Remembering Your Why: Managing Burnout


My natural state is cyclical. I am an up-down, back-forth, person. Make progress, sit still. Make progress, stumble. Stay the course, lose ground. Make progress… repeat.

During these cycles, it is common for me to reach a point of exhaustion where rest is required. I’m not there yet. I haven’t hit full burnout (as in bodily breakdown) like I have in the past. I generally pay pretty close attention to the signs in my body, and what my inner dialogue is. I know exactly when I’m reaching maximum output and overload.

These are MY signs (and what they look or sound like):

DREAD / AVOIDANCE – Sounds like: “Do I have to?” or “Ugh, why am I doing this?” or TOTAL procrastination.

FATIGUE / EXHAUSTION – Trouble getting out of bed in the morning, falling asleep the minute my head hits the pillow OR getting dozey while driving… that’s a big cue. (Need more good quality sleep.)

NEGATIVITY / CYNACISM / CRITICISM – picking myself apart, judging my performance or my output harshly, criticizing self OR OTHERS, anxious, worrying, frustrated, impatient, anger – all of these are signs of exhaustion and lack of clarity for me.

COMPLACENCY / APATHY “Meh.” or “Who cares?” or “I’ll get to it when I get to it?” OR “I can’t remember why this is important to me.”

And here’s what I do about it:

SLEEP – more, better, deeper. TV off. iPhone off. A good book always brings on the zzzz’s.

SEEK PLEASURE – bubble baths and Epsom salt soaks, laughter, movies, snuggles, sex, walks in the trees, healthy meals, lunch with friends, reading.

WRITE – make time to empty the rational, logical, overthinking, judgemental, critical part of my thought processes so I can connect with inspiration, joy, creativity and my God (or Spirit, wisdom, Universe, Love, Divine Essence, Allah.)

SCHEDULE IN THE THINGS THAT MATTER MOST TO MY WELLNESS – good food, writing, walking, connecting in relationships, spending quality time honouring myself.


When my alarm for the gym goes at 5:25am and I can’t remember WHY I think this is something I should be doing, I know it’s time to deeply and genuinely connect with my ‘Why?‘.

When I’m in a meeting and I am impatient and intolerant with someone else’s habits or plan or focus, it’s time to get clear on WHY I am there.

When I find myself irritated, angry, critical or cynical in meetings or in traffic or with my family – I know that it’s time to reconnect with my WHY.

Simon Sinek (Start With Why) talks about the importance of knowing WHY you do what you do. Not what am I doing, and not how am I going to do this but why do I want what I want? My Why drives everything. It’s about intention, clarity and knowing exactly how I want to feel.

The WHY behind what I am doing is the most critical part of staying committed and dedicated. When I feel myself working towards exhaustion, I know I have most certainly lost sight of why I’m doing something because I am operating from a place of depletion.

What is my WHY that governs my behaviour and commitment to relationships?
What is my WHY that guides my work ethic and creativity?
What is my WHY that directs my dedication to movement and optimal wellness?

Why? works to keep me (easily) engaged, focused and on track?

If you’re a goal setter and achiever, what works for you?


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