Avoid Burning Out By Finding the Right Work - Life Balance

Avoid Burning Out By Finding the Right Work - Life Balance

Avoid Burning Out By Finding the Right Work - Life Balance

  • H Paul Stanley

  • 8 minute read

Years ago, when my now adult children were small, we went camping frequently year-round. During the winter months when the temperature was cold, we would build a big campfire and enjoy sitting around it into the evening.

As time to turn in for the night approached, we would stop putting wood on it, letting it burn down. By bedtime, there was very little, if any fire left. The next morning, all that remained was a cold pile of ashes. You can’t cook breakfast over a cold pile of ashes.

Many people manage life the same way we managed the campfire. They put a lot of effort into building up strong productive behaviors. As a result, their accomplishments burn bright and hot. As the saying goes, “They are on fire!”

But then as time passes, they stop taking good care of themselves. Like the late evening campfire, they begin to burn up their resources and the fire starts to go out. When they continue to neglect themselves, they burnout losing all their brightness and heat – their motivation and energy. Their usefulness and productivity fades away because of the resulting exhaustion.

Through the course of my former career as a psychologist, I have been there more than once. It was not a fun place to be. Recovering takes time and intentionality, but it is possible and rewarding.

I am sure you have heard the saying, “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” This is why you need to learn to take care of yourself. Keeping yourself motivated is an inside job. You may be doing an excellent job of using the resources available to succeed in some important part of your life, such as your career. But if you are not taking care of yourself in all the important areas of your life, you will not be able to stay motivated for very long. It is hard to keep pushing yourself to do more when you already feel depleted. 

Trying to achieve success in one area of life by sacrificing other important life areas is not wise. When life is out-of-balance, it becomes frustrating, overwhelming, and you know you are headed for burnout, even if you are not already there.

Here are 5 areas of life that must be attended to for you to thrive…


How, when, and what we eat, has a huge impact on how well we perform under pressure. It is easy to begin to neglect your diet when you are focusing all your time, energy, and resources on moving forward toward some important goal. You don’t want to take the time needed to eat a healthy diet.

Junk food is so convenient. It is fast, tasty, and inexpensive. But beware, disaster may be coming your way. A large percentage of the illnesses people face are in fact caused by or made worse by poor nutrition. They can be prevented by paying just a little attention to your diet. 

Nutritious food helps your body to grow, gives you energy, and helps your body repair itself. Eating a healthy diet also help you be more productive. To function optimally and not burnout, you need to consume the recommended amount of each nutrient. Although nutrition can be complex, eating a healthy diet is not that complicated or difficult. Here are a few suggestions to make eating well a lot easier. 

  • Avoid foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar 

  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables

  • Avoid overly processed foods 

  • Read food labels before you consume the item  

  • Drink more water

  • Avoid carbonated beverages 

  • For snacks eat healthy options like fresh fruits and nuts 

  • Use dietary supplements to get nutrients that are not being adequately provided by your diet

  • Never use supplements to replace meals 


The average human being needs about 7 – 9 hours of rest each day. Getting sufficient sleep is one of the most essential aspects of finding the right work / life balance. Unfortunately, with the demands of earning a living, caring for your family, and being an active responsible member of your community, sacrificing sleep often seems necessary to get everything done that needs to be done. In fact, some people even believe that sleepless nights are required for success. 

Although sacrifices may have to be made to reach your goals, sleep should not be one of them. Not getting enough sleep will mean that your body will not get enough time to repair and recharge itself. Sooner or later, you will begin to feel like – and function like - a dead battery.

Both your mind and your body will not work optimally if you are sleep deprived. A lack of sleep has even been linked to inflammation, which can result in many medical and psychological problems.

It becomes very difficult to motivate yourself and successfully move forward when you are drained.


There are a lot of people in this world that just don’t like to exercise. Unfortunately, I am one of them. Nevertheless, exercise brings many benefits. Constantly feeling fatigued and achy may be a sign that you need to get more exercise.

One of the main reasons why people dread exercise is because of the time and effort they believe to be required. They assume that they have to start with difficult workouts and it will just gradually get worse. 

That is really not true. If fact, starting with an exercise routine that is too difficult is not recommended. You may even hurt yourself by pushing to do too much, too soon. If you are new to working-out, you will need to start small at first and gradually work your way up to more demanding exercises.

People also avoid exercising because they find it boring. To make it more fun, it is good to find several exercise activities that you enjoy. Some of you may enjoy dancing; others may like walking or jogging; for others, playing a sport may be what you enjoy.

Monotony can make exercise seem like drudgery. Thus, it is best to vary your workouts. Afterall, variety is the spice of life. So, mix up your exercise routine. Doing this, you will find it more fun.

You will be surprised how much good just exercising for a few minutes each day will do. 

In fact, here are a few benefits of getting sufficient exercise… 

  • Regular exercise helps to strengthen your bones. 

  • Exercise often helps you sleep better at night. 

  • Sweating and excreting waste through your pores helps improve your health.

  • You will be better able to manage your weight. 

  • Exercise reduces the risk of suffering from certain ailments like diabetes and heart disease. 

  • You often feel better after you exercise because working out releases the hormones that will improve your mood. 

  • Regular exercise reduces stress.


Much strength and happiness can come from the relationships in your family. When you put time and effort into forming and maintaining good family relationships, despite your busy life, in turn, they will often support your hopes and dreams.

On the other hand, you can’t maintain positive family relationships if you keep pushing them away. Making time for the ones you love should always be a priority. This is especially so if children are involved. Although you may tell yourself that you are busy now because you are trying to build a better future for your children, they will not understand your neglect. Moreover, by not spending time with them you may cause damage to your relationships that can’t be repaired.

They only think about the here and now. And the fact that right now you are not there for them can have serious implications on the kind of person they will become. Money and all that you can buy your children with that money will not make them love you more.

Not taking the time and putting the effort into caring for the ones that love you and are entitled to your time and love will cost you dearly. Plus, when you have the loving support of your family, you will have the kind of support you need to push yourself to achieve your goals. 


“People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness.” ~ John Wanamaker

Believe it or not, recreation plays a very important role in your success. It may be true that goofing off when you should be working on achieving your goals is a bad idea. Nevertheless, finding time for recreation is crucial.

You can’t live a less stressful, more balanced, and highly satisfying life without the beneficial impact of recreation. Taking the time to let your hair down, laugh, or smell the roses may be just what you need to keep yourself motivated. That is why it is so important to take some time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. And if you participate in recreation with the ones you love, those relationships will be strengthened as well.

On the other hand, a life without recreation is not very enjoyable. And a miserable life will not be a productive life. How happy will you be when you achieve your goals if it has cost you your health and loved ones in the process? Many accomplished people have made that mistake and have publicly declared how much they regret the choice.

Achieving your goals should not come at such a high personal cost. Personal success is not just about achieving your goals; it also involves being happy with the results of your success. By pushing yourself too hard and not taking time to enjoy life you will burnout quickly and easily.

In short, keep the fire burning hot by feeding it with needed fuel. And be sure to include sufficient nutrition, rest, exercise, family, and recreation.

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