Resources to help you walk away from burnout

Jackie Colburn
5 min readFeb 12, 2024

A few months ago, I shared an honest account of how I got into and managed to walk away from burnout. It all started when my partner turned to me one day and said, “It’s like you’re not even here.” Youch.

After that wakeup call, I spent a year unlearning the crap that got me into my burned-out state. I even got to the point where I was able to reflect on and write about it! But what I never imagined was that sharing my story would reach 20K+ people and receive so many replies.

What this showed me is that burnout is top of mind for a lot of people, and that too many of us are struggling with it.

Is Everybody Really This Burnt Out?

Despite the days of the pandemic where we were forced to edit so much of our lives — a time when many people espoused that they would never go back to the busy bandwagon — I’m hearing from friends and colleagues that they feel like they are running faster than ever.

I know from firsthand experience that this is not a sustainable way to live, and that we all need greater access to resources and tools to beat it.

So, in response to all of your wonderful emails and messages, I’ve been slowly putting together a list of the suggestions and resources that will help you or a loved one step out of burnout and into replenishment. Take what works and leave the rest!

Tactics for Walking Away From Burnout

These are daily practices and rituals you can fold into your life to help you say “no” to the hustle and “yes” to the flow.

1. Say “no” more often:

“No” is a complete sentence — every “no” gives you space for more of the things you want to say “yes” to.

2. Don’t get caught up:

Step aside from anything that’s highjacking you, draining you, or distracting you. We all have different vices: social media, news sites, reddit forums, nextdoor. If you’re currently shutting down from too much input, you’re no good anyhow so don’t feel guilty about cutting something out or establishing some serious boundaries. For me, that meant quitting Facebook and Instagram 3.5 years ago here’s how I did it.

3. Own your day:

Don’t let your calendar become your downfall. Schedule thinking time, workout time, family time — the things that you value but that continually fall to the bottom of the list. Even schedule admin time to deal with all of the little things that have the potential to derail your attention if you try to tackle them throughout your day. Block and hold time for this stuff and be ruthless about protecting it (here’s where the “say no” tip comes in handy).

4. Value you:

What do you value most? If those things are being sacrificed, edit your life. One of the things that has been huge for me is getting crystal clear on what I value most and using it as a filter for everything else. I value: presence in my relationships, time for reflection and adventure, and health. If these things are being compromised, I’ve got to make a shift. Just like company values, guiding principles, or pursuits, having a set of values that you hold as central can go a long way in helping you make your choices.

5. Find out what fills you up:

It can be hard to know what gives you energy and fills you up without having time to think or explore it freely. But it can also feel hard to create time for yourself if you don’t know WTF to do with that time anyhow. So, this is an assignment for those of you who don’t know what to do with downtime: Get exploratory and experimental. Don’t worry if you don’t like all the things you try. Simply dust yourself off and try, try again!

If you’re at a loss for where to begin, try working your way through this list and see what happens:

  • Take naps
  • Schedule regular walks outside
  • Find a seat and people watch
  • Call a friend
  • Watch comedy
  • Read memoirs
  • Try your hand at papier mache
  • Cook something new
  • Enjoy plants and flowers at a nursery or greenhouse
  • Doodle for the sake of doodling
  • Cry / laugh / scream (seriously, sometimes we just need time to feel our dang feelings)

Mantras for Walking Away From Burnout

These are sweet little phrases or words you can carry with you throughout the day to remind yourself that it’s okay to detach from hustle culture and cultivate peace.

  • “Do less better”
  • “I am enough, I have enough, I am doing enough”
  • “From rest, wisdom may arise”
  • [Insert your own reminder here]

Additional Resources for Walking Away From Burnout

These are the books, podcasts, and articles I recommend for your journey. I’ve used all of these in my anti-burnout endeavors and am so grateful for the words of wisdom shared by these folks.

  • Tricia Hersey’s book Rest is Resistance
  • More of an audio person? Listen to Tricia’s interview with Glennon Doyle for the short version here.
  • Tara Brach’s book “Radical Acceptance
  • The “Make Time” book and blog by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. Their e-newsletter is great too, as it typically contains a single suggestion to help you find freedom through taking back time in your day.
  • Ximena Vengoechea’s book “Rest Easy
  • Ryan Holiday’s article “On saying no
  • Also dropping my original article about walking away from burnout right here

Do you have resources to share? Books, articles, or podcasts that have shifted your view and helped you let go of burnout? If so, leave a comment and/or send me a note — I’d love to continue to build this list and add suggestions from you!

Clap me some love if you found this post helpful, and feel free to share with a friend who you think might benefit from it. My stories are never member-only, which means you can share these resources with everyone and anyone, paywall free.

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Jackie Colburn

Weekly resources for facilitators and leaders. Learn tips and methods to run better workshops, accelerate teams and uncover new ideas. www.jackiecolburn.com