Episode 83

Frankly About Work-Life Balance, Burnout, and Self-Care with Petra, the founder of MF podcast

Petra returns to the podcast and sits in the hot seat as an episode guest whilst Eva asks the questions. As a founder of the Mastering Finland Podcast, Petra has experienced many of the challenges that internationals usually face in Finland. But what’s more, she has brought many stories of international overcoming these challenges to the ears of our listeners.

Over the summer of 2022, Petra took some time out from the Mastering Finland Podcast. Thankfully, Petra has remained committed to keeping the podcast going even though she stepped back from day to day involvement that Eva took over (she is the guest on Episode 82, check it out if you haven’t already!).

And Eva begins this episode in a truly Finnish way by asking directly: ‘Where were you?’

Petra answers with a similar Finnish frankness by talking directly about burnout, immense workloads, her mental health, and depression and anxiety. Many of us have experienced our lives in Finland being very finely balanced from knowing what to wear to how much daylight there might be each day to filling in the right forms at the right time. But Petra’s daily life was affected by taking on a new job with a non-Finnish company. She felt as if having to do seven jobs on top of some of the complexities that non-Finnish companies face doing business in the country.

Petra began to realise the impact of this overloading when mental stress started to trigger physical reactions in her body. Petra then explains how she joined a peer support group in Helsinki who helped her and suggested seeking medical support from a doctor. Petra credits this advice with helping her realise just how severe things had become and also with keeping her out of hospital.

Around the same time, the organisation had to make Petra unemployed due to their finances. A blessing in its own way, Petra didn’t have to deal with that much workload and she became eligible for unemployment support. This gave her an opportunity to take time off and switch the gears.

Petra is now back to work at a different company where she has supportive colleagues and leardership around her. But she is still very much on her own path to recovering her energy and mental health, learning to look after herself today and her future self tomorrow — and, of course, to ‘Mastering Finland’.

As our every episode ends with a few tips from the guest, Petra stays true to the tradition. She suggests listeners keeping a record of how you are feeling, having a hobby, and getting out of the house once a day —  if you can.  If something becomes too much of a commitment, then don’t be afraid to step back and look after yourself.  Maybe go to a spa or something nice like that. Tune in to learn other tips and remember that you are not alone!