There´s a limit how much one person can stand. You can go over that limit sometimes but if you do it too often and for too long, there is a big risk that it will have negative effect on your health and wellbeing.
I was 28 when I went to see the nurse because of the fever. It was Monday morning. I needed to get a sick leave certificate because I was unable to work. When I sat down, the nurse asked me how I was doing.
Not well, was my answer. And I started to cry.
How so? The nurse continued.
I´m very tired. And now I feel that this fever is taking the last of what I have left. I said.
Have you been working a lot lately? She asked.
Have you face a lot of pressure and stress lately?
The nurse kept asking questions and I noticed telling her…
That I had started to feel myself dizzy at work.
That I’ve had some signs of heart arrhythmia already for some time .
That often in the evening I was so tired that I didn´t have energy to wash my teeth.
That it was all the time harder for me to find joy and pleasure out of anything.
And that during many Sunday afternoons my fever had started to raise only when thinking of going to work on Monday morning.
After telling all that I was shocked. Everything was true, but it was only then when I actually realized that I really had all the symptoms of a burn-out.
It was also only then when I understood how bad shape I was.
I felt terrible but also relieved. I knew that now I would get some help. Help that I didn´t even knew I was needing before that moment.
You need rest. Total rest. I´ll ask the doctor to write you one month sick leave. Promise not to work at all during that time. Said the nurse.
I promise. I answered.
During next month, do only things that make you feel good. Things that you enjoy. She also said.
I will. I promised.
If you don´t do that, you´ll need a lot longer sick leave in the future. She added.
I know. I said.
That was the day when I started to change the direction of my life. Permanently.
That was the day when I started to take all the signals my body & mind were sending seriously. The day when I decided to believe in warning signs they were trying to give me. And not to ignore them anymore.
I remember one question that the nurse asked especially well;
You´re 28 and you´re that tired. How are you going to survive till your retirement age?
I don´t know. I said.
That day I started to look for an answer to that question.
When I went home I told everything to my fiancè (forthcoming husband). He hugged me, put me into bed and took my phone. He called to my work and said that Mari would not be available during the next month. At all.
Then he put the phone off and I fell asleep.
For the next month I did what I was told to. I slept and rested. I spent time with my fiancè and went to see my parents. I walked in the forest and did canoeing on the lake. All that felt strange. Strangely light and easy. Could life be like this? I noticed asking.
I felt good, but also bad. I felt ashamed for being on a sick leave. I felt ashamed for taking myself into that situation. And I felt ashamed for not working.
One month is a short period of time. During that I realized that my tiredness was something that would not be fixed with one month sick leave. I needed more to recover totally. I also wanted to find out why I let myself become so exhausted.
Most of all, I wanted to make sure that this wouldn’t happen to me again. Never again.
So I started changing things.
And here we are. Blogging about wellbeing. Working in my dream job. A job that helps me too feel good and live a balanced life. A job where I can inspire people to change and feel better.
Preventing that what happened to me would not happen to them.
I´ve heard many stories about entrepreneurs who have burned themselves out because of working too much and having too much pressures.
I also remember how one consultant told me some time ago how he has met a lot of wellbeing entrepreneurs who have come to see him and told him how exhausted they were because of their work.
I belong to the high-risk group. I´ve always loved to work. That was one reason, among many, why I got exhausted.
I still love to work. And history can repeat itself unless I do things differently this time.
This autumn I made a list of things that I need to do during the next 6 months. The list was long. Too long.
I realized that I don´t have time and energy to do everything. I needed to make choices.
Because first and foremost wellbeing and health are about choices.
My choice is to use less time and energy for this blog for a while. And work for other things in my list instead to keep my life in balance.
About a month ago my sister Marianne visited us so that we were able take our annual black-and-white photos about me and our girls.
When I saw these photos, I remembered that day 6 years ago. The day when I was 28 and felt myself old and tired.
Now I´m 34 and I feel myself younger than back then.
I notice the first signs of getting older in me physically but mentally it’s totally different thing. I can’t remember when I last felt this good. That feeling is amazing!
While looking at these photos I also remembered my biggest choice. The one that goes beyond everything.
Our family´s wellbeing and happiness.
Despite the challenges that we’ve had (and have) in our life, I see the happiness in these photos. It’s in the sparkle in our eyes, the sign of everyday wellbeing and happiness for me.
I lost that sparkle when I had my burn-out 6 years ago. I choose not to loose it again.
I choose to nurture the inner fire in me. And in our children. And in my husband.
Nothing makes you feel better than the warmth of the inner fire that you have in yourself.
And nothing makes you happier than the sparkle that you see in the eyes around you.
So, do not let your fire burn out.