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Why I Went Dark for 2 Months (& How to Avoid Burnout)

A girl looking down experiencing burnout

I’m just getting over a 2-month hibernation that came on as the result of burnout. For the last 2 months, the thought of work, being on my phone or my computer in any way made me cringe. I couldn’t bring myself to do it, although, for the months leading up to this, work is ALL I wanted to do.

And therein lies the problem. In the months leading up to my burnout, I was overdoing it. I used the excuse that I was “in flow” and I wanted to take advantage of that and, to tell the truth, I certainly was in flow, but I also knew I was doing too much.

But I lied to myself and others and simply said that I was enjoying myself and I wanted to commit to doing the work now since I was enjoying it so much. And I was enjoying it! But I knew deep down that I was over-rotating and working too much; I just couldn’t bring myself to admit it out loud, to myself or others.

A few years ago, I got my first hand-poke tattoo here in El Salvador. It says “balance” - and the 'c' is a crescent moon - and, as someone who has a history of over-rotating into one thing or another, it’s meant to serve as a reminder that balance is something I should strive for in my life. Balance on various fronts - the moon is a reminder to balance my feminine energy with my masculine. It’s on the outside of my wrist and, at this moment, I’m wondering if I should have put it somewhere I would have seen it more often!

As I ease myself back into my business and strive to ensure my relationship with “work” strikes a healthy balance with other areas of my life that are important - my physical and mental health, my marriage, and other hobbies - I’d like to spend some time today discussing burnout, why I believe it’s such a pervasive issue, and what we can do to help ourselves and one another avoid it so we can live more balanced, full, and rich lives.


I can’t believe we’re halfway through this year. It’s insane to think back to what I was going through in January. We were about a month into our move to El Salvador and dealing with a lot mentally and emotionally as a result of uprooting our comfortable lives in the States and moving to a new place with a new language and a new culture, climate, traditions, habits, routines, food, laws, and more.

After the tension finally broke in what resulted in a day-long argument between Cory and me and, as a result, us finally dealing with the many unspoken things we’d each been harboring separately during the stress of the move, we were finally able to move forward and focus on other things - for Cory, it’s been improving our home here, and for me, it’s been my business.

And I dove headfirst into it. After our trip to Texas in February, working nonstop for 8, 10, or 12 hours was pretty common for me and, whenever there was concern shown from Cory or friends, I’d brush it off (both to them and myself) and just say that I was “in flow”.

I made almost no space for my health, my marriage, meditation, etc. - my physical days were filled with work, and when I wasn’t physically working, my mind was still stuck on it; thinking about what I needed to do next, making lists, and generally not making space for anything else that is important to me.

This all came to a head in early May when my body finally pushed back.


In early May, my digestive system started acting weird. I was getting some acid reflux (which I’ve rarely had in my life) and, later, my body was having a hard time digesting food. I’ll spare you the details but it was uncomfortable, painful, distracting, and generally inconvenient.

As I was processing that, we had Cory’s parents in town for a visit and, while they were here, I noticed my throat was starting to hurt. I brushed it off as, “Oh, it must be because I’m talking more than normal, entertaining, etc.” - but it kept persisting.

The morning they left I finally realized it was more serious than simply a scratchy throat. Paired with what I can only describe as a migraine and heavy lethargy, I couldn’t even bring myself to ride in the car with Cory to take them to the airport.

That was the beginning of a 9-day stint in bed from a respiratory issue. I had all the symptoms: slight fever, runny nose that eventually turned into congestion, sore throat, headache - but the worst of all was the physical exhaustion and lack of energy. I couldn’t seem to walk up the driveway without feeling faint and like I needed to sit down.

As a now-funny side story, our sweet neighbor knew I had been feeling bad for a few days and he brought over a bunch of local herbs, told us to boil them, and for me to bathe in them and that it would help bring down my fever and boost my immune system. I figured what the hell, I’ll try anything at this point - and a hot bath sounded so nice since I wasn’t feeling well. And it felt amazing.

Unfortunately, the next afternoon I noticed a slight rash in the crease of my arm where my bicep meets my forearm and, before long, that ‘slight rash’ became a serious itchy rash all over my body. At that point, there was nothing left to do but laugh.

Luckily the worst of my physical illnesses happened in the week between Cory’s parents’ visit and the day we were due to fly back to Texas ourselves because being sick while traveling is the absolute worst (I once had to fly when I had shingles! But that’s a story for another time).


What I didn’t realize at the time is the impact that month of sickness had on my mental state because, as I came out of illness, I had a whole new problem to tackle: my mind.

I found myself teetering on the edge of what I assume is depression. I was feeling a very negative outlook toward life in general. I felt like all the work I’d been doing was for nothing. I wasn’t seeing the world through a positive lens like I normally do. There were many thoughts of, “What’s the point?”, and “I’m not sure I’m on the right path”, and I felt guilty for “taking time off”.

Although it took some time, I started feeling more like myself again during our trip to Texas. Within the first few days of that trip, we went wakeboarding on Lake Austin and, that alone helped me immensely. The sun, moving my body, and being surrounded by nature - the power of those three things for our health cannot be overstated, and I felt it so deeply that day.

I’m glad I noticed because, after that, I made it a point to sit in the sun first thing every morning while I drank my coffee. We made time to exercise as we rode our bikes around Town Lake and spent several days packing up and moving boxes out of our rental house. And, as much as possible, I’d try to get outside and into nature throughout the entirety of the trip.

After focusing on those areas and prioritizing rest from “work” and relaxation to allow my body the space it needed to feel good again, I now feel rejuvenated and ready to re-enter and re-engage with my life.

