.  Know it is not permanent, but will not go away just because you move on to the next stage in life.  Treat your imperfections and insecurities with tenderness.  Do things you love.  Move.  Breathe.  Step outside and feel the sun on your face.  Moreover, never allow anyone or anything to make you feel less than you are.  You are a beautiful, perfectly imperfect collection of stardust that somehow ended up reading this blog post on a computer on this day at this time in the most perfect way, and nothing can take that away from you.

Love and Light to all of you beautiful souls.

Namaste,

SB

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