Late last year I started to suffer from burn out. I am a mental health occupational therapist, yet I had been paying so little attention to my own mental health that I was teetering on the edge of a breakdown. It wasn’t just my mental health that was failing. I was self-medicating with alcohol and garbage food and generally letting my physical health fall into disrepair all because I wasn’t coping well with my job. I was becoming more and more disconnected from my values and the life I want to live.
After a lot of agonising contemplation I decided that it was time to leave my job; a job which I had poured every ounce of myself over the past three years. I wondered what I had left to give any kind of new endeavour. I didn’t have a job to go straight into and I felt like I was staring into an abyss of unemployment. Still, I wasn’t in any condition to dive right into a different job. I needed to reset and reconnect.
So here I am. Standing at the edge and looking out into a rather foggy distance that is the rest of my life. Giving serious contemplation and thought to all of the things that are important to me, that make me tick, and that contribute to a life well lived. While it is terrifying, it is also terribly exciting. The opportunity to make a fresh start is not one that comes around every day and I’ve decided to write about it to try and keep myself accountable.
Last week I sat down and made a list all of the ways I’d like to connect that I could use as a guide for the next few months (and hopefully for the long haul).
Here it is:
- Have more open and honest dialogues with my partner.
- Make a better effort to keep in contact with friends (not just on social media).
- Connect with nature, spend a lot of time outside.
- Connect with my body – use it more, feed it better.
- Connect with my mind – write more, read more, skim less, spend less time on mindless activity like social media and video games.
- Disconnect from my phone – treat it as a device, not an appendage.
- Pay attention to spending and the things I mindlessly consume.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle.
- Spend more time connecting with my community – volunteer my time somehow.
- Connect with my discovered (and yet to be discovered) skills – take opportunities to learn new things.
- Figure out what work life balance really means to me.
- Connect with my relationship to alcohol, explore sober connections.
I have decided to chronicle my efforts here so that I can look back and be better able to appreciate where I am by looking at where I’ve been.