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Breaking the cycle of burnout

Do you find yourself feeling constantly exhausted, overwhelmed, and dissociated from things that you usually enjoy doing in your life?


A 2023 study by Sonder Insights found that 49% of people said that they were experiencing feelings of burnout and exhaustion. However, only 35% of those said that they had taken dedicated time off from work to look after their mental health. We are burning our candles at both ends without taking the time to care for ourselves.

A figure struggling to hold a boulder above their head, bearing the words "Overcoming Burnout"

 What does burnout look like?


Burnout can manifest in various forms, each presenting its own set of challenges and obstacles.


  • You feel drained and depleted, unable to muster the energy for everyday tasks, let alone extra responsibilities.

  • You find yourself withdrawing from the people in your life, becoming increasingly isolated, disconnected, and cynical.

  • Your productivity plummets as concentration wanes, leading to a decline in the quality of your work and personal life.


Where does burnout come from?


Burnout stems from prolonged exposure to stress and an imbalance between demands and resources. It's often rooted in a combination of personal and environmental factors:

  • Excessive workload and unrealistic expectations can overwhelm your ability to cope.

  • An addiction to perfection and internally holding yourself to unachievable standards.

  • Overcommitment and an inability to say no to things in your life causes a build-up in volume of unimportant things that you don’t connect with your purpose.

  • A lack of supportive relationships and therefore no safe outlet for feelings of frustration can leave you feeling isolated.


Burnout can also be closely linked to imposter syndrome. A study by Asana on the Anatomy of Work found that 70% of workers experience burnout and imposter syndrome, with 42% saying that they experience both simultaneously, showing a serious correlation between the two.


The impacts of burnout


The toll of burnout can seep into every aspect of your life. It affects your mental health, causing anxiety, depression, and a diminished sense of accomplishment.


Physically, burnout can lead to chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, and a weakened immune system. It can erode your relationships, making you irritable and less patient with loved ones. The constant stress and emotional drain can leave you feeling trapped in a cycle of exhaustion and disengagement.


Breaking the cycle through self mastery


You need to break this cycle. Start by acknowledging your burnout. Then detach - take a step back and assess the factors contributing to your stress and break them down into what is within your realm of control, and what is not.


Take note of how you are speaking to yourself internally. Your inner world drives your outer world. Your thoughts play out physiologically in your body, and then your actions manifest and create different scenarios for you in your outer world. The quality of your inner thoughts is crucial.


Make spiritual wellbeing a non-negotiable part of your routine. Engage in activities that rejuvenate your mind and body, such as exercise, meditation, and your personal hobbies.


Practice your “no”. Establish clear boundaries between work and personal time. Learn to decline additional responsibilities that overwhelm you and communicate your limits to others.


Remember that you are not defined by your feelings of exhaustion and burnout. Your inner world is reflected in your outer world. If you want to make a change in your outer world, start by nurturing your inner world.

PS - do you want to learn more about your self mastery skills and where you need to develop to overcome challenges in your life like burnout? Check out my FREE quiz here.

Measure your self mastery


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