Burnout – And Beyond


I was 29 years old and had been graduated from dental school for 7 years, I was in the prime of my life or at least I should have been. But instead I had hit a point in life where work seemed too hard, patients were there just to annoy me, my staff didn’t care and were of no help at all and 5pm Friday simply couldn’t come fast enough.

After 5 hard years at University I had been working years of long hours developing my skills, seeing upwards of 40 patients a day, churning out one filling after another on what seemed to be a never ending treadmill of broken teeth and emergency root canals. I had no motivation, zero empathy and a very short emotional fuse, which would see me swinging from hysterical almost maniacal laughter to fits of rage and even tears. I would cry, as I got ready for work and beg my partner to ring my office so I wouldn’t have to go. But go I would, as I knew all those people were relying on me.

I was tired all the time and would frequently get sick with the flu or debilitating colds. My body hurt from head to toe and sleep was always fitful and never restful. I would crash from one cup of coffee to the next, sometimes drinking 15 a day simply to push through, I ate a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars to keep me going and then would let off steam from the day by going for long gruelling runs or bike rides before sinking into the couch in a heap with a beer or wine to help me unwind.

I lived for my holidays but the relief of them was only ever short lived and once back in the drill and fill I would spiral into a funk that seemed all consuming. I couldn’t believe I would have to do this for the rest of my life.

This pattern continued until I was about 34 when my body hit a wall and said no more, I was, I can see now depressed and anxious and even though my life ticked a lot of boxes I was miserable. It was at this time when I decided things needed to change that I had to be in charge of my own wellbeing and emotional state. So out of character I went and saw a counsellor and opened up to her about how I felt, the dark thoughts that would enter my mind and the low, low feeling I had inside where I felt so empty and lost. I remember crying for what seemed like hours and wondering what needed to change and how could I manage myself and my feelings better.

The counsellor explained to me that I was suffering from burnout, a condition where you have reached the edge of your capacity to cope any more, where life appears too hard. Through working with her I started to take better care of myself, exercised more moderately and cut back on my drinking which actually helped me to sleep better.

I also started working with Serge Benhayon of Universal Medicine, having hands on healing sessions and also seeing practitioners for massage and chakra-puncture to support my body. I took more time out for me where I would meditate with the Gentle Breath Meditation and develop a connection to how I was feeling so I could be more honest with myself and seek the help and support I required. Slowly over time I began to feel more like my old self, energised and with a zest for life so much so that now almost 12 years later I have my own very successful practice, a young family and work on many volunteer projects.

These days I still work long hours, in fact I do more than I used to as my typical day starts around 4am with writing or meetings for projects and then to the office from 7.30 in the morning until 6 in the evening. I now am able to sustain this output without the need for coffee, alcohol or sugar, I hardly ever get sick and when I do it is very minor. I sleep deeply and easily, wake feeling refreshed and full of joy at what the day will bring. I feel emotionally stable and hardly ever get anxious or have negative thoughts and actually am so full of new ideas and enthusiasm that my family and my team have trouble keeping up with what’s next.

I feel and look younger now at nearly 46 than I did at 29 and can honestly say that I enjoy my work and relish spending time with my patients and my staff.

These changes did not happen overnight, it took time and perseverance to deal with my unresolved issues and allow my body to recover from the years of neglect and high stress I had put it through.

The difference, however, is not in what I do but how I am inside as I have developed a way of life that supports me to be in tune with myself and hence I feel relaxed and able to cope with life.

The shift for me was to admit things were not right and to seek the support I needed. I was fortunate that the right people appeared in my life at the right time but it was through my dedication to putting my wellbeing and my needs first that I was able to bring myself back from feeling like life was over to it actually being a new start.




Author: Dr Rachel Hall

The Holistic Dentist who Loves Humanity. Life is about people, connection, love and equality. People are suffering and have forgotten they are naturally amazing. By living in a way that is more self-loving, gentle and truthful we can reawaken our capacity for grandness.

One thought on “Burnout – And Beyond”

  1. Wow, Rachel, what a story! A beautiful ending which is only the beginning. Burnouts happen so much, – I see it all around. It’s like people have to hit rock bottom before taking care of themselves in a loving way. What we learn as kids is to be good and polite to everyone else, neglect and ignore our own feelings and be best at everything we do, – all on behalf of our own well being. How and why did the most natural thing in the world, to nurture and love ourselves, become so unnatural to do – until we are forced to?
    Thank you for sharing your story, – it should be shared to students starting off with their studies.

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