How to Avoid Burnout

Last week, we took a much needed break to Puerto Rico to escape the long Canadian winter. We didn't go to just drink margaritas by the pool or get a sunburn on the beach; it was an important opportunity to renew!

Coincidentally, we also received a fantastic email from our coach, Mark Fisher, owner of North America's most successful gym. He discussed self-renewal - why it's not just about vacations, and why it's so important for it to be regularly scheduled.

We couldn't have written it any better, so he let us share it with you...


"While anyone can benefit from taking renewal seriously, parents and leaders in particular face something called “power stress.” This is a particular type of stress experienced by those who feel responsibility for others. It can expedite burnout for those who don’t take the time to “refill their cup.”

Furthermore, renewal can’t effectively be “saved up” for the weekend. By thinking critically about which of the four renewal activities light you up, you can start to be disciplined about making sure you have time for it in your weekly calendar.

Remember, renewal is different than physical rest. They both matter.

According to Dr. Richard Boyatzis, you need to consider four key areas:

  • Hope - a feeling of forward-looking optimism towards the future

  • Compassion - connecting with other people

  • Mindfulness - being aware and in the present moment; meditation, walking in nature, prayer, etc.

  • Play - having fun and being joyful; humor

Each of us will get more or less “juice” from each of the four activities, so considering your personal preferences is important.

Additionally, some activities do crossover from “physical self-care” to “emotional self-care.” Low-intensity exercise (mindfulness, play) and meditation (mindfulness) are both great examples.

In addition to the list above, gratitude is another important renewal strategy. Creating small habits and rituals around daily gratitude is a powerful tool for keeping your “mind right.” This is important because modern brains have inherited something called “Negativity Bias.” The theory is that our ancestors were successful at surviving precisely because they were good at thinking about, identifying, and solving/ working around threats.

Although there’s debate about how strongly “negative” thoughts overpower “positive” thoughts, most social scientists put the number somewhere between three times to seven times.

Since the nature of your life often requires identifying, thinking about, and solving problems, creating daily gratitude habits can be a powerful source of renewal.

Regardless of which activities you choose, it’s important to emphasize the ones that truly fill your cup, and then have the discipline to regularly execute these activities.

If you find renewal by connecting with hope, it’s going to be very hard emotionally to justify taking time to daydream and spend time “visioning” on a regular basis. Nonetheless, this is exactly what you must do if you truly want to be a master of your time.

Like your core self-care habits, such as training and making good nutrition choices, renewal activities are the equivalent of putting your own oxygen mask on first if the cabin loses pressure while on an airplane.

If you don’t take care of yourself first, you’ll find you’re unable to effectively take care of anyone else as you spiral into burnout."