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What We Get Wrong About Self-Care and Burnout

February 1, 2022 • Energy Management

Here’s what I think we’re getting wrong about self-care and burnout. There are so many articles and books out there telling us that the solution to our burnout is to be gentle with ourselves and to practice self-care. We’re booking vacations, spa appointments, picking up meditation, etc. Those are all great things, but are they really helping root out the burnout in our lives or just pushing it off for another day? Is this how we get trapped in an endless cycle of burnout?

Here’s a radical idea, maybe the answer to beating burnout is doing more work? Work to root out the true source of your burnout and create a sustainable way to prevent burnout in your life.

Burnout and The Great Resignation

While practicing self-care has been proven to help us recharge and relax, more employees than ever are leaving their jobs due to burnout. We’ve talked a lot about The Great Resignation and how many employees’ values have changed. They’re feeling burnout and exhausted and think the greener pastures of a new role will solve their problems.

However, what many do not realize is that when we rely on self-care rituals or a new role to solve our burnout problem, oftentimes we’re just patching the hole that is draining our energy.

Rebecca Minkoff on Burnout and Self-Care

Recently, I had fashion designer and entrepreneur Rebecca Minkoff on my podcast. During the interview, shared the counter-intuitive idea that “work can be self-care too.”

What she meant by that was that solving our burnout problem isn’t always about finding ways to relax and unwind, but instead, it’s about doing the hard work to get to the root of our problem. Sometimes that means asking ourselves tough questions – is our problem a colleague? Is it a client or our boss? Or maybe it’s the way we are managing our own time and energy.

For Rebecca, during a time in her career when she was feeling really burned out and fried, she was just about ready to give up her career. She wondered if maybe she was doing too much raising her children and running a business. However, instead of pulling back, Rebecca dug in and discovered her drainer was a toxic employee. Once she addressed the problem she found renewed purpose in her work.

Rebecca Minkoff Work and Self-Care

Burnout and Energy

I remember a time in my own life when I was feeling really burned out and exhausted. I thought what’s going on? Instead of going on a vacation or making a big sweeping life change, I got curious! When I pulled back and examined my life I found that I was doing a terrible job managing my energy. I did the work to identify my drainers and reorganize my schedule to give me more energy.

If you are feeling like energy management might be a cause of your burnout, I’d invite you to check out my book The Energy Clock. The Energy Clock was built out of my own struggles to beat burnout and shows you how to shift your schedule to balance priorities and find fulfillment in more meaningful work with fewer distractions.

My Challenge for You

So, next time you’re feeling burned out, ask yourself why and think about how you solve that. Then you’ll have a sustainable solution to counter burnout moving forward. It’s not about more time on the massage table; it’s about changing the things in your life that cause burnout in the first place.


More on burnout: Episode


The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to up their game. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company offers training and coaching programs to help leaders unleash their potential, including: Game Changer Negotiation Training, which teaches business people a framework for successful negotiating; The Energized Leader training, which teaches people how to manage their energy to achieve focus and freedom; and a monthly coaching program, Game Changer Leadership Huddles, to help members recharge their purpose and mindset. Sign up to receive our newsletter, subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast, and watch her TED Talk on The Secrets to a Champion Mindset.