Recovering From the Paralysis of Burnout

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In 2015, although I achieved things I never thought would happen to me and tried out amazing things I never thought I could, still at the end of each night I slept with reality, I was empty.

I came to the point when I wasn’t happy anymore — not because I’m not happy with what I do but because of the way I do what I do. I felt that I didn’t exert my best effort in every class subject I had, in every freelance project I had, in every opportunity that came. I felt that I focused on lesser and ignored the better things. I focused on making more things, than making better things. Honestly, it didn’t work that way.

At the end, I went through burnout. When I was at class, I tend to think about non-academic things a lot. When I enjoyed designing websites, I was always thinking about what could be done. When I got tired and hated everything I do, all I could think about was how much I hated my life and how nothing was ever going to change. Everything I saw was vague and I was paralyzed for months. It happened everyday up until early months of this year 2016. But the burnout I was experiencing had spiraled out of control. I thought that it was time to make some drastic changes to regain myself back and to be better than I was.

The process of changing was difficult, tiring, scary but I knew I couldn’t keep on like what I was anymore. I knew what I had missed so I started by plugging myself in those things while unplugging myself from those that were harming me. I plugged myself to fitness, family and faith.

Being unhealthy, distancing myself from my family, disconnecting myself from God were all factors that made me lost myself. So these are also the factors that I started working on for I knew if I fixed these, I fixed my life.

I started working out and following a healthy diet plan to lose the extra weight I gained from the months of not taking care of myself. Since I came back in Saudi, I started bonding more with my family, by showing how I love them, by being obedient and by cooking healthy meals for them. I started befriending the Qur’an, reading Islamic books and staying away from the things that I knew would anger my Creator. These were simple yet great ways to plug myself into those things I lost.

Aside from these, I also gave myself a break by disconnecting from too much stress factors and by having a day off not doing anything stressful and not worrying on either academic or work. Instead of aiming to accomplish a lot of things at the same time, I focus on doing less but with best effort. I learnt to prioritize quality result.

So far I’m seeing that things are getting back into place. Recovering from the paralysis caused by burnout took time but each day I spent in changing myself wasn’t a waste. My progress might be slow for some but at least I’m constantly changing for better.

Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks


  1. Joanna

    May 16, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    I think that we all feel the burnout at some point or another and we have to recognize the signs and just take a break. Take a week or two off, go somewhere just by ourselves and try to reconnect with our selves.

  2. Kerr Quevedo

    May 16, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    I feel the same way. I mean I ‘FELT’ the same way. Just know that you are not alone and there are many people who are battling this kind of issue with you and for you. You will get through this process and personally I will, too.
    It’s always good to write about our feelings. Recently, I wrote about my story of trying to fit in. It might also help you. You can read it here: http://wp.me/p79KIQ-9Y

    Cheer up!

  3. Roselle Toledo

    May 16, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    My work at the corporate handling four companies simultaneously has burned me out too. It came to a point when I had to drag myself to work. I always come home feeling tired and empty. It was only when I did freelance that I got to enjoy managing my time and choosing to do what I want to do.

  4. Tesle Telan

    May 16, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    I love how honest and vulnerable you can be in this post. Writing your feelings on your blog can sometimes be the most difficult thing to do because the whole world can see it but you were brave enough to face that. I admire your dedication. 🙂 Hope to read more! xoxo, T

  5. alison

    May 16, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    I really appreciate how you have been able to acknowledge that you were doing too much. I think I don’t get this until I have hit rock bottom like you were saying and then it takes a long time to get back to where you are healthy again. I hope you continue on your journey. It is inspiring to me.

  6. Maria

    May 16, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Change is inevitable and it’s good to hear that you’re constantly changing for the better. We all go through rough roads. When I went through mine (and still is going through), I always remember why I chose that path and why shouldn’t I stop. 🙂

  7. Stella the Travelerette

    May 17, 2016 at 1:33 am

    It sounds like you’ve prioritized the most important things in life. Faith, family, and health are so much more important than the day-to-day stresses we experience. I got really burned out when I started my first teaching job because I was too invested in my work. I’ve felt much better since I took a step back and started concentrating on more important things!

  8. Nina Sogue

    May 17, 2016 at 7:09 am

    I am feeling this way now. Mostly, I credit it for quarter-life crisis. We can go through this. As long as the intention is there, anything is possible. 🙂


  9. Rachel Arandilla

    May 17, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Stress always have a way of making us forget ourselves–our careers and other affairs gets in the way and we often forget to take care of ourselves and our health–mental, physical and emotional. I’ve been there a lot of times, and I recommend taking a break from the routine, take a good ol’ holiday!

    Rachel Arandilla / http://postcardpretty.com

  10. Arrianne Guzman

    May 18, 2016 at 3:59 am

    Take things easy! I guess every now and then we have to breathe from whatever it is that we are doing. We have to give time for ourselves, too. I know it’s easier said than done – I used to be a workaholic. Glad things are getting back into place for you.

  11. sabine

    May 20, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Burnouts are not easy and it takes time to change your life into something that is balanced enough for you not to become burn out again. You have to change as a person how you handle things in life. You can’t always be angry or upset about things that you can’t change, it’s not healthy. You see, working a lot is sometimes a way of handling with things you don’t want to know or fly away from kind of… That’s how I felt at least when I had my burn out. Good that you’re going better by eating healthy and looking for God again. Stay working hard on it and you’ll make it! xo Sabine

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