How to Come Back After Feeling Burnt Out

DR JOHN DEMARTINI   -   Updated 3 weeks ago

Are you feeling burnt out or perceive that you are nearing burnout, Dr Demartini shares steps you can take today to move from a state of frustration and burnout to daily inspiration and productivity.


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DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 3 weeks ago

In all probability, at some point in your life, you've encountered moments when you perceived you were overwhelmed and burnt out, bombarded by what you perceived were so many challenges that you simply couldn't manage them all. You may have thought, "Enough is enough. I need a break."

This raises several questions: Why do we experience burnout? How have we set ourselves up for such situations? What can we do about it, and how do we recover from so-called ‘burnout’?

Let’s first take a look at the underlying root causes of burnout before I provide some input on tools you can use to come back from being burnt out.

Like every human being you have a unique hierarchy of values, a set of priorities that range from most to least important in your life.

This hierarchy of values, is unique to you, as specific as your fingerprint, and it dictates how you perceive, decide, and act, ultimately influencing the decisions and direction of your life.

Thus, the hierarchy of your values determines your destiny. (You can work out your unique and current hierarchy of values HERE)

Your hierarchy of values can change gradually or sometimes even dramatically over time, allowing for adjustments to your destiny. Your life's journey is the summation of all these evolving destinies.

When you perceive that outer events or circumstances support your top hierarchy of values, you tend to feel open, excited, and elated, as if everything is aligning in your favor.

When you perceive that what’s higher on your list of values is being challenged, you tend to instinctively react with resistance. Your brain's autonomic nervous system plays a role here: your parasympathetic system is activated and dominates when you perceive that your higher values are being supported, allowing you to rest and digest; and your sympathetic system is activated and dominates when you perceive that your higher values are being challenged, preparing you for fight or flight.

Too much perceived support can lead to boredom, while too many perceived challenges can lead to burnout.

Imagine entering a relationship where, your partner tells you that they will do whatever you’d like them to do. It’s most likely that after a while, you would feel bored and long for some kind of challenge.

Conversely, if you perceived your partner to be too domineering and challenging, you may then find yourself seeking support. In other words, if you perceive excessive support this can result in boredom or juvenile dependance on that support, whereas if you perceive excessive challenges this can lead to a precocious desire for independence and an urge to escape.

The key to stability is discovering the actual ever-present balance between support and challenge.


Maximum growth and development occur at the intersection of support and challenge, boredom and burnout.

When you engage in activities that you perceive align with your highest values and approach them with a balanced, neutral, and objective viewpoint, the likelihood of experiencing boredom or burnout decreases.

On the contrary, when you're involved in tasks that hold little perceived value to you and are unfulfilling, they tend to lead you to seek immediate gratification as a form of compensation. If you persist with this over time then you're more susceptible to burnout.

This is because the pursuit of pleasure without acknowledging the inevitable accompanying pain sets you up for a greater fall. Nature maintains a balance between pleasure and pain, support and challenge, so when pain inevitably arises, its impact is magnified by your heightened dependency on pleasure. However, when you embrace both sides – pleasure and pain – equally, the impact of pain diminishes. 

It’s for this reason that pursuing challenges that inspire you and that are meaningful and that lead to productivity, while trying to avoid challenges that aren’t inspiring often results in you procrastinating, hesitating and frustrating - and, sometimes, experiencing distress and burnout.

Therefore, a fundamental step in overcoming burnout involves prioritizing your life.

Burnout often stems from the burden of engaging in activities that don't perceptually align with your interests or highest values, or not dedicating to what is highest in priority and not delegating lower-priority tasks.

Without a focused dedication to high-priority activities and the delegation of less critical ones, you're likely to become overwhelmed by external pressures and expectations.

You'll recognize these moments when you find yourself repeating phrases like, "I have to do this," "I must do this," "I should do this," "I ought to do this," "I'm supposed to do this," "I need to do this." These phrases that express imperative language, signal that you've likely injected the values of others, and are attempting to please too many other people without prioritizing or focusing on what is truly most important and meaningful to you.