It’s crazy that it took 2 months. This thought struck me deeply because I now realize what I was suffering from was a bad case of burnout and, again, it took me almost 2 months to feel normal. What’s scary is that many people don’t have 2 months to dedicate to figuring out what’s wrong and fixing it - many people simply have to keep going.

With that in mind, I thought it would be important to share what I went through and some thoughts on how I plan to avoid this in the future in hopes that it might help you in your life as well.


The first thing I want to mention is that, above all else, our health and well-being are the most important. Period. They’re more important than financial freedom, more important than having good relationships, more important than our dreams. Because without your health and well-being, you cannot accomplish any of those things.

If you’re sick, don’t feel good, or have brain fog - whatever it is - you simply cannot perform at your best. You can’t think straight, you can’t be the person the people in your life need you to be, and you can’t be the version of yourself you need to be to accomplish big goals like reaching your dreams of achieving financial freedom.

And that includes rest, which is something I’m very good at forgetting. It’s so easy to think of ‘health’ as eating a certain way and moving your body, but a huge part of health is also taking time to be still, to let your body recover, to get enough sleep, etc.

It’s also easy to get into the mindset of: “Once I do this or once I do that, THEN I’ll prioritize my health.” And that reminds me of a similar mind state of, “Once I do/have this or that, THEN I’ll be happy.”

Both are lies we tell ourselves; they’re excuses that allow us to continue addictive behaviors that we know aren’t good for us or to avoid setting boundaries that we know we need to set.


The second thing I’d like to say about burnout is that, although it’s easy to point the finger at ourselves for not setting boundaries, I also think it’s important to recognize that a lot of this comes from culture. If you’re like me, you were raised in a culture where emphasis and value were placed on hard work. And I’m a big believer in hard work - I think those who put in the hard work are those who can realize their dreams.

But there is an underlying message in this hard-work-above-all-else culture, which is: if you’re not working hard, then you’re being lazy. And that’s where I think this story needs a rewrite.

Let’s go back to the health conversation as I’d like to make an analogy. If you lift weights every single day that’s better than not lifting weights at all if your goal is to build muscle and health. However, if you don’t rest and give your muscles time to heal and repair, lifting weights every day can ultimately be a negative because you’ll stop making progress and you’ll likely burn out and quit working out for a while altogether.

It’s the same with our jobs - hard work is great. But we must balance that hard work with rest and we must stop telling ourselves that when we rest we’re lazy. That’s simply not true and, to this day, it’s something I struggle with. If I’m not actively doing something that I feel is moving me and Cory toward our goals, I feel like I’m being lazy - and I have to remind myself of what I’m telling you here. Without rest, in the long run, we end up doing more harm than good - which does not move us toward our goals.

Our yoga teacher told us recently something that’s been somewhat of a mantra to me lately which is this: “Take care of your body, and it will take care of you.” And a big part of taking care of your body is giving yourself time away from work to rest, repair, and enjoy your life and your relationships away from your job.


Now that we’ve addressed why burnout happens to us, let’s talk about how to avoid it. For me, here’s what’s been working.

First, I’ve been writing down my 3 big goals for the day - this is something I used to do and I’ve talked about before, however, in recent months I’ve fallen off and instead tried to do way too much in a day. For me, the reason writing down my goals each day feels helpful and helps me avoid burnout is that 3 goals in a day are reasonable, ensure I’m making progress and feeling good about accomplishing things (crossing things off a list is one of the best feelings in the world), and give me a defined stopping point. That last part is very important in the context of burnout; I know when to quit because I’ve finished my 3 goals for the day.

Second, I’ve re-prioritized my health and have made regular movement of my body and healthy eating the highest priority again. In this phase of life, I’m a pretty healthy person, however, in the months leading up to my burnout, I was not exercising much, and I relied almost 100% on Cory to cook all our meals (which, he cooks healthy, but my point is I was relying heavily on him and not on myself to ensure my nutrition was a priority).

Now, I ensure I’m moving my body almost every day without overdoing it, even if it’s just 20 minutes of body exercises because that’s better than nothing and, even then, I notice a boost of energy. I’ve also been making plenty of healthy dinners lately and I’ve noticed that what’s great about that (in addition to feeling good after eating healthy food) is that this also helps provide a natural stopping point in my workday - it’s 5:00 pm and I know I’d better start dinner unless I want to be cooking, eating, and doing the dishes super late, which I don’t.

And third, journaling has helped immensely. Even just 10 minutes in the mornings and/or at night before bed. It provides a time for me to reflect, check myself when I’m getting close to overdoing it at work, and remind myself that rest does not equal laziness. I’m not a natural "journaler," so having a structured journal has been helpful; right now I’m using The High Performance Journal which gives me morning prompts, a place to list my 3 goals for the day, and evening prompts.


To sum it all up, a key way to avoid burnout is to invest time in yourself. Give yourself some time to work on your body, your mind, and your own life goals - not your boss’, not your kids’, not your partner’s… yours.

Your health, your mind state, your time - they’re the most important things in your life. And when you’re prioritizing yourself and what you need, it becomes more difficult to over-rotate into the depressing and unproductive realm of burnout.


Before logging off, I’d like to share a free guide with you on 5 Ways to Invest in Yourself.

If you’ve struggled with burnout in the past or feel like it’s something you might battle in the future, take a look at these 5 actionable ideas to invest in yourself as a way to not only get ahead of burnout but to focus on living every day in the best way possible...

Full of intention, presence, engagement and ultimately working toward the life you most want to live.




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