“BioCheck is one of the best things that happened to me in my life.”
One of the most unpleasant things that happened to her, burnout, was followed by one of the best things that happened to her in her life: participating in a BioCheck program. This is the story of 30-year-old Sevgi Yilmaz.
Sevgi Yilmaz’s life was turned upside down in early 2021, both personally and professionally. “In two months, so much happened,” says the Schiedam native, who in daily life works for the municipality of Rotterdam as an Expert on anti-racism and inclusion. “There were all kinds of family issues at play and I had just bought a house myself, because I was going to live on my own for the first time. In addition, I had just started a new job within the municipality, where it was very difficult for me to find my ‘own place’. In addition, we were in the middle of the corona pandemic, which caused a lot of stress. For the first time in my life I suffered from panic attacks.”
For about six weeks, Sevgi stopped working. After that, she was fine. She thought. “I didn’t take enough time to recuperate. Thought I should keep going, that it wasn’t that bad. I got that attitude from home. Limits don’t exist. And doing nothing doesn’t make you better. Looking back, I was still chronically tired when I went back to work. I developed a coping strategy so that I could deal with the pressure of work. Until I could no longer navigate around that workload.
I woke up one morning and all I could do was cry. I felt so empty. A few days later my nervous system couldn’t take it anymore. I was visiting my mother at the time. I could hear her and others talking, but it wasn’t coming in. I became dizzy, every stimulus was too much. That’s when I knew: this is wrong.”
Sevgi reported sick to her employer in April 2023 with burnout. The latter responded understandingly and supported her in her recovery from the first moment. Soon Sevgi went into therapy. “I talked to a psychologist. That worked, but after about three months I had discussed everything. The professionals, colleagues and friends said: get some rest. But I didn’t know what that meant. I was so used to being on all the time. In retrospect, I wouldn’t recommend people to follow this kind of therapy so early in your recovery process either. This is quite exhausting.”
A colleague friend put Sevgi on the trail of BioCheck. “My first reaction was: sports? I’m not going to do that! After all, I’m not athletic at all. On the other hand, I wanted to tackle anything that could make me better. I went into it anyway. Less than a week later I was sitting at BioCheck for an intake interview.”
The fears Sevgi had before starting her Recovery Program – Can I physically keep this up? Do I have enough perseverance? Will I even enjoy it? – all proved unfounded. “I gave my all for eighteen weeks from the end of July and exercised three times a week. Because I really liked it, but also because I quickly noticed that it helped. Moreover, all the education helps you know why you do what you do. That is nice. In addition, you get to know all kinds of other people who are in the same boat. I learned a lot from that. The vibes at BioCheck are just really chill. It felt like a kind of second home.”
Sevgi also especially benefited from the combination of psychological and physiological treatment. “That worked really well for me. Talking, getting moving and then doing breathing exercises. Psychologist Fabienne called me the queen of breathing exercises after my final assessment. She had never seen someone who was so serious about it. I really enjoy calming down that way. Partly because of that I can regulate my autonomic nervous system much better now. I even do the exercises when I’m sitting at home watching a series.”
In addition to physical progress, Sevgi also found herself as a human being. “I was told at the end of the program, ‘When you came in, we saw a Sevgi who had made herself very small. And now you have completely blossomed again.” I found that incredibly beautiful to hear. In addition, I notice that I am now recovering much better from an effort. It was very nice to be able to follow that progression through the app. And to be able to see that the measurements often confirmed my feelings.”
What Sevgi never thought possible is actually true: she has signed up for the gym and even enjoys working out. “I will continue working out with the app and the heart rate band. Because I know what I am doing and why it is important, I also find it much more fun to exercise. In addition, of course I will continue to do the breathing exercises, because they give me so much peace of mind. You know what it is? I just want to go through life chill and not feel constantly on.”
Sevgi is slowly rebuilding her number of work hours. “I learned from last time and want to avoid starting too soon. With everything I learned at BioCheck, I’m much better at setting my limits now. That’s going to help me avoid another burnout. That burnout was one of the most annoying things I experienced in my life. But without that burnout, I never would have ended up at Biocheck. And I never would have learned so much about myself. Without exaggerating, BioCheck is one of the best things that has happened to me in life.”