top of page

Top Takeaways from Burnout Begone

I have no one to blame but myself. I’m the one that sets my schedule and workload. So why in the big wide world would I schedule three brand new, unwritten classes within four weeks of each other?

And why would I do this to myself at the same time as the beginning of the Fall semester? I have 26 students in my Entrepreneurship in the Arts class I teach at Wichita State University who deserve my attention, too. What was I thinking?

Plus, my brain is cranking out ideas of things I want to pursue on a daily basis. There are so many more ideas than I can make a reality, but some of them are too good to let go. I’m working with my creative team on several fun new projects and events I’m excited to launch in the next couple of months.

Arrrgggg! I just realized I’m doing it again! I can’t stop myself from adding more and more to my plate-spinning overload. I wonder how many of you are like me and do the same without realizing it.

Ironically, the class that kicked off this trio of new classes was Burnout Begone!, which I taught recently. (One down. Two more to go!) Writing and teaching that class was well-timed since I’m already using some of what I learned to preserve what little is left of my mind. I’ve got another class to finish this weekend, so as a reminder to myself, here are my top five takeaways from this new class that’s pretty incredible, if I do say so myself!

Emotions are tunnels.

One of the big bummers of burnout is the feeling of emotional exhaustion, which is what happens when our emotions get stuck. Emotions are like tunnels because we have to go all the way through them to get to the light at the end.

I remember the first time I realized this. Years ago, I was talking to my therapist about depression. I told her it felt like I was falling into a pit, grasping at tree roots and tufts of grass, digging my fingernails into the dirt, anything I could to keep from falling into the bottomless, black pit of depression.

She asked me, “What happens if you let go?” Even though the thought of that was super scary, I imagined letting go and falling into the pit. All I could see was darkness. She asked me to look around, feel for walls, and walk in any direction. What did I see? What I saw shocked me. I saw a light leading me out of the darkness. Now, I understand that the sooner I let go of that ledge, the sooner I’ll find my way out of the tunnel and into the light.

Rather than suppressing emotions, we need to let ourselves experience them, sometimes with help, to find our way through big emotions.

Completing the Stress Cycle

While doing research for the Burnout class, I read the book Burnout, The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Negoski and her sister, Amelia. I highly recommend this book because of its practical approach to burnout and great tips for what to do that goes beyond gratitude journaling.

We’re bombarded every day with things that stress us out. When something stressful happens, our bodies react with a cascade of physical reactions and flooding of hormones to prepare our body to take the best action needed to survive, like running, fighting, or playing dead.

But, if we’re not purposeful about completing the stress cycle, we stay stuck. Our bodies don’t understand the danger is over, and the adrenaline and other stress chemicals can leave.

Fortunately, we can do many easy things to complete the cycle, like moving our bodies every day for 20 minutes or so until our breathing speeds up. Breathing exercises that take deep breaths using the abdomen are another way to let the body know it can relax. The book has many more ideas, like deep belly laughs, ugly crying, and good hugs.

It’s not our fault we’re stressed.

There are so many factors beyond our control that lead to burnout. For example, there’s the Human Giver Syndrome. The notion that we are supposed to give everything of ourselves in service to others without considering how it affects our health and sanity leaves us feeling like an empty shell.

The Never, Ever Give Up mindset doesn’t help either. We believe that if we fail to achieve a goal, it’s because there is something wrong with us. We didn’t work hard enough. We didn’t believe enough. Sometimes, quitting is the best thing we can do for ourselves and probably the people closest to us.

You have to decide when enough is enough, but the most important consideration to remember when deciding to quit is the Joy Suck Rule. If it is sucking the joy out of your life, it has to go.

Stress resistance can be built.

There are concrete, specific things we can do daily to grow mighty and conquer, like making peace with our inner critic, connecting with people, and getting rest and sleep.

One of the easiest ways for me to combat burnout right now is to rest. What doesn’t kill us is not what makes us stronger. It’s rest. We convince ourselves that we don’t need rest and that getting rest is lazy, something to be ashamed of. We don’t have to spend all our time working. A good nap is a beautiful thing.

The importance of purpose.

Sometimes, I wonder what drives me to do so much when I know no one is cracking a whip to make me move faster. My biggest takeaway from this class is that I am driven by my purpose, which is to inspire people to embrace their power and live authentically. This is why I do what I do.

Discovering our purpose has a big impact on happiness and health. It gives direction to our goals and something to aim for. This sense of purpose gives our life meaning, the nourishing experience of feeling connected to something bigger than ourselves. It helps us thrive when things are going well and helps us cope when things in our lives go wrong.

Purpose changes throughout our lives. When children are young, their mother’s primary goal is to keep them alive and guide them into hopefully becoming outstanding humans. Our careers can become our purpose when we align with what our employer is trying to accomplish. The big challenge comes when we’ve done all we can, or there’s a significant life change, and it’s time to find a new, something bigger.

If you don’t know your purpose right now, don’t fret. You still have plenty of time to figure it out. If you want help, keep watching our emails. In the new year, I plan to launch our first Finishing School Study Hall six-week program on Living with Purpose. Reply to this email to sign up to be first on the list to learn more or apply to be one of the twelve students selected for this group.

Caring for one another is powerful.

There’s a big difference between happiness and joy. Happiness results from what is happening in our lives, whether life is going right, and whether all is well.

Joy doesn’t change because of what’s happening in our lives. Joy comes from an internal clarity about our purpose. When we feel involved in something that makes a difference in the world, we create meaning in our lives and connections with others.

No one is complete without other people. Contact with another person is a fundamental biological need; loneliness is a form of starvation. We all need more tender, loving kindness in our lives now—compassion for ourselves and others.

The cure for burnout is not self-care. It is all of us caring for one another.

Be kind to yourself while you're at it!

Much love,

Headmistress Jill


Never Finished Book Title

Did you know I've published a book? Learn more about it here!

Finishing School for Modern Women logo

Because We’re Never Finished

The Finishing School for Modern Women, located in Wichita, Kansas, offers classes to help women find their authentic selves, not because we need finishing, but because we’re never finished. We bring together women of all ages to learn from experts and each other how to claim our power in business, finance, communication, and life.

To learn more about what we do: for our classes and free social membership.

Contact Us

Phone: 316-841-8927 Email:

Recent Posts

See All


Ann Keefer
Ann Keefer
Sep 06, 2023

Great minders, Jill. Thanks for sharing.

Replying to

Thanks, Ann!

bottom of page