December 25, 2018 was the day I realized I had been lied to...

You see, I was a registered nurse and had been working in many different Intensive Care Units (ICU’s) for both adults and children since 2012. Early on in my career I noticed the majority of the reasons why adults found themselves in the ICU were because of illnesses and diseases that could be linked to chronic stress.

I decided to get out of the reactive side of medicine in 2015 and started growing a business to help people better manage their stress.

I dove into learning all the strategies the research suggested were most effective:

  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Yoga
  • Journaling
  • Self-care habits
  • Somatic release

You name it, I researched it and trained in it and learned how to teach it.

I grew my business for a few years and I was really making a difference in helping people process their stress.

Until one day when everything changed...

Of course, I was also practicing what I was teaching but then on the morning of December 25, 2018 I felt terrible…and it showed. The Charge Nurse looked me in the eye at the end of my night shift and said “You don’t look well. Go home and take care of yourself. I’ll mark you down as sick for your next few shifts.”

I went home, and slept for 20 hours. And then slept for 20 hours the next day, and the day after that. It started me down this 2 year journey of surgeries, many medical tests, and lots of scary diagnoses being tossed out there as possibilities before I officially became the proud owner of a chronic illness and permanent disability that changed nearly every aspect of my life forever.

I had burnt out EPICALLY despite doing “everything right” according to the research and I. Was. Angry.

I felt lied to because, according to the research, I was taking care of myself and was managing my stress – so I shouldn’t have burnt out this hard (if at all). The struggle to reconcile the loss of who I was, and the life I thought I would be living …well…the struggle wasn’t pretty.

The truth is, I had lost trust in the strategies that I was teaching along with my health and my identity that was so tied up in my work as an ICU RN.

But everything shifted for me when I discovered the Truth About Burnout and how to prevent it.

The truth about burnout prevention is that you have to look beyond symptom management.

Here’s what I mean: 

Imagine that you’re sitting in a boat, full of holes and you’re bailing yourself out with a bucket. Meditation, mindfulness, yoga, journaling, self-care, somatics – those things all help make your bucket bigger so you’re able to bail yourself out faster. 

But the truth is, there are still holes in your boat and the water is still leaking in. 

Focusing only on symptom management does absolutely nothing to change, stop or slow the flow of stress that comes into our lives on a daily basis. Despite how well we’re doing those symptom managing self-care strategies that help make our bucket more effective at bailing ourselves out, eventually our burnout lifejacket has to catch us to prevent us from sinking all the way.

Learning how to change, stop or slow the flow of stress in our lives is where we really need to focus when we’re trying to prevent the pattern of burnout from coming back and wreaking havoc on our physical, mental and emotional wellness.

This is where the Flow State Framework comes in to give you a path forward to plug up as many of the holes in your boat as you can. 

Focusing first on Recovering enough of your mental, physical, emotional and fulfillment energies to get you back up to the point where you think you could start to make some changes is key.

We have to allow ourselves time to get out of burnout – because when you’re burnt out, you are truly in deep, deep survival mode. 

Once that settles, now we can start to slowly, efficiently and effectively Optimize your routines and habits to make it easier for you to live your life and keep up with your responsibilities. Here’s where we’re able to start looking at the various holes in your boat to see if all of your responsibilities are necessary, in alignment with your values and what you want for your life, and if you in fact are the best person to do that certain task.

After all of that is sorted and you feel in control and in alignment with your life, now you’re ready to Elevate your impact and leave a legacy in your corner of the world that you’re truly proud of. 

I have helped hundreds of people through this journey in the past five years and I look forward to watching your healing journey as well.

Ready to get started?

Listen to the Inner Stillness Outer Chaos Podcast

I share openly and freely of how I continue to move forward with my own traumatized nervous system, anxiety, OCD, disability and all the complexity of living as a highly sensitive person in a world that’s scared to feel. So, grab a cozy blanket, maybe a cup of your favorite tea, and here’s to embracing the chaos, creating our calm, and discovering the magic in between.

Creating Calm App

With 15-minute yoga classes, 60-second guided meditations, digital self-care packages and more, you’ll be able to start creating calm in your day-to-day life without needing to carve out a ton of time. Small shifts will be much more successful than large changes, especially if you’re working with a dysregulated nervous system.

One-On-One Support

Life as a highly sensitive high achiever can be lonely, especially while you’re on your burnout recovery journey. It’s hard when you’re the rock for everyone else, but have no idea who you can lean on when you’re the one needing help. Let’s regulate your nervous system so you can feel like yourself again.

Why'd I change my name to Avery?

Pull up a chair... it's a bit of a story.

The truth is I’ve never really felt like a Heather, but then I know it’s normal to not always like your name.

Over the course of my life, I’ve walked through a lot of struggle and trauma which changed me over time. This gradual change is something that I think we can all relate to and is just a part of the human experience.

However, on December 25, 2018 I experienced a massive change in my life that happened literally overnight. I was working 12 hour shift work in a pediatric ICU and I was coming off the night shift and I remember the Charge Nurse coming up to me and saying “Heather, you really don’t look good. I’m going to mark you down as sick tonight. Feel better!”

I went home and slept for 20 hours straight.


And I did that the next day.


And the day after that.


After nearly a year of painful medical procedures, surgery to remove a thyroid mass and half my thyroid, and multiple specialists investigations and tests, it was determined that I was now the proud owner of a chronic illness and permanent disability known as Myalgic Encephalomylitis. (I call this part of me Emmy – get it? M.E. Emmy? I thought I was clever)

I worked hard for nearly three years to get back to some form of normal, and in September 2021 I realized that was never going to happen.

I was no longer Heather.

I was no longer a Registered Nurse capable of working in an ICU.

I was no longer able to be as active as I was used to being.

I was no longer the weight I was used to being.

I was no longer the person I was used to being.

I realized I was no longer at home in my body.

I wasn’t connected to my previous identity at all and it was causing some strong PTSD dreams, intrusive thoughts and anxiety.

So after talking about it with my husband and my therapist, I decided to change my name and spend days looking on baby name blogs until I found the name Avery.

It was strange at first to start referring to myself as Avery, when I had been Heather for 37 years – but now that I’ve had time for it to settle in – my goodness it’s a beautiful thing to feel at home in my body again!

To feel connected to who I am.

To start fresh, learn new habits and strategies rather than try and fit what I’m capable of now into the mold of what I used to be able to do.

So if you’ve made it this far, thank you for being a part of my journey. It’s lovely to have you in my corner.

Much love,
Avery

Ready to get your energy back?

Listen to The Truth About Burnout Podcast

You already know that you need to take care of yourself, so we don’t waste time trying to convince you of that. On the Truth About Burnout podcast we share real life stories as well as cover the real truths about burnout, what causes it, and how you can prevent it.

Creating Calm App

With 15-minute yoga classes, 60-second guided meditations, digital self-care packages and more, you’ll be able to start creating calm in your day-to-day life without needing to carve out a ton of time. Small shifts will be much more successful than large changes, especially if you’re working with a dysregulated nervous system.

One-On-One Support

Life as a highly sensitive high achiever can be lonely, especially while you’re on your burnout recovery journey. It’s hard when you’re the rock for everyone else, but have no idea who you can lean on when you’re the one needing help. Let’s regulate your nervous system so you can feel like yourself again.