Checking out of burn-out town



Good news!!! 

Today some joy crept in…

Like a beaming ray of warm sunlight seeping through a crack in the blinds,

an unexpected burst of sparkle, a wicked smile spread across my dial… I double checked to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. 

Nope no dull gnawing ache of anxiety in the pit of my stomach.

What a nice f*cking change.

My shoulders relaxed down a notch, I took a slow deep breath in and out, and savoured the moment. 

This was a very good sign. 

I put a lot of pressure on myself last year, ran a (metaphorical) marathon that I never asked to run.

It was one of those bite off more than you can chew and then chew like f*ck years.  Luckily, I have a highly developed stubborn streak… if there’s one thing I hate doing, it’s giving up.

Last year’s marathon-O-life took a toll but it didn’t break me.

There were some excruciatingly hard lessons, balanced out by loyalty (and love) like I have never known, plenty of belly laughs amongst the battlefields, and probs too much wine (but hey the blood test results aren’t back yet so there’s no proof)

Like re-runs of Sex in the City, some old life lessons popped back in to see if I would fall for them again… don’t you love it when that happens NOT! 

I survived some unexpected low body-blows and kicks in the goolies, but also received some very special high-fives, and big hugs to keep me going along the way.

I learned lots of new tricks.

Found out that I’m pretty bloody resilient.

Was reminded of the importance of trusting my gut. 

Come the festive season, I dragged what was left of me over the finish line, proud of my achievements but with bugger all left in the tank.

If I was Carlos (my laptop)… a big flashing light would have been dancing all over my screen: 

RED ALERT!!! your battery is low you d*ckhead, if you do not plug yourself into a powerpoint RIGHT NOW now then it’s all going to come crashing down.


Seems I had taken a detour to Burn-out Town. One of the many things that my longstanding dance with depression and anxiety has taught me is that I need to be extremely vigilant around protecting my mental health.  Once you know what coming back from that dark place takes, it is not something that you take for granted ever again. 

So when you hit the burn out zone, when joy leaves the building, and all that’s left is a hollow shell of your usual exuberant self…  you take that sh*t very seriously. 

You know that it’s time to factor in some extreme self-care - pronto! 

Time to turn technology off, to just be still and quiet and gentle on my burnt out self. 

2 weeks, lots of laughs, hugs, long walks in the sunshine, some quality time with #frangipanijoe … hardly any social media or outside world action, one set of blue toenails (WTF was I thinking!),


(apologies… it’s been a while… I have NO idea how to shrink this bloody picture!)

heaps of good food (and Netflix) later, and I can feel myself slowly emerging from my chickie cocoon back on out into the sunshine. AAAAAAAHHHH!

I know that little by little, that tiny crack will open up into a big wide beam of light. 

It feels so good to be back and starting to feel ready to get out amongst it again. 

If last year was a doozy for you too.  If you disco danced a little close to your edges, made comfort zone stretching an extreme sport, stepped out bravely into the unknown and faced the stone throwers. If the mind fog is only just starting to clear, if those warm rays of sunshine are filtering in through the cracks onto your quiet recharging face now too…

Soak up that warmth sister!!! 

Feel yourself start to come back to life.

Kudos for being smart enough to invest in your most precious asset: you.

Welcome back. 

I hope you are proud of all that you made it through last year. That you learned lots too. 

Maybe you didn’t burn out last year, maybe you made a big life choice or decision and now you’re standing here raw and vulnerable – scared shitless but determined AF to keep going anyway. 

No matter what your flavour, as we head on into a fresh January, I hope that you know that you don’t have to buy into the bullsh*t “new year new you” shame-based crap that always seems to get peddled around the interwebbies this time of year… ugh. 

You are already enough… we all are.

I noticed a few different versions of the same perfect mantra floating around insta the other day… 

You are being presented with two choices:

repeat or evolve? 

 BOOM!!! Perfect timing.

 As I step on into this brand new shiny year, as I navigate the twists and turns… when those choices come to play… it’s evolve for me, every single time. I’m going to give it my best shot!

I just want to live a great big happy messy life. To me that means:

learning, growing… and appreciating.

being curious, asking questions

following my heart and gut


simplicity wherever possible

finding new and fun ways to keep making the small daily choices that I need to make in order to keep moving the f*ck forward. 

If you’ve been around smile chickie a while, you’ll already know that I am no guru, no ‘expert’ I am just a chick road testing the f*ck out of her life. Doing the best job I know how and learning as I go. I write about my experiences, and the questions that I ask myself along the way. I share and sell the same tools that I use to keep me going, in the hope that they might help others too. 


A community of chickie cheerleaders (unstoppable chicks) - Doors re-open Feb 4.

Simple, beautiful reminders (with hidden powerful messages) to ourselves to keep the f*ck going, in the way that works for us. 

Smile chickie tools have been created to help find the courage to keep going after big gutsy moves or milestone moments in our lives. To remind us that we are braver than we think. That we’ve totally got what it takes. That there is magic in the mess, and those rays of sunshine and unexpected sparkles of joy and hope might not always be there but they’re worth striving for when they’ve gone AWOL. 

If there’s one thing that building smile chickie has taught me, it’s that doing the hard work that it takes is always more fun when you surround yourself with like-minded people. The more the merrier! 

So it’s time to pack my bags and head to comeback town. The sun’s out, I can hear laughter in the distance, and I really need to get this blue crap off my toes!

Cheers to doing lots of evolving this year, Carlos is up for it… what about you?





Sue Muller