What is A Burnout ?

Last Update: August 01, 2016

Just because you decided to be your own boss and you are doing something you love, doesn't mean Mr. Burn Out won't hit you in the face one day or another !

I should know... I'm a BurnOut expert! =) I've got years and years of burning out and recovering lol.

The reason is I naturally don't really have limits when it comes to working hours and setting goals. It takes me very long to feel tiredness and by the time I think "hey I think I'm exhausted now ", I realize I haven't put a foot out of the house or done much for myself. And it's too late. It's bad, I KNOW! =)


But what is a Burn Out?


Well, simply put, occupational burn out is psychological stress. When burnt (burned?) out you will feel exhausted and your enthusiasm or motivation will be the size of pinhead. You will be less efficient at most tasks, even the most basic ones (because you're tired and weary) and all this will gradually lead to a lot of frustration. Your nerves will most likely (I want to say inevitably) break.

I hear many people say "damn I am so burned out at the moment", but I think there is a confusion between a real, psychological and health endangering burn out and a "I'm fed up with my job at the moment but I'll keep it" temporary state of mind. You know what I mean? Being burned out is really serious and can lead to depression, insomnia and more very unpleasant conditions.


The Road to Burn Out


Being a burnout expert lol, I have read a lot about it... One thing I've learned and noticed is that the burn out process is commonly divided into 12 steps or phases. You will not always go through aaaall the below phases but you are bound to experience a few of them at least, "lol"

This is from wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupational_burnout)

1) The compulsion to prove oneself :
Often found at the beginning is excessive ambition. The desire to prove oneself in the workplace turns into compulsion.

2) Working harder :
Because they have to prove themselves to others or try to fit in an organization that does not suit them, people establish high personal expectations. In order to meet these expectations, they tend to focus solely on work while they take on more work than they otherwise would. It may happen that they become obsessed with doing everything themselves to show that they are irreplaceable.

3) Neglecting their needs :
Since they have to devote everything to work, they now have no time and energy for anything else. Friends and family, eating and sleeping start to be seen as unnecessary or unimportant, as they reduce the time and energy that can be spent on work.

4) Displacement of conflicts :
They become aware that what they are doing is not right, but they are unable to see the source of the problem. This may lead to a crisis in themselves and become threatening. The first physical symptoms appear.

5) Revision of values :
While falling into a state of denial of basic physical needs, perceptions and value systems change. Work consumes all energy, leaving none for friends and hobbies. The job is the new value system and people start to become emotionally blunt.

6) Denial of emerging problems :
People may become intolerant and dislike being social. They may be seen as aggressive and sarcastic. Problems may be blamed on time pressure and all the work that they have to do.

7) Withdrawal :
Minimal social contact turns into isolation. Alcohol or drugs may be used as a release from obsessive working "by the book". These people often have feelings of being without hope or direction.

8) Obvious behavioral changes :
Coworkers, family, friends and others in their immediate social circles cannot overlook the behavioral changes in these people.

9) Depersonalization :
It is possible that they no longer see themselves or others as valuable. Their view of life narrows to only seeing the moment and life turns to a series of mechanical functions.

10) Inner emptiness :
They feel empty inside and may exaggerate activities such as overeating or sex to overcome these feelings.

11) Depression :
Burnout may include depression. In that case, the person is exhausted, hopeless, indifferent, and believes that life has no meaning.

12) Burnout syndrome :
They collapse physically and emotionally and need immediate medical attention. In extreme cases, suicidal ideation may occur, with it being viewed as an escape from their situation. Only a few people will actually commit suicide.

I am particularly familiar with the following phases : excessive ambition, working harder, neglecting my needs, revision of values, depression and well, the burnout syndrome.


How to Avoid Mr. BurnOut


1 - Take breaks. And I mean real breaks!

