In 2012, after working with one of the most famous product and interior designers in the world for years, Felicienne Bloemers experienced an all-too-common thing. She gave herself completely to her job, it became all-consuming, and she burnt out. Now, seven years later, she reflects on what happened, how she de-stresses now, and what lead her to create her line of earth-friendly “soulmates,” the handbags of YiY, Your Inner You.
On losing yourself in your work
I really wanted to change things and make things better but after some years I wasn’t willing to admit that the environment and culture was less and less aligned with my values, limiting my capabilities, and I completely lost myself. Even to type a simple email, I couldn’t do it anymore, and every single word was twisted in my mind. I didn’t listen to any signs because I really, really wanted it to work. People that have great drive and a lot of passion are very susceptible to burnout. And that happened, and I hit a wall. I took my laptop, ran out and never came back.
On starting her healing process
How you heal yourself is a personal journey, and something you can only do yourself. It’s rough, but you have to go through it. It has to do with going a level deeper and digging into yourself and into your inner you. That process is revealing, and you will be able to see and meet yourself again. If you look back at the situation that caused the burnout, a bunch of factors go into the equation and some environments can be very infectious, but the trigger points for everyone are different. Becoming aware of that is part of the healing process. It is also easy to blame others, especially when you start. They play a role, but you have to see your part in it. To understand and admit that is part of the healing process.
On her personal journey
I got some really good advice from people that brought me to read the right books and try different things, so I opened up and just did that. What truly had a tremendous positive effect is when I started down the path of mindfulness, meditation and yoga. And my exploring brought me to practice the breathing exercise of Wim Hof “Iceman” on a daily basis which I find amazing. This path of connecting with Your Inner You is ongoing and has become a part of my life.
If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else. It sounds pretty selfish, but it’s not. If you can truly love and accept yourself, even the parts that are not so nice, if you can be forgiving for yourself, you can also be for others. And it almost sounds religious, and I’m so not religious, but it’s the truth of life, to live consciously. And if you can do that, you experience inner freedom. My motto became “live life consciously.”
On a new creative outlet
When I started working again in the creative industry, I felt the urge to create something myself, based on my values, something that could contribute to a better world. I believe that if everyone was really in touch with themselves, there would be no war, only love. People would be able to have emotions without totally identifying with them. So the brand had to be conscious, thoughtful, trying to combine the outer world (the physical product) with the inner world. And that’s how YiY came to be. Bags are the ideal product, they are a woman’s soulmate. I asked women about their ideal handbag, and found that the ability to personalise their bag was highly valued. That’s why YiY bags can be personalised with tokens from nature. These are always unique, just like you, and enable you to connect with (your) nature, with Your Inner You.
On letting go
I really liked my job, but the environment didn’t work for me. In my situation, I had two options of letting go: walking away or truly accepting the environment and culture as I wasn’t able to change it to work for me. I did neither. I identified myself with the thought that I could make it work for myself and the company and became a victim of something I created in my mind. The sooner you are aware of this, the earlier you have the choice of letting go, which is still not easy. You have to unconditionally accept the situation, let go and free yourself.
On living in the moment
The world is very much based on the idea that happiness is related to your ability of reaching goals. You always have to want something. Because the future is and has to be better. It’s always about the next thing. What are your plans? What is your ambition? Where do you want to go? I think those are not necessarily the right questions. Because it implies that where you are right now is always not good enough. Life is now, in each and every moment. To not only understand but experience and feel that, was and is a great lesson and gift. Enjoy the moment.
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Written by - Tara MacInnis