De-stressing with Bente (#15)


Learning to relax again: how do you manage to do that? Bente (23) is a freelance journalist and works as an online editor at Flow. Having experienced a near-burn-out, she’s finding her way to a life with less stress. And every Friday, she takes us with her on her journey to get there.

How do you know when you are better again? I asked my therapist that question last August, just a few weeks into my sessions with her. Is there a Eureka! moment or is it a very slow process? My therapist said it could take six months for me to feel comfortable in my own body again. A year (or two) was also not inconceivable. There and then, I decided – for the first time in my life – to simply see what would happen; I would not count the days. Or months.

By the end of December, my therapist already felt I had reached that point. “We are entering phase two,” she said one Wednesday morning when I entered her room. She thought I had progressed well, and she was right about that.

I wasn’t hyperventilating my way through daily life anymore, I hardly had any panic attacks and I could travel a distance from home without constantly longing for a safe haven. While in the beginning, I couldn’t even lie still for ten minutes, I was now able to lay down for an hour without thinking of anything else but my breathing or big toe (the body scan is favorite of mine). But to say that I was ready for a new phase in my recovery? For me, it still felt like I should be in phase one.


Until, that is, I found myself, head in hands, trying to write my latest ‘Destressing with Bente’ blog. I could not think of anything I wanted to write about. Nothing new had happened in my journey to a less stressful life. Compared to last September, when I had no trouble writing six blogs per week, I now couldn’t get anything down on paper. It frustrated me. I felt like such a bad writer. So, I ended up not writing a thing.

It was only till much later that it dawned on me: I had nothing to declare because I had grown. I wasn’t learning lessons on a daily basis simply because I had fewer lessons to learn. I wasn’t an idiot; I was better. And there it was. That Eureka! moment. Hello, phase two: here I am.

I may well feel much better, but I am still far from my final destination. Because how do you stay calm in a life where the stimuli just keep coming? How do you ensure that such a burn-out does not happen to you again? I’ve enjoyed sharing my journey with you so much, that I don’t want it to end. The first stop on my journey was the rug in my study (remember, from Blog One?). My next stop goes a step further: the yoga mat.

  • Bente’s other blogs can be found here.

Photography Alexandre Godreau/