21 virtues

How To Avoid Burnout In Your Life And Find Balance

Are you burned out? Do you want to learn how to avoid burnout. Ask yourself this; do you feel yourself drifting from thought to thought, unable to focus on the task at hand? The lack of energy and motivation is keeping you from giving your best, whether in your personal life or at the workplace. The constant stream of negative thoughts keeps spiraling you into chaos, away from good health and toward anxiety and depression. You feel isolated and out of sync with your spirit, and it seems like there’s nothing you can do about it. Or can you?

What Is Burnout and Why You Need To Be Aware

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Burnout is a “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. It results in feelings of exhaustion, causes mental fatigue, and reduces our efficiency. According to a report by Indeed, 52% of all workers experience burnout while studies show that Burned-Out employees are 23% more likely to visit the emergency room. If left unchecked, Burnout can cause other more severe issues like Depression and Anxiety.
 John Brocas, a Spiritual mentor who works with high-level executives and leaders from all walks of life recently shared his thoughts on his podcast “Awareness and Action (now 21 Virtues)” about how you can “avoid burnout in your life and get balance

In the video, he essentially answers the following questions:

– What is Burnout?
– How does it affect you?
– What you can do about it?
– How do you become aware of it?

Always Aware, But Never Mindful

According to John, we’re always aware that working too hard might lead to burnout. He shares a funny anecdote about how his wife always tells him to take breaks and to relax. “Even during his breaks, his brain seems to be in work mode, as John says”. This is a subconscious task that we are involved in even when we are doing non-work-related tasks. Be it scrolling through Facebook or going down the rabbit hole on YouTube, we keep on overwhelming our brain with so much information that it essentially is unable to store and process.

We start feeling “tired” and “demotivated”, as John recalls from his personal experience. The biggest consequence, however, is the inability to memorize or recall things for future reference.

Death By Overwork – The Concept OF “Karoshi” 

John explains a Japanese saying called “Karoshi” which literally translates to “Overwork Death”. We are very much focused on doing anything to break even, but rather disjointed mentally when it comes to giving our mind space to work with.

In the relentless pursuit of our goals, we fail to prioritize our health. Over time, that work-hard-take-no-break mindset becomes a detriment to our health. We need to go through a mindset shift which John summarizes as “work smarter, not harder”.

He puts emphasis on how driven by the goal, we tend to say “yes” to every opportunity that comes up without realizing the possible side effects it might have on our health. To get over this, we have to embrace a different mindset. A mindset that prioritizes mental well-being and makes room for other activities. In other words, we have to start saying “No”.


Coming back to the podcast, John recalls one of his students’ experiences of Burnout. This particular student wanted to serve a greater purpose. John explains it by saying there’s a difference between serving a greater purpose and “killing yourself while doing so”.

All human beings have the urge to make an impact and serve people, but it should never be to the detriment of our personal well-being. Burnout doesn’t just harm our well-being. It also damages our relationships with friends and family.

By overworking, we run ourselves into the ground. We lose focus and interest and get into that “monotonous” routine where nothing seems to excite us. Put simply, we lose sight of that greater purpose we are trying to serve.

John brings back the conversation full-circle by sharing some actionable advice that all of us can use to transform our lives.

    1. It’s important to know: We should be aware of our limits and how much we can take. This is just as important physically and mentally as it is spiritually.

    1. Have a strong relationship with your “Man Know Thyself”: A popular saying by Socrates; This saying means “mastering yourself is true power”. This is important as it helps us create healthy boundaries. An example of this, as John says, is when you create a fence to ward off wild animals.

      Similarly, a healthy boundary will keep us safe from negative thoughts and harmful habits. This boundary helps protect our mind, protect our spirit, and protect our soul.

    1. Get rid of Monotony: Doing something repetitively over a long period of time can lead us to become uninterested and demotivated. We need to keep that excitement intact so we don’t lose sight of our ultimate goals.

      As John says, we become people-pleasers by working overtime just to make some extra cash. In the process, we lose track of our health.

    1. Be in Harmony with the Divine: Our hunger for success is understandable, but so often, it has the wrong intentions behind it. John says those wrong intentions have a karmic effect and that eventually, people will suffer the consequences when they’ll have to give something up.

      There has to be a balance so people don’t go over the way to work and lose their true selves in the process

As John puts it, “we survive just for the sake of surviving”. Eventually, people lose that connection with their spirit. They lose that intuition and that creative ability to impact and change lives.


John outlines the following steps which people can use to avoid getting burnt out:

    1. Start Saying No: People think that saying No will leave bad impression on people and go out of their way to please them, but it’s quite the opposite. In the process, they start undertaking activities and engagements that just don’t suit them and cause bad energy to flow in.

    1. Shake up your Habits & Routines: One of John’s favourite ways to reframe this bad energy is to simply change his habits and routines. He escapes that monotonous routine by going for a walk with his wife or by going to the nearby coffee shop.

      The trick is to leave that work mode at home. This can be achieved by leaving your laptop at home and taking a book to the coffee shop. Another example is to go off-the-grid where you leave all your work-related items at home and just take a day (s) off to relax and rewind

    1. Take purposeful Breaks while Working: One way to avoid Burnout, as John demonstrates in daily life is to take a break while you’re working. For John, this means that when he’s writing a book or writing an article for a magazine, he’d write a couple of thousand words and then take a break.

      The temptation to write another thousand is very real, but it’s all about having the right frame of mindset. John, instead of giving in to that temptation, instead re-focuses by doing another activity and coming back to writing that article or book the next day when he’s more focused and has more energy.

    1. Know Yourself Spiritually, Mentally, Physically: John reiterates his beliefs on achieving perfect mind, body, and spirit harmony by knowing your limitations and using them for your own benefit.

      When in doubt, people can re-attain this harmony by, for example, going on a vacation or spending more time with their loved ones.

He again puts emphasis on prioritizing health over wealth or any other form of success. Burnout reduces our immunity and increases stress levels. People can’t think properly and make mistakes that they come to regret later on in life.

Instead, they need to get out of that survival mode by avoiding Burnout and the first step toward doing so is being aware of it. Then, take remedial steps, which John explains. The protagonist in all of this is You. You need to prioritize Yourself and focus on yourself. Only then will you be able to serve that greater purpose and impact lives.



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