Burnout recovery


Shieldmaiden Posts: 16
"Just breathe"
So, it has been a while since I was last here...but, as 2023 starts I feel ready to come back to this space.

I felt that 2022 was a brutal year for me:
  • I got Covid and spent many months recovering from that
  • Being the emotional punch bag for my mother slowly took it's toll on my mental health (Asian Tiger mother with a streak of narcissism in case you're interested)
  • My job and the hours I did led to burnout and being sent home from work towards the end of 2022
  • Burnout led to many hours contemplating and in some cases leading to self-harming in a multitude of different ways
But there were snatches of light within the darkness:
  • A husband that stepped in to support me
  • Seeking professional help
  • Moving further away from my mother
  • Starting to move my body and look at my nutrition to aid my recovery from burnout
  • Learning to put down boundaries and say 'no' to things that I don't want to do
So, here I am :hellothere:


Well-known member
Shaman from Italy
Posts: 3,263
"“Keep an eye on the staircases. They like to change.” Percy Weasley, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone."
Welcome :)
You've already made some big changes for the better ;)


Shieldmaiden Posts: 16
"Just breathe"
2nd Jan:
:v: Day 1 Power HIIT
:v: Iron Heart

3rd Jan:
:v: Day 2 Power HIIT
:v: 1 minute 30 seconds planking (elbow, left side, right side @ 30 seconds each)

Decided to chop off all of my hair after a few days of really low mood (not even date night with my husband helped :sad:).
Feel better now and had a few laughs at the hairdresser. I expect the shampoo and conditioner to last until the end of 2023 :LOL:
No excuses for long showers now :p


Shieldmaiden Posts: 16
"Just breathe"
4th Jan:
:v: Day 3 Power HIIT - I hate ab work, but I enjoyed this.
:v: Brute Arms and Back - I love arm days, but may have overdone the weight on bicep curls.

5th Jan:
:v: Day 4 Power HIIT - hmm, didn't time that well after yesterday's training session, but doing punches was a really good stress reliever.
:v: Brute Leg Day - completed the squat sets with 5kg for the first time. Lunges getting better. I will be sore tomorrow.

I'm trying out the Gladiator training plan for the first time for January and really enjoying the structure (plus it stops me from over doing it). I'm also back on the Modern Hero meal plan (Vego version) to help fuel my workouts: the husband is marathon training, so whilst I do the cooking in the house I felt it was about time we both fuelled our training properly. I'm following the portions as close as I can to that in the meal plan, but the husband is just eating whatever he wants.

I hope everyone's had a good day/have a good day if your day is just starting.


Shieldmaiden Posts: 16
"Just breathe"
6th Jan:
:v: Day 5 Power HIIT

7th Jan:
:v: Day 6 Power HIIT
:v: 'Because I can' workout- Really enjoying squats at the moment, though not sure why?

Made a batch of bean burgers, adding in some unflavoured vegan protein power as a binder (Bulk brand). Seemed to work well. Saw a friend for lunch - she noted that I looked much better than when she had last seen me (about 3 weeks out from burnout).

8th Jan:
:v: Day 7 Power HIIT - OMG, my lungs sound a like I'm breathing through a sponge when doing renegade rows. Anyone else have this? Could hardly breath, but managed three sets.

Spent the rest of the day with family and friends, which means mainly eating and only moving between the kitchen table and the sofa. Weather was miserable.

9th Jan:
:v: Day 8 Power HIIT - This is turning into a nice little warm up for my strength session days.
:v: Iron Heart workout - Glutes on fire. Can see some progression from last week. Good job.

Starting to tell the difference between how I feel mentally before and after exercise, which is great. Can't remember if I'd already mentioned here (or maybe it was in the old forum) but I'd always used exercise for weight loss and appearance purposes. This time, even though I still have hang ups about my physical appearance, that post-work out high just makes such a massive difference to my mental health. I can only describe it as opening a window in my brain and letting in a bit of fresh air.

I'm still using the modern hero meal plan whenever I'm at home to structure my meals so that I can power through my workouts. Again, that little crack in the window that helps me to view food as fuel and to make sure I'm eating balanced meals is just so important in my burnout recovery process, and to keep ED behaviours/food anxieties at bay.

Have a good week everyone :flowers:


Shieldmaiden Posts: 16
"Just breathe"
10th Jan:
:v: Day 9 Power HIIT

11th Jan:
:v: Day 10 Power HIIT
:v: Brute Arms and Back - crap day in terms of low mood, so this helped to lift me a bit.

