I was born and raised in Prague, then Czechoslovakia. Since childhood, I have loved Nature. I was an eager field biologist and went on to study molecular biology, earning an M.Sc. from the Charles University in Prague and a Ph.D. from Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in New York. I worked as a university lecturer in human biology and environmental science, I was a consultant in renewable energies and assistant to a Senator in the Czech Republic, finally becoming the founder and director of a large international NGO with offices in Prague and Brussels. I enjoyed working hard, taking on difficult tasks and paving new roads. I received awards for my work.
But something was wrong. When I was 30, living with my husband and our small child, I had my first burnout. Scared, I turned for help to a medical professional. However, the treatment focused on the symptoms and did not touch the real causes. After about five years and some life changes, I gradually returned to my old pace again. And then, years later, the second burnout came. This time, I was alone, exhausted so much that I could not eat, walk or think, and afraid I was going to die.
For over ten years before my second burnout, I had been dealing with coming to terms with totalitarianism in Europe. I had become acquainted with many survivors and their personal stories and realised how trauma is handed down over generations. I learned that trauma is passed on to children on the epigenetic, familial, cultural and societal levels. I understood the connection between the healing of individuals and the healing of society. And I knew that I had to heal myself too.
My second burnout gave me the opportunity. Thanks to a number of wonderful people with wisdom and healing skills from different countries (Czech Republic, Ireland, USA, Greece, Germany, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Switzerland) who helped, guided, healed and taught me, I managed to travel the road back to full health and renewed energy in a self-directed way, taking one mindful step after another. I am grateful. It took me just over three years. After this experience, I believe I now understand where burnout comes from and what is needed to recover from it for good. Sitting down to write up how I recovered, I realised that it is a holistic burnout healing programme. Looking around, I am aware that burnout is becoming a serious issue and that my insight could be useful to others too.
When I was burnt out, I often wished I had somebody close by who understood what was happening to me and whom I could ask for support, recovery advice and tips whenever I needed. Today I am happy to be able to offer this service to those who need it the way I did then. I have created the ONLINE BURNOUT CLINIC in order to share what I have learned with you and to stand by your side as a mentor if you need it.
And so if you are feeling that you are burning out or you are burnt out, you need not be alone.
I am offering you help. I have been there and back before you. My message to you is: you can heal yourself too.
Dr Neela Winkelmann
your burnout healing mentor
I am not a medical doctor. My mentoring stems from first-hand experience and follows a natural, knowledge-based approach. If you feel your situation requires it, please do not hesitate to seek medical help. My mentoring can however also supplement medical treatment for burnout, should you be undergoing one.