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Blue Skies

“[Creativity] is in all of us, but to the extent that we don’t give it expression, we suffer”

Gabor Maté

Creative Burnout Recovery Retreat

What is burnout?

Burnout is more than just feeling very stressed. It's beyond that. It's when exhaustion takes over. Mental, physical and emotional. When our nervous system gets fried and disillusionment and cynicism can set in. When sometimes all we can do is stare at the ceiling or a wall.

 

It's when we feel overworked (in whatever way that may be) and don't feel valued, yet feel incapable of doing anything about it. It's when our resources, internal and external, have run so low that all we can do is exist and nothing seems to help.

 

We might feel overwhelmed, unable to make any changes, disconnected from those around us and our work. Our emotions can erupt out of nowhere and our resilience is low. We can get sick, become inflexible and struggle to make decisions, find it difficult to stay present and grounded and life can feel meaningless.

As hard as it can be to experience, burnout presents us with an opportunity (or forces us) to stop, reassess life and make changes that will be more supportive to your well-being going forward.

What is The Creative Burnout Recovery Retreat?

The Creative Burnout Recovery Retreat is a completely bespoke service, designed to help you begin what can be a lengthy process of recovery. In consultation with you, we will come up with a package that will help you gently begin to come back to life from the physical, mental and emotional exhaustion, disillusionment, frustration and overwhelm of burnout, and step forward into a life that will be more fulfilling and less depleting.

It's all about resting, giving yourself time and space, time to stop and be nurtured, and in time, rediscover yourself. As you begin to feel better, it can be supportive to reflect on changes that you may want to make to avoid burnout re-occurring and I can help you make a plan for going forward.

 

Initially, we will start with a consultation (on the phone or online, whichever feels more manageable for you) to establish what's going on for you and what you need. We may then have one or two coaching sessions online, in the lead up to you taking a minimum of 5 days out of your life to come and stay in Hastings on the East Sussex coast which is where I am based. You can stay for as long as you like, but I would suggest a minimum of 5 days if you can.

 

From East Hill over the Old Town to Hastings pier.jpg

Hastings has so much to offer in terms of rest and creativity, with both the sea and beautiful countryside surrounding it for space, and a vibrant creative community to inspire and engage you if you want that. 

I will help you find accommodation (or leave you to your own decision making if you prefer) and we can create a programme for your time here that helps you to breathe again. I have loosely structured suggestions based on nurturing your body, mind and emotions back to health, as this is likely to be an essential part of your recovery and reconnection with your creativity.

 

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That programme may include any or all of the following, and we can discuss anything else that you feel would be helpful to you:

  • Nothing (I know! Trust me though...)

  • Nurturing your Body - Rest, Food, Relaxation and Movement

  • Nurturing your Mind and Emotions - One to One Therapeutic Coaching Sessions, Meditation, Play and Inspiration, Creative Drift

  • Managing Stress - Getting to know your Nervous System (and how to regulate it)

Please see below for more information on each of these categories.

Nothing

Really? "Nothing?", I hear you say.

Yup. Just that. If you're burnt out, the first thing you might need is to do and think about absolutely nothing. 

You might need a lot of this time or intermittent periods of it. In fact, I would suggest that you do have periods of time doing (or not doing) just that.

Burnout often comes on the back of doing too much, so much so that we get to a point where we can't do anything, so trust that if you can.

Nurturing Your Body - Rest

When we burnout, we usually burnout mentally, physically and emotionally from more stress than we are designed to deal with on a daily basis, so rest is so vital. 

We're all different, so let's find out what you need to allow you to rest. It might be the right environment, for example, so does the idea of being by the sea or in the countryside or in an urban environment help you to breathe more easily and consequently, rest?

There may well be other things to consider too, so let's discover what you need to enable you to get that all important rest.

Resting
Raw Vegetables

Nurturing your Body - Relaxation and Movement

Let's help your recovery by listening to what your body needs - whether it's rest, or movement, relaxation and letting go, or movement and energising, I can help you access various forms of massage and meditation, yoga and pilates (either one to one or in classes), or maybe something different like paddleboarding, for example.

There are wonderful walks to be had, by the sea, or in the parks or surrounding countryside. And you can swim every day - morning, noon and night if you want to!

Nurturing your Body - Food

There are plenty of cafes, pubs and restaurants in Hastings and St Leonards, or if you prefer to cook for yourself, then self catering is, of course, an option, especially if you enjoy cooking or would prefer to stay in your own space rather than venture out.

