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Paving a New Path When All Roads Lead to Burnout

Hi there!

I'm Meg.

A Well-being Life Coach for successful women who want to eliminate drain and burnout and figure out what they really love so they can create a life of purpose, meaning, and joy. I help women like you gain clarity, balance, peace, and confidence and create a more joyous life and optimal well-being.

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There was a time in my life where it felt like nothing I was doing was right. It wasn’t for lack of trying. It just felt like the demands of what was required from me were greater than my ability to meet them. Getting enough sleep, focusing on the most important task at hand, calming my nervous system, and getting out of a repetitive stress response. Those were my early days of mommyhood.

I learned what happens when you experience chronic stress for extended periods of time. It’s called burnout and the results are physical, mental, and emotional depletion.

You know that exhausted state when you feel disillusioned, overwhelmed, and eventually give up on trying to meet expectations? Those expectations may be your own or someone else’s. No matter where they come from, the result is the same: where you are and where you’d like to be seem miles and miles apart.

Sprinkle on top of that unkind messages you tell yourself like: “I’m not doing it right”, “I should be doing more”, and the real heartbreaker: “I’m not good at this”. All that leads to burnout plus guilt from falling short of expectations.

We can experience burnout that stems from personal life demands, like I did with early mom life, or professional life demands. Oftentimes we are told to “keep going” and “push through” as a response to exhaustion. You may have heard people jokingly say, “I can sleep when I’m dead”. But at what cost? Attempting to push through demanding daily responsibilities, you may find yourself giving up or abandoning your well-being because it is simply not a priority… and then the exhaustion hits.

The “human giver syndrome” highlights this dynamic. According to Amelia and Emily Nagoski, the authors of “Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle”, it is the belief that you are morally obligated to abandon any care for yourself in the effort to support others, even at the expense of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. In other words, it is “a cultural expectation that women will just give and give until they have nothing left,” says Amelia Nagoski.


Burnout for women became supercharged amidst the pandemic when we were tasked as the default caregivers and largely carried the load of juggling childcare and working from home or maintaining profession obligations.

In a 2021 LinkedIn survey, 74% of women said they are very or some-what stressed related to work reasons, while 61% of men respondents reported the same.

There simply weren’t enough hours in the day, or enough energy and emotional capacity, to meet the demands. Alas, the perfect conditions necessary for burnout.  

For many reasons women are still more likely to manage complex, emotional taxing responsibilities on an ongoing daily basis inside a global pandemic or not. Now in post pandemic times, many are still confronted with the effects of burnout.


To help respond to burnout, you must first pause and recognize and reflect on where you’re at… your current emotional and physical state. Only then will it be possible to sufficiently respond to burn out and begin to pave a new path for yourself. This invites you to view all the pressure, demands, and responsibilities that you carry with a lens of acceptance + inquiry + inspired action, empowering you to create balance and let go of impossible goals.

Recognize where you are right now.

This is where meditation and mindful awareness practices shine as supportive tools in our lives. When we regularly practice grounding exercises (such as yoga) and meditation, it makes pausing and noticing your current situation a default way of living. Then you are better able to face demands in the moment with the perspective of serving yourself and others with the highest good.

The most effective response to burnout is to S L O W  D O W N and ground. A quick body scan can help you tune in and recognize your current state and needs.

Keeping both feet on the ground, take 60 seconds to scan your body focusing on what is currently happening. You might notice temperature (warm, cool, or hot), sensation (heavy, light, soft or hard), movement (heartbeat, digestion, fidgeting), or something else. Sometimes you might not notice anything. Just approach the scan with innocence and curiosity.

If you have a few more minutes, bring awareness to specific body parts, beginning with your feet and toes. Notice what they feel like, if they are tense or relaxed. Then slowly travel your attention up to your knees pausing long enough to notice and soften into the area. Then continue this with the legs, belly, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, neck, face, top of head. Where do you notice the most sensations? What are they? Allow any sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts to arise, then dissolve, turning your awareness back to the breath.

Listening to the wisdom of your body and ask yourself: What do I need to bring into my life? What do I need to let go of? What does balance look like and feel like for me?

Reflect on your priorities.

Determine what balance means to you. Does it mean having an hour every morning dedicated to meditating and movement? Is it taking the time to prep a healthy lunch vs. eating on the run? Are there opportunities to negotiate childcare duties with your partner or another trusted adult? Could it look like a warm bath in the evening to smoothly transition to sleep at a reasonable hour?

Consider what is yours to hold on to – the tasks and responsibilities that must be completed by you – and what tasks, activities and emotional drain you can let go. What loads are you carrying for others that no longer serve you? Did they ask for (or want) your help? And if so, what is realistic for you to continue doing that won’t impair your well-being? Ideally, give to others when it gives you energy and shift away from giving to those who feel entitled. Set your boundaries and remember that you deserve to say no.

Decide what is most important while keeping your well-being at the top of the list. An important question to ask yourself is: How can I prioritize the activities and practices that create balance in my life?

Do your best to let your guard down and be vulnerable as you reflect. Bring kindness and compassion to yourself, just as you would to a friend who is going through something similar (she very well might be). Emotions will likely come up and journaling and talking about them in a safe space can help you move through them and release. Otherwise, connection with another trusted person – friend, family member, coach – is a powerful way to feel and heal emotions. If you have experienced significant trauma, then support from a therapist is recommended.

Get the support you need.

Anytime you are feeling the waves of burnout coming on, take some time to consider: Do I need to ask for support? Look at the various areas of your life where that could come from: work, home, family, neighbors, friends. Humans aren’t meant to do at it all alone. We are hardwired for connection. You deserve resources to help you.

After you have determined your main priorities and have a sense of what balance can look like for you, it is time to act on it. Expanding your perspective and getting creative with solutions will serve you well. What conditions must happen for you to have that hour to yourself each morning, or to take time for lunch, or have someone help with school drop off or pick up. How can you set up your evenings differently to have time for unwinding and a decent bedtime?

Small steps help.

Often, the support can come from the answer to this question: What can I do today to slow down and take care of myself? Support can look many ways, like:

  • Deep breaths
  • Short walk – grounding on the earth
  • A 20-second strong hug from a safe person
  • Take a bath
  • Have a nap
  • Read a book and have media-free evenings
  • Mindfully drink a cup of tea

There are endless opportunities here, but you are looking for nourishing responses that will infuse energy, not further deplete it.


Taking time for yourself can feel difficult when you are in the midst of the chaos of burnout. It may feel like you are digging yourself out of a deep hole. And although putting your feet up and zoning out to Netflix is tempting (and there can be a place for that too), self-awareness, creative solutions, and prioritizing your well-being will lead to easing your burden.

Think of it this way, you’ve been driving down the road to burnout for quite some time. You’re beginning to pave a new path and traveling the new route will take some time. Give yourself space and grace.

Ultimately it is a practice of continually referring back to what you are feeling, where you need support, and taking action towards that which will help you feel grounded today. As always, invite in kindness and compassion for yourself.

As with any new path in life, it takes time and practice to learn it. So above all else, meet yourself with gentleness and compassion as you travel down that new road. Trust me, you deserve it.

Hi there!

I'm Meg.

A Well-being Life Coach for successful women who want to eliminate drain and burnout and figure out what they really love so they can create a life of purpose, meaning, and joy. I help women like you gain clarity, balance, peace, and confidence and create a more joyous life and optimal well-being.

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