What I do now is I set an alarm, because otherwise I know I will never stop working. I work one hour, the alarm rings, then take a 10-15 minutes break. During that break I will do some yoga, go for a walk or just sit there and do nothing! Anything that has nothing to do with work and is not on the computer (or any screen) will work

2 - Delegate or get rid of unnecessary work

You wouldn't believe the amount of things we do every day, that are completely unnecessary lol. We can waste so much time doing basically nothing lol. And yet, we put much pressure on our shoulders doing this "unnecessary thing", go figure! =)

3 - Listen to your body - it knows better than you!

Do you feel like throwing up? Do you have a knot in your stomach? Do you feel uncomfortable, for no apparent reason? Is your heart beating unusually fast? Do you have trouble sleeping? Are your hands shaking?

Your body is your best friend, it will tell you if something is wrong ! Trust it.

4 - Take Care of Yourself

Eat. Eat healthy food. Drink water throughout the day. Exercice. Have fun. Laugh a lot! See friends and family. Do things that make you happy, as much as you can because working must not be the only thing you do. Working too much will not lead you to success faster. It will lead you to the hospital faster lol. Or at least it will turn you into something close to a zombie.

5 - Confide in someone

You don't want to be alone in this. Being on the verge of burning out or being already burnt out is really stressful and it does help to have someone you can talk to : a family member, a close friend, a significant other... a pet? Anyone, just make sure you're not alone.

6 - Relax

In the end nothing really matters, you know? :) Take a deep breath and let go of everything

7 - Set small goals

Don't be either over confident nor over ambitious. Setting small goals will help you achieve small successes all the time and you will feel good about what you do. Don't be too hard on yourself because it would be the best way to take the "burn out" slippery road

Other tips :

- get a cat =) their purring is so comforting and relaxing!

- use essential oils to diminish stress (antemis nobilis, laurus nobilis, citrus aurantium, origanum compactum, origanum majorana, citrus sinensis, artemisia dracunculus, lippia citriodora, citrus aurantium ssp aurantium)

- practice martial arts to relieve stress

- play an instrument

- grab a book and go out, find a nice tree or a cozy café and read

- learn to say "no" (mostly to yourself, but to others as well) =)


Hope this will help you guys! If you think you are burning out and don't know who to talk to, remember I'm here =)

Cheers

Sarah

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kacypony Premium
This was a great and very helpful. I have gone through all these phases before... really not fun. I will definitely use your tips to keep from burning out again.
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BelieveItYes Premium
Always happy to help ! =) Hope you won't get burned out again
Take care
Sarah
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Surfdude123 Premium
Great tips. I was an overachiever and then got burned out after 20 something years. Fell into a depression, stopped working and finally just gave up altogether. I have learned to stop competing, stop wanting more and to stop looking for something that doesn't exist. Some would say now I am a slacker but Ive been a US Marine, A Navy reservist, a tow truck driver, a loader, a cook and an electrician among other things. I don't do much anymore but that's ok. The world can go on without me....:)
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BelieveItYes Premium
Thanks for sharing your story and thanks for saying this : "the world can go on without me"... it impacted on me
Take care
Sarah
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LAUGHsMILES Premium
One of the best guru's in the world...you inspire me to aspire to higher thinking. Never in my life have I ever wanted to just get on my roof and scream in excitement as I do right now. Which means in two minutes cause I live in the woods and have the freedom to do so. I will.
Ciao!
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BelieveItYes Premium
ahah I so envy you ! living in the woods is like one of my top 10 dreams ! My parents live in the woods so I often go there to meditate and remember there's life out there (which there isn't in the city, cities make me die lol)
Oh and I'm not a guru lol.... don't say that ... I'm Sarah, just Sarah (Harry Potter fans will smile at this)
How was the screaming on the roof btw? =D
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LAUGHsMILES Premium
Perfection! in the mornings I have 'quite time' focus on the things I desire for the day and at the false dawn set about them. But at night I get expel and that is wonderful. expel the excess and dream of tomorrow. which when things happen as I dreamed them to be well I get wigged out and get mad when things don't happen as I thought cause I know how it works and it should work all the time, you know.
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BelieveItYes Premium
I like that and I like the way you express yourself ! =)

I have been working all day, I should stop lol otherwise who I am to give people advice on how to avoid burning out .... ;)
Talk soon
Sarah
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Ultimateless Premium
This is a really good post Sarah! You make very valid points...I love point 6: In the end nothing really matters, you know? :) Take a deep breath and let go of everything.

