Dawn Breslin writes an exclusive piece for Female First
Dawn Breslin writes an exclusive piece for Female First

My view of burnout is a retrospective one, one from the safe shore of surviving it; I didn’t die and I didn’t drown, however, that’s exactly how it felt when I was going through it.

I was a high-flying International Celebrity Life Coach with my own TV and radio shows. I travelled the world as a keynote speaker, I wrote bestselling books and consulted for leading international brands. By all accounts I was a success!

In 2010 I took a risk and set up an online venture. After a catalogue of unavoidable personal difficulties over 24 months, I was 100k in debt, emotionally, energetically and financially bankrupt.

If you have ever experienced burnout you will know it feels like being a hamster in a wheel. You literally can’t find the stop button and even if you do find it, it almost feels impossible to press it. Psychological burnout is complex.

I remember feeling like I was in prison and there didn’t appear to be any way out, at least that’s what I told myself at the time. In retrospect there are always solutions!

Each day my mind was focussed on business, from the moment I opened my eyes until the moment I went to sleep. My thinking was completely occupied, there was no space for joy, creativity, peace calm or ease. My stress was on overdrive and my fear was rising: my only salvation was a glass of Sauvignon or two or three…

I felt so anxious and completely overwhelmed.

I was burning out at a rate of knots and I didn’t know what to do.

The fear of not having enough money, not enough time in the day to get through my to do list, or not enough energy to do what needed to be done made me feel like I was drowning.

On the surface my worries were about managing my stress and my finances, however deep down at a subconscious level my thoughts were more complex.

At any point I could’ve given up my company, got a job, sold my big house by the sea, cashed in my chips and found some level of balance, however this easy route wasn’t an option. I didn’t want to let go.

I’d been at the top of my game in my career and I wanted to hold my position. As time passed I felt like I was being pulled by the ankles into the deep. I wasn’t coping.

So why is it that we can’t just simply down scale or get off the wheel? Why can’t we just quit the job, the business, work part time or slow it all down so that life can feel easier?

Money isn’t always the simple answer to this question. Shame and loss of identity were at the heart of my dilemma!

I had a choice to let the failing business go but who would I be without the celebrity coach title, the super shiny career, the big house at the sea, the sports car. Who would I become and how would I be perceived?

Would my family feel embarrassed at my demise, would my daughter’s life change? I didn’t want to let anyone down.

I was drowning, I couldn’t breathe, I was chronically stressed and on the edge of a breakdown, stroke or heart attack.

Finally, when I could not take the stress any longer, I made the decision to let it all go. I couldn’t work for 3 years however in that time I completely transformed my life.

I studied the psychological connection between wellbeing and nature and created a Wellbeing Coaching School. I have designed a whole new body of work to guide people to live high quality sustainable lives. I’ve started writing the book. Oh yes, and I’ve written a chick flick about the meaning of life, that’s a whole other story!

My life is more healthy and wholesome than it ever was.

There is a whole new life beyond burnout.

You can learn more about my work at www.dawnbreslin.com.

If you ever feel like you're struggling, no matter how big or small the issue is, the Samaritans helpline is open 24/7, aiming to provide emotional support to anyone in distress or struggling to cope. Call free at anytime, 116 123.