12th Jan:
:v: Day 11 Power HIIT - did not enjoy this.
:v: Brute Leg Day - had a bit of a panic that I had skipped a day. Met a friend for a lunch, so felt like I powered through this workout based on the biggest vegan meal I have ordered (and eaten :LOL:)

13th Jan:
:v: Day 12 HIIT - this felt good after a crap night and morning.

14th Jan:
:v: Day 13 Power HIIT - good tunes got me through this. Man, I have tight hips today.
:v: 'Because I can' workout - dropped the weight early on as my hips were just screaming at me. Glad I listened to my body.

It's been a tough week, with some occasional binging of food (namely cake/chocolate) that is very much emotionally triggered. This is worse when I haven't slept well, so I have stopped the caffeine after 11am and that seems to have helped a bit with the sleep issue.

Anxiety over 'return to work' meetings never helps either. I mean, I know they won't let me back yet but it's still at the back of my mind that I will be forced back in before I'm fully healed (either due to financial issues because my wage will drop onto half pay soon, or because I'm 'requested' to/risk of losing job).

For now, the potential for them to have a lecturer come back and self harm in the middle of delivering a lecture is what keeps me at home to recover and convalesce.

As someone who works in a Health Faculty, I am always amazed how badly they treat their staff compared to other Faculties. We teach our students compassion, person centred care, etc., but none of that is really shown to staff. Fixed term contracts and hiring in inexperienced staff to take on ridiculous workloads is common in UK University sector. I noted that they now have two members of staff covering half of my job :grumpy:

Anyways, onwards and upwards.


Shieldmaiden Posts: 16
"Just breathe"
Ok, so another week seems to have flown by. Monday was a really difficult day for me in terms of my mental health - dealing with my gas and electric supplier pushed me over the edge again. I felt like I was back at square 1 again. Anyways, working out and a Thai massage have helped to ease me through the week.

15th Jan:
:v: Day 14 Power HIIT

16th Jan:
:v: Day 15 Power HIIT
:v: Iron Heart Strength workout - really coming along in term of weights.

17th Jan:
:v: Day 16 Power HIIT
Had a Thai massage - my right glute and hamstring are on fire after being coaxed out of tightness.

18th Jan:
:v: Day 17 Power HIIT - listened to my body and took it easy after the massage.
:v: Brute Arms and Back - can now bust one set on 5kgs.

19th Jan:
:v: Day 18 Power HIIT - nice warm up for lower body workout
:v: Brute Leg day - dropped the weight for side lunges and squats as my right glute and hamstring were still not feeling right after the massage.

20th Jan: sat on a coach for the better half of the day after a job interview in the morning.

21st Jan:
:v: Day 19 and 20 Power HIIT
:v: 'Because I can' workout - really listened to my body, increasing and dropping weight throughout the workout. This is good progress for me.

I decided to pop myself on the scale this morning, more out of interest really because I can visually see changes to my body in the mirror. I started January 2023 on 56.9kg, and have since dropped to 55kg. I've had to tweak my meal plan this week as I wasn't feeling great with three meals a day. So now I have three smaller main meals and two snacks, which seems to help my blood sugar levels even more.

Hope you're all having a good weekend :ss:
And happy new lunar year for tomorrow, if like me, you're celebrating this holiday :celeb:


Shieldmaiden Posts: 16
"Just breathe"
Ok, it has been a while, but I'm still continuing with my training schedule:

22nd Jan:
:v: Day 21 Power HIIT

23rd Jan:
:v: Day 22 Power HIIT
:v: Iron Heart workout

24th Jan:
:v: Day 23 Power HIIT

25th Jan:
:v: Day 24 Power HIIT
:v: Brute Arms workout - some baby biceps starting to appear

26th Jan:
:v: Day 25 Power HIIT
:v: Brute Legs workout

27th Jan:
:v: Day 26 Power HIIT - felt good to move today after meeting a friend for dinner and having sensory overload on the train home.

28th Jan:
:v: Day 27 Power HIIT
:v: 'Because I can' workout.

29th Jan - travel all day, so no workout.

30th Jan:
:v: Day 28 Power HIIT
:v: Push Pull Legs A - legs are like jelly after slowing down the tempo for each movement.

31st Jan:
:v: Day 29 and 30 Power HIIT - so excited that I finished the programme!

1st Feb:
:v: Push Pull Arms A - loved this workout. I think I just enjoy arms days in general.

2nd Feb:
:v: Push Pull Legs A - got overly excited seeing some definition starting to appear in my quads.

3rd Feb:
:v: 25 mins Pilates - glutes on fire!

