So a lot of you have been asking me to share why I decided to take the entire month of June off. Along with what I experienced during that time away from everything and everyone. So here is a bit. This is going to be a very vulnerable and long post you guys, hence why it has taken me so long to write it. So here goes, How to Avoided Burnout and Took Care of Yourself Mental Health.
On April 30, 2015, I decided to take the entire month of May off to get centred, happy, balanced and “Zen” the heck out. I created my first ever month-long “Zenning Out Project retreat™” for myself, which I coined “Zencation™”. I can’t believe that was over four years ago, man time flys. I urge everyone to try it at some point. If you cannot find the time to take the entire month off, I urge you to try with two days over the weekend. It will work wonders for your mental health and wellbeing.
If you want to read all about my first Zencation™ experience, click here to check it out
I decided to shut off from the wold the first time I did it because I was coming out of a challenging phase in my life. I had just walked away from one of the most stressful organizations I’ve ever worked for in my whole life. The stress I received from that organization sent me into the hospital two times, I was also going through a really tough financial patch and on top of it all, one of my closest friends, whom I considered one of my best friends walked out of my life without any notice or explanation and she knew full well that I was really struggling in my life. It floored me. Thankfully I had started to go to therapy about a year before and it was helping me a lot. But with my recent life disappointments, I spent the majority of my time talking about the abandonment from my “friend” in therapy. I talked about her a lot. It was difficult for me to process losing her as a friend. We did everything together, cheered each other on and confided in one another. [If you’re struggling with losing a close friend or a loved one, here’s a helpful video I made that will show you how to deal with crippling loss >>>: [https://kerryanningram.com/cant-learn-wikipedia-deal-people-leaving-life/].
Watch the video I created for you about this topic here:
Now looking back on the whole situation I can see that it all worked out the way it needed to. When the universe removes people and situations from your life, it is making room for better things and people to enter –– this is what happened to me.
[bctt tweet=”I could feel myself internally spinning out of control. At times I felt like the ground was swallowing me whole. I felt the same anxiety symptoms I felt in 2015, slowly creeping back into my reality. And since that time was so emotionally overwhelming for me, I didn’t want to revisit any parts of it. ” username=”kerryanningram”]
In March (2019), I felt a strong pull to “Zen Out” again. Mind you, over the last few years I’ve taken mini “Zencations”, but nothing close to a whole month off. So on June 1, 2019, I chose to rescue my mental state and disconnect to reconnect with Spirit and myself because y’all I was suffering and severely overwhelmed with what was happening or not happening in my life. I could feel myself internally spinning out of control. At times I felt like the ground was swallowing me whole. I felt the same anxiety symptoms I felt in 2015, slowly creeping back into my reality. And since that time was so emotionally overwhelming for me, I didn’t want to revisit any parts of it.
Feeling that familiar and uncomfortable tightness in the middle of my chest increased my anxiety. It caused a little trouble with my breathing sometimes. My breath would become short and shallow, which would sometimes cause my chest to feel like it was clapping in on me. I also noticed that I had gotten terribly out of shape and gained a considerable amount of weight (25+ lbs), more weight than I have ever carried on my body. I had little desire to do anything. I just wanted to give up. I wanted to end the pain for good. This feeling was out of character for my adult self. My brain was taking me back, to all my traumas and I couldn’t escape them. It felt like I was caught up in a pain vacuum that was rapidly sucking me in without a way for me to escape. I also didn’t understand why my past traumas were still controlling my current circumstances and taking over my mental landscape. Every day I found myself reliving one of my many traumas – life felt like my version of Groundhog Day… lol
I kept asking Spirit these questions, “why can’t I get past any of this sh*t? Why did you give me a mother who didn’t love me? Why did you allow her to hurt me? Why did she abandon me to protect her husband, my abuser? Was I not worthy of being loved? Aren’t you God? Why did you give me them as my parents? Didn’t you know they would hurt me?
Like most humans, in my low moments, I sometimes forget that no one can hurt me, at least not on the level that we can see, the soul level. We are spiritual beings experiencing our life on this planet in these temporary disposable bodies. These bodies carry our souls through all the experiences we encounter here on planet earth. Our bodies allow us to use all of our senses to tap into the external world. So we use our sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch to experience the things we desire. When I am asking these questions to Spirit, I am not asking them from a soul centred place. I’m asking from my unconscious brain, which takes over and goes into its conditioned pattern where it locks onto one of my past traumatic experiences refuse to accept that the trauma is not happening in my present. The brain believes the trauma is happening every time we think about it. According to Van der Kolk & McFarlane, 1996, this increases sensitization and distress in survivors because it is the hyperarousal pattern that arouses Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Individuals who struggle with PTSD symptoms experience continued the release of stress hormones which activates the fight/flight/freeze signals long after the danger has taken place and ended, and, in some cases, they don’t return to normal. Instead, the continued release of stress hormones is expressed as agitation and panic in the individual and the long term, wreaks havoc on their overall health.
Like most trauma survivors, I was triggered a lot this year. I was inundated with the overwhelming media coverage surrounding the R Kelly sexual abuse and paedophilia case, sending me on a downward spiral leading me to revisit my past traumas surrounding my physical, emotional and sexual abuse. I slowly started to sink into feeling worthless, unlovable, confused, sad, and unable to trust my judgment. Each day I found myself thinking about what was “done” to me, instead of thinking about how it made me a stronger woman.
So I decided to finally let the sh*t go, leave my pain in my past, focus on my present, abandon the shame I was holding and let Spirit do the necessary work in me to get me back to a place to live my best life, fear-free. I’m happy to report that I’m now beaming with peace, joy, love and acceptance. When we focus on our healing, everything else comes. I still get out in nature to commune with all the wild and beautiful energies often. I get in flow with my meditation, gratitude practices, sleep, eat consciously and I laugh often. Additionally, I enjoy stimulating my mind with knowledge. They all create an endless loop of positive energy flow into my life.
Now tell me, have you been feeling the pull to disconnect to reconnect with yourself? How have you answered the call? Would you try disconnecting from the world for a month or even over a two day weekend? Drop your comment below because I would love to hear how you manage or would like to manage your mental wellbeing.