One thing I might add which people don't do often enough is celebrate very small victories....often they only concern themselves with the 'big win' and when it is not forthcoming they worry and work even harder.....celebrating small wins means you will get lots more and they build up into a big win.

I hope people will take your post to heart it could save them a trip to the doctor or psychiatrist!
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BelieveItYes Premium
Thanks =) and you are very right about celebrating small successes. I mentioned this very important (crucial) step in a different blog but it definitely would help not burn out. It goes hand in hand with setting small goals and going forward one step at a time. Being too ambitious can lead to a fast and devastating burn out lol
Anyway, I do hope this post can help people
Take care
Sarah
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Ultimateless Premium
I love your latest painted face!
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BelieveItYes Premium
Thank you! =) It's a deer/bambi inspired makeup. I love it too and didn't want to wash it off yesterday ahah

I will edit the video later today and post it on youtube!
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Ultimateless Premium
Good!
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varleysheen Premium
I have massive burnout at the moment purely because my hard work isn't paying off I can't get page 1 at all lots of page 2 and page 3 but not a single page 1
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BelieveItYes Premium
I understand... don't worry page one will happen. How long have you been working on your website? page 2 or 3 is already a good start, it means it's working.
I'm sure you have all the resource you need here to become a master at using keywords... it just takes time.. it took me months for my first page to be on page 1. Some of my posts will make the 1st page, some look like they never will and I don't know why... because I thought I had really little competition and wrote a good post lol.
How many pages and posts do you have? How many are on page 2 or 3?
Don't despair... it will happen
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varleysheen Premium
Been at it for 9 months!! have 5 or so on page 2 out of 60 posts made a lot of mistakes in the early days.

I get more frustrated at seeing posts with no content or thin content at the top of the page
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BelieveItYes Premium
Well to me it doesn't sound too bad... like I said it took me months to get my first page on the 1st page of google.
I understand your frustration.
Have you tried asking for help about keywords? Do you pick a QSR that's below 300 or below that? I always try to pick keywords that are below 50 actually... the closer to 0.
Choosing the right keywords can take me hours... but it's worth it.
Maybe your website just needs a bit more time, especially if you made mistakes (we all do) in the early days.
Do you use social media to share your posts and pages? Do you also try and rank your images? Do you have enough comments on your posts and pages? All this can make a difference I guess
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varleysheen Premium
I have over 100 comments on some posts, social media I am all over all in all almost 1200 comments between 60 posts so that ain't to bad I dont know I need to write more but motivation is dwindling
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BelieveItYes Premium
I know the feeling =/.... I have wanted to give up so many times... things go slowly in comparison to all the efforts we make, but it'll pay off.
If you feel something's wrong I'm sure someone here can help you, review your website, share their tips.
Perhaps you can create a post about "ranking on search engines" and let people share their tips, tricks, experience and how to?

Take a break and let go for a while. There's no point trying when motivation is dwindling. Don't give up but just take a break
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varleysheen Premium
Wont give up payed for a year and bought my domain for 5 years people say my site is decent just need time but there is not date in this business
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Ultimateless Premium
Have a five year goal.......it's only then that you will achieve a measure of success...pace yourself and check out what other people in your field are doing....main thing is this is a career and will take a lot of time building...be patient with it and grow with it. If you can't do posts as often as you like go to someone else's site and make meaningful comments...do that for a week and leave your site to incubate for a while...it isn't going anywhere...it will still be there when you get back.....
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LisaFranks Premium
I am like you when it comes to working. I don't know when to take a break. The difference with me is that I also have a husband who has MS and I enjoy caring for him, so my breaks usually involve doing something for him. Another thing I enjoy doing is going for a drive (something I am not able to do yet, in Spain). I go for walks, help to keep our community clean by scooping some cat stuff, take care of our cats, a homeless cat and a neighbour's cat also. I guess I just like to keep busy with whatever.