4th Feb:
:v: Push Pull Arms and Back A - I feel like I've had a two hour climbing session. I can barely type and drink my tea :happy: I also managed 3kg weights for my tricep extensions for the first time :worried:

As you might have noticed, the strength training workouts have changed this week. I'm planning to rotate between Push Pull Legs A and B on alternate weeks as I further develop my fitness and establish a weight training programme for myself. I cannot stress how much this is really helping with my mental health recovery. There is calmness in my mind that I only seem to get with lifting weights that I cannot get with yoga.

Have a good weekend bees :ss:


Shieldmaiden Posts: 16
"Just breathe"
OK, so we are nearly at the end of February (where has the time gone?!) and I have been rotating the Push Pull Legs A and B over the past few weeks.

I was a bit dubious about the 2 minute rest between sets, but you know, I've really noticed some big gains this month, particularly in my lateral raises which I can now do using 3kg weights in each hand :D There is also a physical change in my body that I can visually see (and squeal with delight every now again when I see baby abs or biceps) in the mirror.

I'm not sure what I weigh, as I haven't yet stepped on a scale. I will probably do a weigh in on Monday, as that will give me an end of month-ish weight to compare to the start of the month. Clothes feel a bit more loose, so I'm definitely toning up, even if the number on the scale hasn't gone down.

On my non-training days I've been walking and not much else. I've come to realise that a well rested body can do better on training days and keep better form throughout.

With March on the horizon, I'm going to keep going with the alternate push pull workouts - I'd like to get to 5kg on the lateral raises by May. I'm hoping then that I will have recovered enough to set foot in a gym.

My mental health has been up and down - a lot of downs actually after a horrendous HR meeting where it was hinted at that I would lose my job. I'm trying not to let that worry me, though it has taken me a good week and a half to shake the meeting out of my head. Got to take each day as it comes and be kind to myself along the way.

Hope you're all having a great weekend :heart:


Shieldmaiden Posts: 16
"Just breathe"
Well, here is an end of March/early April check in.

I have continued to rotate Push Pull Legs A and B, including the upper body workout since February. I am definitely seeing gains in terms of increasing weights being lifted and number of reps. The visual gains have also increased: arms and shoulders are getting defined to the point that I will be needing new t-shirts to accommodate the growth, some nice definition starting to come through in my legs and baby abs too (got the lines on either side of my abs now) :D

Nutrition has been off for most of March. I know that this is tied to my emotional health - it's been pretty up and down with my sleep being on/off and I'm taking it out in chocolate bars, cake, etc. At least I'm recognising this and I'm not heading into binge/restrict cycles, which for me is good progression. I'm taking the next few days to take stock and be a bit more mindful around my emotions and just learning to sit with them rather than reaching for a bar of chocolate. At least my caffeine consumption is now down to one cup of coffee a day (decaf tea/coffee/herbal the rest of the day).

Towards the middle of March I started adding in yoga most mornings - between 35 to 50 minutes of Ashtanga using the Down Dog app. I've found that this has really helped to stretch out my muscles from the strength training, not to mention help me with my push ups (I'm now able to do kneeling push ups, having been doing them against the wall since January).

My weight is hovering around 55.6kg.

So, for April I will be focusing on:
  1. Nutrition - increasing fruit and vegetables
  2. Yoga - continue to practice in the mornings most days
  3. Strength training - continue to focus on increasing weight and reps on Push Pull Legs/Upper Body A and B.


Shieldmaiden Posts: 16
"Just breathe"
Here's my latest update: I'm still rotating between Push Pull Legs A and B, including the upper body workouts and now my other half is starting to notice the gains e.g. watching me rip up the decking in the back garden when pre-strength training I wouldn't have been able to do this :LOL: Also, I was trying to work out why my underwear was starting to dig into my hips until I noticed my booty gains in the bathroom mirror last week. For the first time, I wasn't that bothered about sizing up when buying underwear yesterday ;)

I occasionally do a full body workout to take my strength training up to 5 days a week, with two rest days in between. As the weather improves, I'm swapping out morning yoga for morning walks.

Nutrition has been up and down again. I've noticed more thoughts around food these past few weeks and getting really hung up about it - ED never really goes away, but I've been managing it fairly well this year so far. Anxieties and over thinking about food are just really unhelpful whilst I'm recovering from burn out and a mental health breakdown, so I've decided to transition back into a plant-based diet and introduce fish, eggs, etc a few times a week to see if that will help this time around until I get a bit more mental freedom around food. It can really bring down my mood and I noticed other negative behaviours starting to creep in (e.g. binge and restrict), so hopefully things will settle down a bit in May.

Hope you're all having a great weekend :ss: