Emotional exhaustion: striving for perfection…

She was tired. So very tired. And as the moments wore on, she could feel the levels of fatigue rise within her, feeding her anxiety. In an instant, her emotions exploded and poured from her being with the same intensity and fury of lava erupting from a volcano. Words spilled from her mouth. Words that articulated caged feelings that had lay dormant for weeks.

This outpouring of emotion, in such intense form was out of her control, as according to World Health Organisation (WHO), she was experiencing the ‘occupational phenomenon’ known as emotional exhaustion. WHO states emotional exhaustion is on the rise in the workplace, particularly for those whose roles are laden with high expectations and prolonged exposure to stressors, which are defined as a previous traumatic life event or situation.

Further, The Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS), defines a stressor as “anything that causes the release of stress hormones“, which are our bodies natural response to stress and prompts what is colloquially known as our ‘fight or flight response’. The Mayo Clinic states, “stress is often interpreted as a threat to survival. When this happens, it increases the release of stress hormones from your brain, further contributing to your experience of emotional exhaustion.

Jane Leonard from Medical News Today writes that an emotionally exhausted person may appear unusually cynical or pessimistic, and may lose their motivation to perform simple tasks. If an individual is exposed to stressors for a prolonged period, the level of emotional exhaustion rises and they may react with fear, aggression or an uncharacteristic display of emotion. Further, it is important to allow the emotionally exhausted person to express these emotions, as an intense outburst is often an emotive release and as a result of the stressor being eradicated. The Mayo Clinic confirms the latter by saying that once the ‘stressor’ has been removed, “… the amount of stress hormone released is decreased so you are able are able to feel more emotionally balanced...”

So as aspects of her life changed, the intensity of her emotions began to recede and she realised she was okay. 

She realised it was also okay to fill silence with intensity and conviction. It was okay to display caged feelings. It was okay to be vulnerable. 

And it was okay that her emotional explosion appeared erratic and out of character. It was needed and in fact, immensely cathartic. 

Yes, she had been tired, so very tired…

Images: Stanley&Bear Photography


Mayo Clinic

The Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS)


Help Guide

World Health Organisation


Dis-like: how social media feeds into perfectionism

life, travel

A French love affair…

Walking along paths framed by wheat fields, climbing across majestic mountains and traversing through forests whilst being stalked by horses was an experience I’ll never forget.

And already, I deeply miss walking the Camino.

I miss the feeling of knowing the morning heralded another day of simply being in the present. Another day of simply placing one foot in front of another, hour after hour. It was so humbling and and so rewarding.

I truly wish I’d had more time to finish the entire Camino: unfortunately I did not.

But like others before me, I will return.

Instead, I’m continuing my love affair with France, a country I adore. The language, the landscape and the friendliness of the people.

Some may ‘tut tut’ at that last sentence, but I’ve always found French people to be warm and friendly.

This visit is no different.

My chance encounter with a French couple who’d just completed the entire Camino [Le Puy en Valay to Finisterre, approx 1600kms]. They happily shared very useful advice on walking Le Puy.

Bruno, my Airbnb host who warmly accepted my very last minute booking ( 1 hour), and who then praised my poor French language skills.

The wonderful people who invited me into the masses to enjoy and support Gay Pride.

And today: the wait staff at a restaurant where I stopped for lunch. They chatted animatedly with me before inviting me to join them later for drinks and dinner. I declined as I needed to get back to my Airbnb, however I was humbled by their kindness.

Tomorrow I head further north for a few days of walking through old villages, before heading to Lyon to spend time with an old, dear friend who I’ve not seen in quite a few years.

And just as my love affair with France continues, so does my love of travelling solo.

I’m never lonely, never frightened and despite missing my precious sons, special friends and of course my beloved sausages, life is sweet.

To those who fear solo travel, fear not, for it truly is an amazing experience that heightens the senses and soothes the soul…



The kindness of strangers…

Travel affords wonderful experiences and at times, unfortunate ones.  And it is the latter that often allows the true spirit of human kindness to shine.

In the last few days I have bathed in that kindness and I’m so very thankful.

Last week I started to feel those tell tale signs of a cold and sure enough within a day, I was reaching for the tissues and beginning to look like Rudolph’s long lost sister.

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Cambodian workers opposite my hotel who wave and smile as I walk by

Even though I felt a little more lethargic than usual, I simply put it down to environment and whilst I did feel lousy, I pushed through. But as the days progressed, my lethargy and fatigue levels increased to the point where I could barely stand.

Alone in a hotel in Siem Reap with a raging fever, I realised I was very ill and needed to see someone.  I went to the reception desk and instantly Paulo the manager was at my side.  Without hesitation he called his tuk tuk driver and took me to hospital.

My simple cold has manifested into pneumonia, which although debilitating at least it’s now clear as to why I am feeling so ill.

So even though I am still alone in my hotel, I’m actually not for the wonderful Cambodian staff are continually checking on my welfare.

It is not in their job description to do so and I’m overwhelmed by their kindness.  It is so comforting to know that people, albeit strangers, have taken the time to care.

Yes, the kindness of strangers is truly humbling…

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Suspended umbrella’s on Pub Street…