Are you at risk of burnout?
Have you been so stressed out by work that every small task feels impossible to complete? Do you struggle to switch off? Is the word ‘rest’ even a part of your vocabulary?
Rosie Millen, also known as Miss Nutritionist over on Instagram, is a Nutritional Therapist based in London and has had to learn about burnout the hard way. Since experiencing burnout, Rosie has turned her life around, and has since released her debut book, entitled Burnout’s a B*tch, that details her experience of burnout as well as providing readers with a six week lifestyle plan. We talked about all things work stress, her darkest days and how to say no.
Rosie, a few years ago you experienced burnout and you’ve since written a book called Burnout’s a B*tch. Tell us about your experience with burnout?
Yeah so six years ago on March 6 2014, I was walking in the park on a beautiful sunny day when all of a sudden I felt really really dizzy and I collapsed to the ground. I freaked out because nothing like that had ever happened to me before so I basically climbed into a taxi, went home to bed and stayed there for three years straight. I was completely paralysed and exhausted and I couldn’t move couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t socialise, I couldn’t exercise, I couldn’t work.
My whole life was just totally put on hold. At my worst, I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow. I just found everything really, really debilitating soI kind of did what anybody would do in that situation, I took myself off to the doctors, got some tests done. When the results came back there was nothing wrong with me! I was totally normal so the doctor just prescribed me antidepressants and I burst into tears because I was like, ‘I’m not depressed, I’m exhausted.’
I realised that I have to get to the bottom of it myself. I knew that something was going on. I did a tonne of reading loads of research, I ran loads of tests on myself. Eventually I found it was all pointing to the same thing; I severely burned out.
That’s crazy! So for three years you couldn’t get out of bed?!
I mean, on a successful day I made it from the bed to sofa. It was just so hard, it was the most lonely, darkest, frustrating, saddest place I’ve ever been. I didn’t want to be alive anymore and I did consider taking my life because I would just wake up exhausted again and again. I just couldn’t bear it. When a week goes by and you’re tired, it’s one thing but when a month goes by and then a year and then another year.
I think the number one thing that really made a difference was identifying my stressors and eliminating them. When I see my clients I always say, ‘it doesn’t matter if you have the perfect diet you’re taking the perfect supplements, if the fuel to the fire is still there, you’re not going to recover. You’ve got to eliminate the stressors, you’ve got to get rid of them. You’ve really got to change your life.
What did your life look like prior to burning out? What was a regular week in your life?
It was a whirlwind! I was working like a freight train. I was actually running two businesses at the time so I’d actually just launched my second business, which killed me. I would get up, have meetings, do emails, marketing calls, coaching calls, you know you name it, do anything and everything all day, every day.
It was a completely different life and I said yes to everything. Now my life is completely different. I’m a different person and I’m very good at saying no without explaining myself.
Do you think people are much more aware of burnout now then they were when you were experiencing it?
Yeah, 100%! Now we’re burning out left, right and centre. A lot of the doctors didn’t really understand burnout because they hadn’t seen it and there wasn’t as much information out there about it.
In 2016, 12.5 million workdays were lost due to stress related conditions. So it is a byproduct of the way that we live and before it wasn’t and I think doctors and the medical profession are waking up to that now.
Leading up to this interview, I did a poll on our Instagram stories and one of the questions I asked was, do you think people with type A personalities are more likely to experience burnout and around 96% of people said yes!
Oh 100%! You settle for nothing, you keep going, you don’t say no, you say yes to everything. If you’re a perfectionist, you find that work is your priority and sleep takes a backseat.
Sleep is the number one thing that starts to become compromised. And, oh my god, sleep is absolutely paramount to the recovery of the adrenal glands. So, if you’re not sleeping, you’re not going to recover.
Find Rosie below!