I never thought that I could get completely burned out. I didn’t even believe that you could hit rock bottom by doing what you love. I believed the only way was to keep on going, pushing myself to the limit. I’ve always had a strong ambition to develop new business ideas, even as a kid I wanted to be self-employed.
I started my own marketing company right after high school, just when I should have allowed myself to rest. After some stressful years of studying and constantly starting new projects I kept pushing myself. I couldn’t deny the feeling that I really wanted to do my own thing. And I succeeded better than I could have hoped for. From the moment I started my business everything just accelerated and there was no time to stop and reflect – just go with the flow and see my dream come true.
The warning signs started a few years after I started the business. I had lost my usual spark and enthusiasm for my work and suddenly got stressed out over little things. Aside from that I suffered from dizziness, headaches, insomnia and joint pains. I didn’t really feel like myself, I had changed somehow. Despite the warning signs I kept on going, struggling every day to keep up with the work load. I am not someone who whines, instead I push myself and thought that every obstacle is worth fighting and that it will help me reach my goal eventually.
This approach, however, didn’t solve the symptoms that made my work days less enjoyable. My body was really trying to tell me something and one day I just felt that it wasn’t worth struggling anymore. There is no point in feeling this bad over a job.
I was sick, and was on sick leave for a couple of weeks due to what the doctors refer to as fatigue syndrome. I went back to work one step at a time, starting at 25 percent going to 50, than 75 and so on, until I was well enough to work as I had done before I got sick. And even though I got back I felt that I really needed to do something about my health, because it still didn’t feel right. I needed a break and control my own recovery.
I left the company and had no idea of what I would do next. It wasn’t a bad thing though, I got time to reflect and think about what I wanted to do with my life and how our society works and why so many of us feel this way. After a few months of doing absolutely nothing, other than trying to feel better again, I started lecturing about my experience of getting burnt out at the age of 21. And how to come back and perform, but feel good at the same time, without unnecessary stress.
I worked with a professional Swedish director in order to do my lectures as good as possible and I am happy to tell you that lecturing for companies, schools and organizations has become my daily job.
I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the insights and lessons I got from my burnout and I wouldn’t want to be without that experience. I got a new approach to life and entrepreneurship that makes it possible to enjoy my work again. I know how to handle different situations and I have a better ability to prioritize. I have decided to never stress over things that I can’t change, and I see every opportunity to kick back and relax and regain strength as tools to perform.
In order to feel good as humans in our efficient society we need to find ways to cope with our everyday struggles and feel good about ourselves. A balanced mind will drive us and make us perform. It’s not sustainable to stress out a whole population – it strikes down individuals, companies and the society as a whole.
Can you get a better result if you prioritize, avoid stress and get a chance to recover? I am convinced you can!
See my lectures online on my website www.emanuelnilsson.se.
Name: Emanuel Nilsson
Lives: Jönköping, south of Sweden