Enjoyed this post, thank you :)
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BelieveItYes Premium
Thank you for reading it! =) and thank you for sharing your story it makes me feel less alone.
What is MS ? Is it multiple sclerosis? My mom has it too ....
Good luck, blessings
Sarah
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DanOIS Premium
I can identify strongly with most elements on the burnout list.

Even when I am not working I am still thinking about work and this makes sleep difficult.

Ironically, in spite of such obsessive focus, the fruits of my efforts are negligible.

Maybe it's time for a break and a different perspective.
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BelieveItYes Premium
I know the feeling about thinking about work when you're supposed to sleep lol...

Every little thing you do will add up and create success, don't give up. As you said, just take a break and get back to work when you have cleared your head

Cheers
Sarah
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JewelCarol Premium
Hey Sarah dear, such an awesome post, I think I am too hard on myself too, need to learn to relax, lol. Thanks very much!! ;))
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BelieveItYes Premium
I know what you mean... lol, yes take it easy, be kind to yourself. You are the best you can be, you are awesome! =)
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MKearns Premium
Good to hear your thoughts Sarah. You have a great buddy there to help calm things down.
comment est le petit chat.
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BelieveItYes Premium
=D thanks I might bug you from time to time! lol
Juliette is doing well, still as cute as ever but she's growing too fast... I love it so much when they're so tiny
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TonyMonzon Premium
hey Sarah,
I've been on burn out mode since I started WA, but I like it. Knowing that I'm building my future is what keeps me going. The cat thing seems like a pretty good idea. ;0)
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BelieveItYes Premium
Hmmmmm you do need to take a break if you've been in burnout mode since you started WA. Take time to take care of yourself or your family, forget about work, at least for a day (half a day if it's too much lol)

My cats give me so much love and help me relax a lot... I watch them play without thinking about anything, I take a nap with them and fall asleep listening to their purring.... I can not live without cats lol
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TonyMonzon Premium
That's great advice, thanks Sarah! ;0)
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theresroth Premium
Good one, Sarah, liked the one about getting a cat, they can help release stowed emotions.....☺
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BelieveItYes Premium
I love love love love cats lol, I wish I had all the cats in the world.. but then i would have to have a really big property so they don't fight for their territory ^^
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NorahJ Premium
Irv asked me the other day if I'd taken on too much and I said no and I've been thinking about it since and the answer is actually yes. Little goals will be my saving grace I think - I'm just trying to do too much at the minute. This post is worth saving. Thanks
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BelieveItYes Premium
Sorry for the late answer, I've been so busy (but not burning out, I promise ^^)
I hope you are feeling good and not putting too much pressure on your shoulders. Do take a break, relax and go one step at a time
Thanks for reading my post
All the best
Sarah
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Miren Premium
Thanks for sharing!! It's very interesting and useful. I can identify with some of these phases, especially neglecting my needs, emptiness and depression.
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BelieveItYes Premium
You are most welcome dear murmaid =)
Take care of yourself, be gentle
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Demcho Premium
Well Sarah :-)) I'm on the verge of burnout, actually I passed through one definitely, now getting stronger fast, but it was true burnout. I had dreams 2.-3 nights in a row - it's dark, suddenly a thousands of light dots starts to appear and they forming a globe and fast enough contouring and filling in contours the continents. And I feel every of that dot like a small pinch :-)) Crazy...Was two days useless...nobody couldn't say to me anything, I immediately start to yell :-))...it lasted for couple of days and now ending..I'm super, but tired...yep!..there is burnout...watch out people :-)