This non prioritization, and non-integration of tasks into a single focus, can make you more susceptible to burnout. Why? Because you become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of too many outer expected tasks at once, or because the tasks at hand are uninspiring to you and low on your list of values.

Action step:  A wise strategy is to gracefully decline offers from those who project their values onto you when you don’t see them in alignment with what you value most, with a polite "thank you, but no thank you."

In my signature 2-day Breakthrough Experience program that I teach almost every week, I help you tackle the issue of envying and imitating others, placing them on a pedestal and injecting their set of values into your own life. I work with you on recognizing and owning the traits of these admired individuals in your own life – I call it “owning the traits of the greats” – so you take them off from the exaggerated and illusive pedestals you have put them on and instead now see your own equal form of genius and value yourself as their equal.

This realignment allows you to prioritize your own life, rather than attempting to align your life with someone else's priorities.

Often in new relationships, for example, you may find that you tend to sacrifice your own higher priority actions out of fear of losing the other individual initially, sometimes even engaging in activities that are not typically of interest to you. This behavior, initially motivated by infatuation, can soon lead to sacrifice, frustration and even resentment and a desire to return to what truly matters to you.


Whenever you idealize someone and place them on a pedestal in any aspect of life - be it spiritual, mental, career, financial, family, social, or physical – you can inject their higher values into your life by envying and imitating them, and even attempt to futilely adopt some of their higher values. This often results in a clouding of your mind with unrealistic expectations, should do’s, must do’s and ought to do’s, resulting in feelings of overwhelm and burnout as you attempt to pursue endeavors that aren’t intrinsically inspiring, high priority, or something you would spontaneously love to do.

On the other hand, when you prioritize activities that you perceive are congruent with your highest values, and act and live according to them, burnout is unlikely.

In my own life, for example, I often present seminars for 14 hours a day, and sometimes even longer, reaching up to 16 to 18 hours. There have been stretches where I've done this for 59 consecutive days without feeling burned out. The secret lies in my inspiration for the work that I do - it's a top priority for me, something I deeply love doing. As a result, I've delegated almost everything else, focusing solely on teaching, researching, writing, and traveling. This focus prevents burnout because I'm immersed in activities that inspire me from start to finish of every day.

The truth is, burnout rarely occurs when you're engaged in work that inspires you, work you can’t wait to do, work you love to do.

However, burnout is highly likely when you're caught up in tasks that you don't perceive align with your highest priorities, that challenge you, often because you're trying to meet too many external expectations, adopting others' set of values, and straying from your highest value driven authentic self.

As Emerson pointed out, "Envy is ignorance, and imitation is suicide." Why settle for being a second-rate version of someone else when you have the potential to excel as the first-rate version of yourself? Prioritizing authenticity is one of the wisest steps you can take to master your life.

How to reduce the probability of or recover from burnout

The key to reducing the probability of experiencing burnout and recovering from it is to take a step back and assess everything that's currently demanding your attention. Then:

  • First, take the time to list everything that is on your plate.
  • Identify which of these tasks are high-priority tasks that align with your highest values, and which of these tasks are low-priority distractions.
  • Once you have a clear list of distractions or low-priority tasks, determine which task you can delegate. Do so to people who are inspired and equipped to handle these tasks. This delegation frees you from the burden, helping to prevent burnout. It does not cost in the long run, it pays.

In other words, focus on and prioritize what inspires you most, what you genuinely love doing, and delegate the rest. This approach will help to increase your productivity and reduce distractions and the risk of burnout.

As I mentioned above, burnout mostly arises from engaging in challenging and distressing activities that don't inspire you, that you don't love doing daily. By prioritizing and relinquishing what doesn't serve your highest interests, you'll be amazed at the changes in your life.

Some might argue, "I can't afford to delegate."

I faced this concern myself at 27, until I discovered a life-transforming book called "The Time Trap" by Alec Mackenzie. I realized that trying to handle everything on my own was leading me toward burnout and inefficiency.

Contrary to the belief that you can only afford to delegate when you are wealthy, I found that delegating actually helped me build my wealth.

It’s not a case of can you afford to delegate, it’s more a case of you cannot afford not to.