I know this sounds basic, but if we have burnout, it's quite possible that eating regular meals, never mind nutritious ones, has been something that has gone by the wayside. Beginning to take care of ourselves again (or be taken care of), can be part of our recovery.

Nurturing your Mind & Emotions - One to one coaching sessions

While you're here, we can meet in person for as many therapeutic coaching sessions as you feel you need. 

We can work in my therapy room, which is set up to work creatively, or we can relocate to the beach or wherever feels helpful to you.

Sometimes, we might just sit and talk. At others, we might try different ways of working to help you get to where you need to get to, in terms of understanding and healing.

We can explore what has lead to you burning out and what changes you could make to avoid it happening again. Increased self-awareness, putting in boundaries, self-compassion, increased resilience, reconnecting to your values and what's meaningful for you, as well as a change in your work/life balance, amongst others, can be important aspects of recovery, so we can spend some time looking at these aspects of your life if you want to.

We can discuss what you would like from our sessions when we speak before your visit.

We can also establish whether you would like follow up sessions for when you return home, if that's something that appeals to you.

Nurturing your Mind & Emotions - Meditation

If you have a meditation practice, then this might be a space for you to really take time to sit, whether it's out in nature or in your accommodation.

Or if you would like to try some meditation or incorporate it into our sessions, then we can certainly do that. 

I am a trained mindfulness teacher, so am happy to bring this into our work if you would like it and can leave it out if you prefer that too.

Yoga Man Meditation
Dancing

Nurturing your Mind & Emotions - Play and Inspiration

I'm an adult, so why would I want to play? 

According to Dr Stuart Brown, author of Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul "I have gathered and analyzed thousands of case studies that I call play histories. I have found that remembering what play is all about and making it part of our daily lives are probably the most important factors in being a fulfilled human being. The ability to play is critical not only to being happy, but also to sustaining social relationships and being a creative, innovative person."

I think that play and creativity are closely intertwined - play inspires creativity and creativity can be one way that we play. 

He also describes the opposite of play as depression and I suspect that burnout is a state that partially results from a lack of play.

So here is a chance for you to remember what play means to you.. We can explore this in our sessions or you may be inspired to try it on your own.

Likewise, play can lead to inspiration which again, connects into our creativity.

Opportunities for play in Hastings are many. From listening to or playing all kinds of music to looking at or creating some art, from allowing that playful child in you a chance to play on the beach or to explore the classic attractions of a seaside town's amusements. Maybe it's time to help you rediscover what makes you smile or laugh, what brings joy into your life, how it feels to be absorbed in a rock pool or listening to a live band for a while, what it's like to be spontaneous and living in the present moment, even if just for a while.

Nurturing your Mind & Emotions - Creative Drift

Creative drift is a concept and if you're not already a confirmed "drifter", my invitation is to see if it's something that works for you.

Creative drift is the space that I think we sometimes need, in order to foster our creativity. It's the quiet that allows inspiration to bubble through. It's the fertile space where there is no trying, just being, just allowing ourselves to drift and gently explore.

You might like to take time to watch the sea or look for pebbles on the beach, to lie in a field and look at the clouds passing by, or watch the birds hover on the warm air currents. To just gaze, to play lightly, to feel the sea between your toes or see if you can make that flat pebble skim across the surface of the water.

Take advantage of this time out if you want to, to see what this feels like and if it helps you.

Nurturing your Body - Managing Stress - Getting to Know your Nervous System (and how to regulate it)

Burnout is a stress related condition (although not the same as being stressed), and understanding how our autonomic nervous system works, how stress affects us and how to manage it can be really helpful

It's also relevant because our creative process can be affected by how regulated or disregulated our nervous system is.

Being honest, now might not be the right time to take a deep dive into this, as when we're burnt out, taking in information can feel nigh on impossible. A bit like pouring more water into an already full glass - we're likely to overflow.

It really depends on how long you spend down here in Hastings and whether you get to a point where you feel it would be beneficial.

However, we can always come back to this at a later date when you're ready, in follow up sessions.

Sky

Accommodation

Here's a few ideas for you, but there is plenty of accommodation available to choose from.

Venues to visit

Alongside the beaches and the countryside, the mix of architecture and independent shops, bars and restaurants, here's a few places that you might like to "drift" round or be inspired by while you're in Hastings. There are others to discover too, so come and explore.

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