best wishes :-)
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gmegs Premium
This is great Sarah - thanks!
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BelieveItYes Premium
Thanks! you're welcome =)
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Cherish7 Premium
You be doing your thing Sarah that is a very good post.
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BelieveItYes Premium
Thanks a lot! I appreciate it!
Blessings
Sarah
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SZev Premium
Great idea for a post, this is very real and you've provided some good tips, thanks Sarah!
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BelieveItYes Premium
Thank you, it means a lot to me! I was a starting to feel a bit "stressed" when I decided to write this post... I thought "hmmm maybe I'm not the only one who's working too much, maybe this post would help" =)
Cheers
Sarah
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MPollock Premium
Great advice
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BelieveItYes Premium
Glad you liked this post !
Blessings
Sarah
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NatNiches Premium
Great post and very useful, thank you sarah :)
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BelieveItYes Premium
Thank you for the kind words! You're welcome =)
See you around!
Sarah
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lynnsam61 Premium
Sarah,
Great post and helpful suggestion on how to prevent it from happening in the first place. Recognizing the symptoms can help prevent full-blown burnout.
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BelieveItYes Premium
Thank you, I'm glad I can help
Take care
Sarah
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Kti Premium
Thanks Sarah.
I totally recognize myself in the words above. I burnt myself out once and now my new motto is: your body is talking to you, listen to it. It's not always easy, especially when you have lots to do, but I try to stick to it.
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BelieveItYes Premium
I love your motto as it is mine too. My body is smarter than my silly mind ^^
Take care
Sarah
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ClaudiaHB Premium
very informative, thank you!
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BelieveItYes Premium
thanks, glad you liked it!
Take care
Sarah
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maxser67 Premium
Well, I was inches from banging my head to the wall this spring.
Did 1,5 years ago and didn't want to be burned out again so I put all my work here away for a while, on my way back again :)
When I was burned out I was home for about 5 weeks, just laying down staring at the ceiling.

Great post!
Next time my head is closing up the wall I know were to read :)
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BelieveItYes Premium
=/ I hope you won't burn out again. Be alert to your body's warning. It's really more trustworthy than our mind lol
I have my share of staring at the ceiling too although my specialty is "crying" until I am tearless ....

Thanks for stopping by
Take care
Sarah
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MelSeconds Premium
Very good info. It does happen to most people doing the same thing over and over again.
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BelieveItYes Premium
Yes, burning out and work overload is a very common thing
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stevecox Premium
Very helpful Sarah ! Especially on Mondays !
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BelieveItYes Premium
=D thanks and you're welcome! have a great week !
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SteveCrozza Premium
So true Sarah, I think that applies to a lot of us in here. I know, because I was up to 3am the other night and since then I have not been as productive.

Lesson learned? for me? I doubt it, I will most likely do it again!!

We need to strive for discipline ... mmm, good one!

Thanx for your post
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BelieveItYes Premium
Yeah, as far as I'm concerned, not burning out requires massive discipline lol. I am very very disciplined when it comes to working but NOT when it comes to taking care of myself and taking breaks ahahah annoying isn't it? =D
Take care
Sarah
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AlexEvans Premium
Really good info Sarah thank you.
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BelieveItYes Premium
Glad you liked it! thanks =)
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JudeP Premium
Thanks for the valuable info :)
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BelieveItYes Premium
Sure =) glad I can help
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NRosales Premium
Thanks Sarah for sharing and knowing there is someone to listen when experiencing burnout makes me feel I will not be alone.
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BelieveItYes Premium
Thank you for taking the time to read my post =) and glad it can help
Blessings
Sarah
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lenead Premium
Wow, thanks so much for sharing and taking the time to inform us about the danger of burn -out and may possible remedies. Such great advice!

Arlene
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BelieveItYes Premium
You are most welcome =D I'm always happy to help
See you around, take care
Sarah
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