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From Overwhelm and Burnout in 2023 to a New and Healthy Lifestyle in 2024

Updated: May 8

A burnout can happen to any of us...

It might be that life is running smoothly with your social life and your relationships all happy and enjoyable, your work at school or in your job could be exciting and fulfilling and your work life balance just right. 

Then that same life throws a spanner in the works.

It can sneak up on you. It can sneak up on all of us. It might be that we know we are heading towards a problem or it could and often does, come out of the blue.

This happened to me last year when I had gradually added too much into my life. Here are a few of the main things: 

  • renovating a house (whilst living in it) 

  • organising an important family holiday 

  • living in a new community having moved from Torquay in Devon to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk… 

  • I had COVID which then led to a temporary but sudden, scary, heart problem

  • embarked on a 10 week silversmithing course

  • decided to make a new line of jewellery

And I burnt out. 

I found myself depressed, physically unable to get up and do much at all and worst of all I was mentally cloudy and confused. 

“What? Shouldn’t you of all people be able to cope with life stuff and stay healthy and sane?” 

I hear you ask.

Yes and No is my answer to that.

Yes because I might have managed all those activities with a kinder approach to myself, understanding that moving house is extremely physically and emotionally challenging let alone change communities. Not to mention living in an unrenovated house. 

It would have made more sense for me to be using my wellness techniques more frequently and resting more. 

That is the benefit of hindsight.

The no is because… well stuff happens. I am human and fallible. I really didn’t feel this perfect storm brewing!

Depression is a side effect of any heart incident. I remembered this from my days as the clinical pharmacist on a hospital cardiac ward. Our hearts are very clearly closely connected to our feelings and overall wellbeing. So I think that was part of the physical illness and may or may not have been preventable. The doctors didn’t have any idea what caused it although I suspect COVID…

The worst part was that I was confused and mentally cloudy and that was on top of not knowing specifically what was causing this mental and physical standstill. 

It was a sort of breakdown even though that seems so dramatic to say. But I think that is what it was.

When I looked for a definition of ‘breakdown’ this is what the Merriam-Webster entry says: 


“a complete loss of physical, mental, or emotional vitality : a physical, mental, or nervous collapse. d. : the process of decomposing. the breakdown of water into hydrogen and oxygen. cellular breakdown.” accessed 1st April 2024

And this conglomeration of ailments went on for months. It seems now I look back, to have begun somewhere in the middle of the year and spread through to beyond the start of 2024.

The thing about being in this state of shut down was that my brain was cloudy and my nervous system had been hijacked and was not allowing access to my tools!

In the end I began to improve either naturally or just because I was so annoyed with the way I was being, that I decided to change it. 

I began to gather my own inner resources. 

I began to listen to what was going on in my Body and Mind.

I began to give myself what was needed.

Gradually I regained motivation, clear thoughts, physical and mental energy.

Just why and exactly what caused my incapacitation last year is still a mystery but now I find myself reinvigorated and motivated to move through life with more respect for my own systems. 

My Body & Mind deserve to be exercised and rested, not overwhelmed. 

What did I do?

Well I went back to the drawing board, found more activities and techniques to practice in order to create a vibrant, abundant, healthy and happy life. 

Knowing I wanted to move my body more but not in a taking-out-gym-membership sort of way, I looked around for ideas. I needed something that would lift my spirit, helping me to feel alive again. 

I found Qi Gong. 7 minutes each morning has rejuvenated me. I find it to be a wonderfully powerful and gentle method of activating my body ready for the day. 

Meditation is also a morning activity for me. I have always loved it but now it is a regular occurrence. It helps me to have a calm focus for the day’s activities. 

I have set alarms which remind me to check in and ask myself “How do I feel now?” and that encourage moments of consciously connecting to feeling happy.

Guess what?

I feel happier and more connected to the world. I have energy and feel enlivened.

This is possible for anyone and at any age. It requires only that you become aware of how you are feeling and change habits that are not serving your best interests.

In light of this I want to reiterate the need to have not only a tried, tested and proven toolbox of skills and techniques for you to use when you realise you need them, but to share them with your nearest and dearest so that it becomes a bank of knowledge available to all of you.

If you feel anxious or stressed your brain is not always in a state to remind you to do the PAT technique unless:

i) you spot it coming and can do PAT before it gets too bad

ii) you have been doing PAT for a while and really made neurological progress on your response to anxiety i.e. rewired your brain with sustained training

iii) someone in your family or friend group reminds you to use PAT

I am using PAT as an example as that is the first technique you will have learnt in FUNKHEAD (or 3As) and also what most people respond best to - and quickly.

Whilst FUNKHEAD can teach you some of the many techniques you will use in your life to regain or maintain your own wellness it does require maintenance and review from you. You will  change, your life will change and there will be techniques that you do now that you might not want to use in time. Some techniques you might want to use forever! 

Allow your curiosity about yourself along with a big dose of kindness to be your guide. 

Ask yourself regularly: 

“How do I feel?” 

“What do I need?”

As life moves on and there are bumps in the road, make a note of what works for you, be a seeker of new ways to stay well and happy.

If you are struggling my suggestion is that you go back to first principles and address the elephant in the room. What is it for you? 

The answer is often / usually anxiety.

Even if the anxiety has been triggered by uncertainty,  a bad experience or trauma, if you can learn to get that anxiety under control at that moment you can still function. If you continue to use techniques such as PAT you will be working towards rewiring your brain’s response to your anxiety triggers.

FREE CALL! Get in quick...

To help you further I have decided to change the way I do my post-FUNKHEAD calls. For the next few months instead of my previous first Wednesday of the month Refresher group call, I am offering a FREE 1:1 session of up to one hour. 

The call can be used for 

  • coaching - on any aspect that you wish to raise

  • refreshing your mind on the tools 

  • gaining a deeper understanding of your emotions and how to shift them in order to feel better 

Book in with me by clicking on this link and finding a suitable time for you. 

If you can’t find a good time, contact me directly by emailing

This blog is for both adults and young people. There is no set age at which you can begin to look after your own wellbeing. All you need to do is decide that is what you want to do and then to change a few thinking habits … essentially you will be hacking your brain so get some good tools!

Stay healthy and well!

Viv x

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