I can’t relax. I can’t even sit still for 10 minutes without shaking my legs or adjusting my seat. It’s irritating — like not being able to scratch an itch.
And before you ask, yes I’ve tried.
Taking slow, deep breaths. Talking with friends. Writing my thoughts down. Squeezing a stress ball. Working out at the gym. Inhaling the essence of my lavender-scented candles. Listening to sleep-hypnosis apps. Watching funny YouTube videos. Getting massaged. Taking a light walk around the block.
It made me start to wonder, maybe I’m just born this way?
A restless person. A light sleeper. A workaholic at a startup.
Put those all together, and what that boils down to is the fate of getting a serious burnout.
“Burnout is like depression and a migraine tangled together that never seems to go away, incurable with even the strongest dose of Tylenol. No matter how hard you try to finish every little thing off your plate, there’s always more. And it’s depressing how you can never seem to catch up with your expectations.”
-My personal quote from What Burnout Truly Feels Like
One thing you should know…
Burnouts go hand-in-hand with startups. I didn’t know about this — until I pulled through 2 months of intense “training” with Rabbut (my first startup).
It got so unbearable that at times I’d ask myself, what did I get myself into? But I couldn’t let that thought sink deep.
I had to find a solution. If I didn’t, I might as well just stayed at my 9–5 job where everything felt perfect — the hours, the stable pay, the generous benefits, doing the one thing everyone respects you for. I wanted to be more than just a cheap replacement. I wanted to build a business from its bare bones, picking up skills I could never learn from books.
That was enough to get me thumbing through Groupon’s alluring discounts.
Bootcamp classes. Horseback riding. Golf. Suddenly, my eyes opened wide as if I just got an acceptance letter from Harvard.
The one thing almost every girl has tried. The one thing that’s been sitting in my bucket list for years. The one thing that finally set my mind at ease.
Here I was, sitting quietly in a spacious room with seven other meditators. All of us sinking into deep thought as the instructor steered our minds to focus on and feel our surroundings. Never had I let myself go completely — chin up, eyes closed, guard down. Every worry and fear that I had was extracted from every cell of my body and swept away through gentle exhales. The zen and chakra healing music. The soft, soothing voice of my instructor. The cool air brushing my skin.
For the very first time, I learned how to relax. No jerks. No twitches. Just me being normal.
My one advice.
So if you’re like me — restless, energetic, super ambitious, and have a fragile mind to burnouts — try yoga. It might be the one quick fix that’ll prevent you from collapsing from mental exhaustion.
Other than that, don’t overwork yourself. Take breaks when your mind starts feeling numb. Do something you enjoy. Because when you’re working at a fast-paced startup, it’s better to keep yourself sane than to fix heavy damages.