From Perfectionism to Photography: How Carole Rey Overcame Her Burnout | The Heath Sessions

From Perfectionism to Photography: How Carole Rey Overcame Her Burnout

What’s it really like to live with chronic health problems every day? How do you deal with the physical symptoms, emotional turmoil and practical problems? In this interview series, real life ‘spoonies’ share their experiences and tips. 

Carole Rey is a French photographer living in the Netherlands. Her online magazine Good Enough Darling provides serene, calming photographs and helpful stories about embracing life with burnout. 

 

  1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m French living in the Netherlands. I studied French modern literature and specialized myself in didactic and intercultural communication. I’ve worked as a language trainer and lecturer for about 15 years, most of the time as freelancer.

At some point I wanted to explore new paths so I started a full time course to become an Interior Designer; I needed fresh air, new challenges. To still have a minimum income, I had to increase the amount of freelance work because my husband (who is also a freelancer) did not have work at all due to the economic crisis. The combination of my study, preparation/correction of portfolio, lessons to give, two very young kids plus the worries about my husband situation was awful. Nights when I could sleep four hours were the special ones. I was constantly under pressure and had to produce a lot of work and not to mention the way too often heavy headaches and migraines.

In order to work more (because of our financial situation) and to be able to manage all the tasks at home, I quit the Interior Designer studies; it broke my heart and I felt like a looser. A few months after that, I started to suffer from my right shoulder, it hurt a lot and I had difficulties carrying my kids. The physiotherapist told me that it came from too much stress, but I ignored his diagnosis, because I thought I had no choice and that I must carry on in order to protect and care for my family.

A couple of months later, while I was giving instructions to a group, I blacked out and could not speak at all anymore. I knew what I wanted to say but I just could not manage to talk, produce sounds and articulate. A very heavy migraine started, it lasted four days when I could barely open my eyes, talk and move. When I finally managed to go to my doctor, he told me that I, obviously, had a severe burnout.

Read more >From Perfectionism to Photography: How Carole Rey Overcame Her Burnout



How The Spoon Theory Explains What It's Like to Live with Chronic Illness | The Health Sessions

How The Spoon Theory Explains What It’s Like to Live with Chronic Illness

You’ve probably read the term before: spoonies. It’s a nickname for people with chronic illness, that unites individuals with all kinds of health problems on social media.

Because spoonies all share a common struggle: how do you get things done with the small amount of energy that you have? How can you take care of work, home life or even your basic needs when you’re always exhausted, in pain and have limited mobility?

Having to pace yourself is a concept that’s hard to understand for healthy people. Because getting dressed, making meals and doing the dishes is something most people do without even thinking about it. But when you’re chronically ill, those daily tasks can take up much – if not all – of your energy.

One day, lupus patient Christine Miserandino found a striking way to explain to her friend how difficult it is for her to get through the day, by using the items in front of her: spoons. Her Spoon Theory became a widely used metaphor to describe what it’s really like to live with chronic illness.

Have a look at this in-depth infographic from Burning Nights on what the Spoon Theory is and how you can use your daily spoons wisely.

Read more >How The Spoon Theory Explains What It’s Like to Live with Chronic Illness



How to Flourish in the Face of Adversity | The Health Sessions

How to Flourish in the Face of Adversity

It’s an age-old question: is it possible to thrive, not just survive, in the face of adversity?

Countless of best-selling books and blockbuster movies have been made about unexpected heroes, people who succeeded despite the obstacles in their way. But how exactly can you flourish when you’re living with chronic illness, financial troubles or strained relationships?

For decades, the field of psychology focused mostly on preventing and treating mental health problems. But when you’re trying to fix problems and reduce suffering, by definition you’re working to get people to a neutral state, to “zero”. It wasn’t until twenty years ago that renowned psychologists started to investigate how you can lead a good and happy life – how you can get from a mediocre “5” to a blooming “8”.

Flourishing means you’re living in the optimal range of human functioning, where you experience positive emotions, find fulfillment and accomplish meaningful tasks, most of the time. It’s not the same as simply being happy. When people are asked how satisfied they are with their lives, their answer depends strongly on their current mood. But a ‘good’ life depends on more than fleeting feelings of happiness.

In his book ‘Flourish’,  Martin Seligman, the pioneer of positive psychology, states that you need 5 elements for optimal wellbeing: positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment. This PERMA-model is a good template for how to flourish in life, but how do you put these pillars into action, especially during tough times?

Have a look at these 32 actionable strategies from the world’s experts on how to flourish.

Read more >How to Flourish in the Face of Adversity



How to Deal with the Guilt of Parenting with Chronic Illness | The Health Sessions

Parenting with Chronic Illness: How Do You Deal with Guilt?

It’s the one feeling parents with chronic illness struggle with the most: guilt.

Because it hurts when you can’t take your kids to the park or the playground because of your health. Especially when you see the disappointment in their eyes. It hurts when your kids are missing out on experiences because you can’t take them everywhere. Not to mention the guilt you may feel about overburdening your kids with extra responsibilities or worries about your chronic illness.

In theory, guilt is a useful emotion that forces us to contemplate what we’ve done ‘wrong’ and how we can ensure a better outcome next time. But in reality, you can easily develop a negative self-image, depressive feelings or anxiety when the situation you feel guilty about is beyond your control.

No parent with chronic illness wants to miss their daughter’s sports games or son’s school play. We all wish we could pick up our kids from school, go on bike rides and read bedtime stories each night – but that’s not always possible.

So how do you deal with the guilt of parenting with chronic illness?

Read more >Parenting with Chronic Illness: How Do You Deal with Guilt?