Starting a recovery process from a burnout, that was a lot of work. In addition to resting, recovering and saving energy, I also went to work. I had to do things differently.  For example; keeping track of a day planner, structuring my environment, recognizing signals from my body, dealing with many emotions, you name it.

To be able to do that, I kept a diary/workbook. A simple notebook in which I wrote down the experiences of that day. Often linked to a topic.

For example, when:

  • evaluating a day planner, I described what was not going well, so that I could write it off, but also to come back to it later. So, I could see how my development was going.
  • tuning my contacts. Then I described which people had cost me energy and why and what I wanted differently.
  • stop my worrying. So that I could write it off and later see that most thoughts were unnecessary.

So the structure of the workbook consisted largely of  pre-conceived topics, which I wanted to practice for a few weeks and which I evaluated at the end of the day.  Through the evaluation, I was able to adjust my goals and develop my recovery the next day.

It looked something like this:


The subjects were chosen according to my needs, and they also shifted over time. For example, when I had a good grasp of planning, I no longer had to practice that, and I could replace it with another subject.

Own experience

I tried to write down as many experiences as possible. Positive things I had experienced one day. Those could be the smallest things. Cup in dishwasher, garbage bag changed, spoken to postman. Small steps.

I also wrote down disappointments. Then I would have been texting too much or hanging around on facebow for too long, which made me feel annoying again.


I could then use both cases to improve my planning for the next day.  In time, I was able to wear out these subjects and they became more mine.



I usually came up with these topics with my psychologist. I could then practice the following weeks and consult with her where necessary.


I also used my surroundings as a mirror.  If I wanted to discuss a subject, my wife, children, colleagues could serve as a mirror.


That was nice.  Sometimes I lost the overview or I needed guidance. They could give that.



Consciously practicing new patterns led to small changes. Before I didn’t think about a lot of things, then I just did whatever came my way.


By consciously dwelling on this and looking at it from a distance, I reflect. After the reflection, I was able to make changes.



Working on a few topics every day made me start to grow behaviorally. It made my behavior more in line with my burnout.



The behavioral changes started to wear off and very slowly I became more and more familiar with the changes I wanted. More and more I came to my needs, and I dared to meet them better and better.


What is positive?

Over time, this workbook has become a kind of compass.  My recovery is getting better and better because   I’m getting better and better at what I can and can’t do.  

 With the workbook I have a means in my hands that could help me to get through the heavier moments.  I regularly read back and then I could be my development. If I thought ahead of myself, I could think that there is also an end to this.



  1. Buy a nice notebook. In which you like to write.
  2. In the beginning, you write down what you want. Experiences, emotions, Positive and Negative situations
  3. After a while, it’s good to focus on the positive things. Negative ones are always there, but if you give them too much attention, they grow. Just like positive things, by the way.
  4. If you’re down for a while, grab the notebook and read about how well you’re recovering. That you are already further along than 3 weeks ago.
  5. Hou the writing for yourself. If you’re going to share the content, you may feel pressure, shame, or accountability.

Keep it should be fine!!

After a few weeks I bought such a notebook and started writing. Writing me off not only provided insights but also peace of mind. If it’s on paper, you don’t have to think about it anymore and it doesn’t swarm in your head anymore.

Also, to see that you are experiencing growth during the recovery.