The burnout process - the way out of the black hole

Klára Lidová is a dancer and choreographer who studies, among other things, psychosomatic influences on the functioning of the body. In this article she describes her journey of coping with her own emotions, which often led up and down through pain and burnout. How did she learn to listen to her body?

#for fellow artists 7 minutes

You know that feeling when you search for answers to your questions until you accept that your answer probably doesn't exist? And then chance throws a person in your path who answers everything without you even asking? Who starts talking about their experiences and thought processes and describes your own thoughts exactly? 

With honesty and humanity, Klára opens a subject that is not often talked about, yet probably all of us experience it at some point in our lives. The moment when we feel we can't go on mentally and physically. How to process these feelings and how to find the way out of the black pit of negative emotions?

Deafness to your own body

Dancers have a tendency to go beyond their physical limits.

I think a lot of dancers and performers do. On one hand, they are incredibly aware of their body and live that body-mind concept in practice, and on the other hand, they are completely deaf to the needs of their body. They are much more disconnected from their body and more insensitive to it than non-dancers.

n a way, dancers are quite difficult to work with for therapists or rehabilitation doctors because we are masters of camouflage. We give the illusion of feeling and respecting our bodies at first impression, and then it turns out that it's not quite like that.

We have a certain deafness. During training we are used to pushing boundaries, to overcoming pain, but it is always a warning sign. It's easy to stop listening to these warning signals from the body.

Then, sooner or later, a problem comes.


Our body gradually renews and changes. On a mental, but also on a physical, cellular level.

We go through certain transformation cycles in our lives where we have the opportunity to completely change our thinking, our functioning and our vision of the future. These transformations can be smooth and gentle, but also very violent. That is what happens when we don't listen to the warning signs, and we don't realize that we are falling into the abyss until it's too late.

It’s necessary to work with that and realize what I can do to make sure that the transformation process doesn't lead through a complete breakdown next time.

Periodic burnout

If we don't listen to our bodies, one day we will run out of energy. A crash will come.

It's strange that I've noticed such a periodic transformation in myself roughly every six years. Unfortunately, in the first cases it was through a total physical collapse because I didn't know how to listen to my body. This is also because I was trained by the Russian school of "No pain, no gain." To absolutely disrespect the limits of fatigue, pain, and personal limits.

If my body doesn't work, then nothing in my life works because all of my profession and joy comes from movement, so it makes me break down completely.

And when that happened to me for the third time, I started noticing, "Oh, there's about six years." So I started asking myself how to do this so I wouldn't have to be forced to change by circumstances and total collapse.

The cell replacement cycle

It's interesting that it takes about seven years for all cells in the human body to be completely replaced.

Skin cells have a cycle of three weeks, liver cells much longer, and then there are the connective structures, which have a complete replacement cycle of about seven years. So I can confirm from my own experience what the old Chinese and Ayurvedic teachings claimed, namely that a person can completely transform into a new being every seven years.

Muscles and cells have a certain memory. That is where our past traumas are stored and sometimes they actually need to be renewed and replaced with new ones. Actually, it always starts working again when I decompose, and reassemble in a different way.

I can confirm that I have been reborn several times.

Klára Lidová - tanečnice a choreografka

A change of mindset

For me it usually turned out there really had to be a shift in the mental field first. To say to myself in a disciplined way, "Okay, I'm not going to think that way anymore."

For about two months, I’m not very successful, but by the third month I see that I'm able to recognize the thought and put the brakes on it before it snowballs into a giant black ball.

When it led through immense pain, mental and physical breakdown, it wasn't quite the right path.

I feel like I'm learning to transform more through beauty, and more importantly, sharing.

Separation leads to a sense of isolation, which leads to more pain. But it can be done through sharing and opening up to others. For a very long time, when it came to my transformations, my brain commanded, "Build barricades and armor." But then my heart didn't have a chance to breathe at all.

It was important for me to realize that I could say, "I thank my mind, for these negative scenarios, it's perfect to be prepared, but you can be silent now and we can leave it to the heart."

And the heart will come with its energy of trust.

Forgiveness and acceptance

I had to forgive myself, relax and find trust in myself, in life, in my body and in the people around me again.

Before, when I was exhausted, I used to run away from shadow emotions in Jungian terms. I always felt that the evolution of my heart and my soul would be about me getting over it one day, being perfect and it wouldn't affect me anymore. But I realized that was a completely utopian vision. The shadows will always be there, and even if I “overcome” the shadow, it will catch up with me again in a year, because our journey is not about becoming a perfect person.

Yes, I am angry at times, I am impatient at times, I am unkind at times. And you have to accept that and say, "Yeah, and I'm entitled to that." Everyone has shadows.

How to get out of the big black hole?

Through trust and acceptance.

When you get into a cycle of negative thoughts, it's hard. I've been thinking about this a lot lately and have come to the conclusion that the only way out, the only way to make a lasting change and not just a new start in the same cycle of chasing happiness, is through acceptance of everything negative, even the negative tendencies in your personality.

Give yourself the space to be sad at times, to feel emotions that don't make sense.

Sometimes the biggest step forward is to stand still. Staying where you are, because it allows you to step out of the vicious circle and look around to see where the path actually leads.

Calming down

I used to chase experiences, but it has become exhausting.

I don't like numbers or age categories, but at some point of life at a young age it's natural to seek out wow effects and experiences. Those are what fills one's life and makes it diverse. Why do I want to travel - because I want to experience the wow. We seek the adrenaline rush.

And that's a perfectly natural energy, but I've found, for example, that what used to push me exhausts me now in my 40s. I don't need so much wow in my life now, I'm looking for continuity.

My mom is an incredible inspiration to me. She's in her seventies and mentally and physically she doesn't look her age at all. She's a walking sun with open arms and can talk to both the queen and a homeless man.

But I remember her in my childhood as very strict, sometimes even hysterical, drill mom. So I asked her: "Mommy, when did you calm down, when did you get that confidence in life that everything would go right? That no matter what, you're going to make it through life somehow?" 

And she said it came for her after she turned 40, and then after she turned 50, there was even more peace.

It's perfectly natural to experience more dramatic swings, especially at a younger age. Every soul has a rhythm of transformation and maturation. We don't have to push ourselves, our higher self will guide us through these transformations. It's all just part of a colorful puzzle.

We need to trust the process.



About the author

Tereza Adamusová
Tereza Adamusová

She has been on the artistic scene since 2010. She has taught juggling and performed with the group T.E.T.R.I.S. As a performer, she has been in several major productions and has performed in hundreds of shows around the world. Since childhood, she has been doing gymnastics and acrobatic synchronized swimming. As a dancer and actress she has performed in Czech musicals. She co-owns the Aliatrix agency and as creative director, she is also the main producer of all major projects.

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