Customized Contacts

Working on yourself has consequences for you and your contacts. You look for a form of contact, that is good for your recovery. You could call that customized contact. Contact the way you want it and that suits with the start of a burn out.


To do this, you could start categorizing the contacts. For example:

  • Work
  • Family
  • Neighbours
  • Friends/sports
  • social media
  • etc.

Determine, per category, what the right contact is for your recovery. Whom do you get energy from? And whom less? You should be strict about this, especially in the beginning. Being strict now will provide room for recovery later. 


During the recovery, this contact will shift. People you don’t see now can suddenly become important and vice versa. 


It is therefore not a fixed group of people, but a group that varies in composition and intensity.


Own experience

Through trial and error, I started rearranging my contacts. I got a better understanding of my needs and therefore I minimized or stopped some contacts. Especially if it delayed my recovery. Other contacts got better, because they gave me energy. I also gained new contacts and some contacts, that were on the back burner, suddenly became important. 


Because I am (was.) a pleaser, I was very concerned with what others did or did not think. So, I found it quite difficult to attune my environment to the new situation. The realization that I was no longer automatically available to everyone was strange, but also a scam.


The irony of the story was that most people accepted that quickly. So, all that running for others turned out not to have been necessary.


I hope you dare to step into this sooner than I did. Stop social media, stop pleasing, stop listening to others, stop being the Mr nice guy. 


But listen to yourself and determine which people promote your recovery.


What is positive?

By re-tuning the environment, you find yourself distinguishing between what works and what doesn’t work for you. You’re cleaning up. Which contacts: do you want to keep, do you have to change, do you want to stop, and which people would you like to have better contact with.


You will also make new contacts. People who understand your recovery. Sometimes you come across those contacts in places you never thought of. Then that silent colleague suddenly turns out to be super nice, the woman in the mail room has also had a burn out and the shouters within your organization turn out not to be that nice at all. 


In short, by customizing your contacts, you get an adjustment of your contacts, an environment that suits you better.



1.   Make sure you have contact the way you want. Not only with whom, but also how often you meet them. Every week can be too much. But maybe once in 4 weeks is doable.

2.   The social pressure to make appointments, which you don’t feel like, can be great and very taxing. Prepare for that and try to resist this

3.   All those contacts on social media, wonder if it contributes to your recovery and if not, limit the media use.

4.   Sometimes you must be hard on others to protect yourself. So, the moment you choose for yourself, it sometimes means that the other person can get hurt. Unfortunately, that cannot be prevented.

5.   You may meet other people on this path, be open to them.


Don’t give up!!

I found it difficult to match the environment in the beginning. As an accomplished pleaser, I was mainly concerned with others. 


I started by muting my app’s /Facebook/email messages etc and then also deleting the more active contacts. With the message: “I’m overworked, so now I’m thinking about myself by leaving this group” I stopped a lot of contacts. In the end I only had contacts with people very close to me and I still do.


In my “real” environment, I also used this argument: “I’m overworked, so now I’m thinking about myself by: – not coming to the birthday, – not celebrating the holidays, – not going with…. etc. It only took 3 weeks before my environment was aware and knew that I was not participating (for a while).


So, in the beginning it is quite exciting, but give it a try. You will notice that it is great!!


The new contacts, that took me a while. I didn’t want much contact, especially in the beginning. Only when I returned to work, I got in touch with colleagues who also had a burn out. I liked that and I still look them up. 


In time you will also meet these people. At work, sports, the neighbour, etc. For sure!!