Initially, the prospect of hiring others was a little daunting as I was concerned that I couldn’t afford it. However, because I was focusing on higher-priority, more productive tasks, I generated more income, ensuring that each delegated task was cost-effective and contributed to further income growth.

This shift not only freed me from burnout-inducing tasks but also propelled me forward in life financially.

To reiterate, because I believe this to be a key step in coming back from burnout: start by listing all your daily actions and responsibilities you do. Assess their urgency and identify which tasks can be delegated. Focus on what truly inspires you, delegating lower-priority tasks. This approach ensures you remain inspired, energetic, and aligned with your highest values, so you have more energy.

Energy feels limitless when you understand that its true source is living congruently with your highest priorities or values, which your ontological identity revolves around. When you are immersed in what is genuinely authentic and inspiring to you, when you pursue what is meaningful, fulfilling, and what you feel is your life's purpose, when you contribute significantly and excel in your area of expertise, you not only reduce the probability of burnout but are also becoming invigorated with a sense of inspiration. You find yourself eagerly anticipating your work, embodying Warren Buffett's notion of "tap dancing to work."

I would encourage you to choose a life of inspiration over a quiet life of desperation by aligning your actions with your highest values. This alignment fosters fluency, congruence, efficiency, and effectiveness, ensuring you remain invigorated by your pursuits without succumbing to burnout or boredom.

If you're eager to delve deeper into the concepts of prioritization and values, and wish to permanently break free from the cycles of burnout and boredom, I encourage you to explore the Breakthrough Experience. This program has consistently proven its effectiveness in guiding individuals from a state of inefficiency and burnout to daily inspiration and productivity.

The Breakthrough Experience is designed to facilitate significant transformations, enabling you to live a life filled with inspiration and fulfillment. If this resonates with you, then join me at the Breakthrough Experience.

To Sum Up

  1. Recognize Burnout and Its Causes: Understand that feeling overwhelmed and burnt out is often due to a lack of congruency between your daily tasks and your highest values.
  2. Identify Your Core Highest Values: Acknowledge that you as an individual have a unique set of priorities and values that dictate your perceptions, decisions, and actions, ultimately shaping your destiny.
  3. Understand the Role of Your Autonomic Nervous System: Recognize how your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems respond to perceptions of support and challenge in relation to your highest values, influencing feelings of restfulness, eustress or readiness for reaction, distress.
  4.  Balance Is Key: Learn that true growth and development occur at the border of support and challenge, it’s the integration of both that moderate the extremes of boredom and burnout.
  5. Prioritize Your Life: Focus on high-value tasks and delegate lower-priority ones to prevent burnout and increase productivity and fulfillment.
  6. Address Financial Concerns about Delegating: Overcome the misconception that delegation is only for the wealthy by understanding that delegating can lead to increased income and individual authentic growth.
  7. Create a Delegation Strategy: Identify tasks that can be delegated, assess their urgency, and delegate to those who find these tasks aligned their high values, thereby increasing efficiency and fulfillment for all parties involved.
  8.  Embrace Authenticity and transcend Subordination: Recognize the traits you admire in others also lies within yourself, thereby breaking free of the pitfalls of idolizing others and attempting to live by their injected set of values instead of your own highest values.
  9. Keep a Record of Priorities: Whether digitally or on paper, maintain a documented list of your priorities to ensure focus and productivity.
  10. Live by Your Highest Values: Align your daily actions with your highest values to live a life of inspiration, efficiency, and effectiveness, devoid of burnout or boredom.

If you're looking to deeply understand prioritization and values and transform burnout and boredom into fulfillment and inspiration, then sign up to attend the Breakthrough Experience. This program effectively helps you transition from inefficiency to daily inspiration and productivity, fostering significant personal transformations for an inspired and empowered life. One where you have the opportunity to thrive in what you love every day.


Are you ready for the NEXT STEP?

If you’re seriously committed to your own growth, if you’re ready to make a change now and you’d love some help doing so, then book a FREE Discovery call with a member of the Demartini Team so we can take you through your mini power assessment session.

You’ll come away with a 3-step action plan and the foundation to empower your life.


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