3 Mindset Shifts to Avoid Burnout

We all struggle to try to do it all.

Clean the house, pay bills, cook dinner.
Meet deadlines, drink 12 cups of water a day, keep everyone happy.
Go to the gym, prepare for the big presentation, call the plumber. 

Talk about feeling overwhelmed.

But you know what? You don't have to do it all.

In Shonda Rhimes' Year of Yes, she confirmed something that we intuitively know but refuse to accept:

No one can do it all

Trying to do it all will only leave you:

  • stressed
  • tired
  • forgetful
  • scattered
  • and emotionally drained

In other words - burnout. 

What can we do instead?

We will get to that in a minute. But first...

You need the right frame of mind

You know clichés? They get overused because many of them are true.

In her book Dare to Lead, Brené Brown said

I ultimately worked the AA program for a year, and let me just tell you, all the slogans are true... and if you live by them, they will rock your world.

Among them:

  • Wherever you go, there you are.
  • You're only as sick as your secrets.
  • Easy does it.
  • One day at a time.
  • Live and let live.

The point is, don't discount something just because you've heard of it before. Instead, ask yourself:

How I can make this work for me?

Here are 3 subtle mindset shifts that allow you to step back and give yourself space. 

1: Slow down

I know, easier said than done.

These days, even instant gratification takes too long. You feel like you’re racing through your life instead of actually living it.

Carl Honore, author of In Praise of Slowness, describes it best:

The world has become a giant buffet of things to do, consume, experience – and we rush to have it all.1

During her time at the White House, Michelle Obama moved at such a breakneck pace that she forgot whole countries she visited, literally whole countries.

It wasn't until she moved out of the White House that she got to reflect, over a slice of toast that she made for herself:

It’s that quiet moment of me settling into this new life. Having time to think about what had just happened over the last eight years. Because what I came to realize is that there was absolutely no time to reflect in the White House. We moved at such a breakneck pace from the moment we walked in those doors until the moment we left.

Slowing down is a conscious choice.

It allows us to reflect on the big questions: Who am I? What is my purpose? What sort of life should I be leading? How can I make the world a better place? Such questions can be uncomfortable but confronting them ultimately brings greater depth to our lives.

Slowing down leads to a greater appreciation for life and a greater level of happiness.

And it starts with compassion: for where you’ve been, how far you’ve come, and for the dream of where you hope to be.

It's ok to slow down.

And if you find yourself attracted to the idea of "bedtime story in 30 seconds or less", my friend, the time to slow down is now.

2: Do less

Be choosy about what you say Yes to.

Every time you say yes, you're saying no to something else.

Let's say you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner. 

Are you gonna do it all, or are you gonna do less.

If you're doing less, what can you say no to?

Your answer will be different from mine.

I'm perfectly happy to open a can of cranberry sauce, dump it into a bowl and serve - I'm saying no to making cranberry sauce.

You, on the other hand, may take pride in your best ever cranberry sauce. You enjoy the process of making it (all the power to you!).

Homemade cranberry sauce is a "Hell YES!" for you.

Don't let others shame you into saying yes or no.

Look inward to see what gives you strength and energy.

Say Yes to empowerment. Never guilt.

3: Prioritize in the moment

Some call it setting intention.

I call it radical prioritization.

Martha Stewart said:

There’s no such things as balance. The key is prioritization in the moment.

Radically prioritize your day, your week, month, and year. 

I'm a list maker. I write down a list of things for tomorrow the night before. And then I put a star next to the one thing that must be done. That's the one I do first thing in the morning.

Do I get that one task done all the time?


I can check that box most days but not every day.

It's a practice.

Give yourself grace.

Understand the season of your life and what is most important to you now.

It's a process.

There's no right or wrong choices, just one that's good enough, at this moment.

No one can do it all

Remember: No one can do it all.

  1. Slow down
  2. Do less
  3. Prioritize at the moment

Give yourself permission to make yourself a priority.


Now it's your turn

Have you ever experienced burnout? What helps you replenish? I would love to hear from you - leave me a comment.

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