This blog post first appeared as a Guest Post on 25th July, 2018 for DrivenWoman

Life isn’t always easy. We’re all going to have, or have had, our fair share of shitty things happening in-between the amazingly good stuff. That’s life. Imagine a blissful truly uncomplicated life.… could get a tad boring if everything was just plain sailing.

You certainly wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn and grow that’s for sure. You need to start believing in the power within you to change how you experience the ‘bad’ things in life.  In doing so, you’ll be able to deal with the downs easier instead of being consumed by them and burning out completely before you listen and finally decide to take action.  But sometimes it’s not easy to listen especially when we don’t see the signs, which is why I created this checklist to help you identify them – to help  you listen.


What are Life’s Challenges?

I think we should look at life’s challenges as ‘tests,’ designed for you, so you can pass them and learn the lesson you are here to learn. That’s not to say that you’ll pass unscathed. Let me vouch for that.  You may pass with flying colours or fail miserably but the appreciation of the lesson, the experience, is that you were able to pass it and move on in the knowing that you’ve learnt something positive from the seemingly negative experience.  

The real learning comes when you become deeply aware of the lesson you were here to learn because you chose to listen, surrender and have faith in the knowing that you are now on the right path.

Burnout To Brilliance

Learning to Listen

Considering my life’s journey, and from the experiences I’ve had along the way, I can honestly say I didn’t listen to my Self for a very long time (like a reeeealllly long time!). I constantly repeated the same old patterns and habits within my relationships and with life.

Good times were the foundations on which I built my professional and personal life.  However, after each positive experience I knew that something would be waiting just around the corner to topple and destroy the foundations I had built.

Like a hurricane, it came in full force taking everything I’d built, ripping it to pieces, the security, the happiness and the joy tumbling down before me because this was my internal programming, this was my story.

In all this chaos, the same questions came up.

Why was I constantly feeling I had to prove myself to gain acceptance?

Why did I have to push myself to the limits? Why did I feel I was never good enough? Why did I feel so helpless, scared, fearful? Why did I feel dirty, abused and cheap? Why couldn’t I look in the mirror and love unconditionally the person that was staring back at me? Why did I punish her through constant abuse be it through alcohol, drugs, sex, self-harm, eating disorders? What induced this lack of self-respect, feelings of worthlessness and lack of self-esteem?

It was the THIRD (and final) burnout 6 years ago which caused me to sit-up and take notice that it was about time I started listening to my higher Self, to change or re-program the hard-drive (= the mind) if I was to survive this life with integrity.

Dr Dina Glouberman (talk about synchronicity!)  in her book ‘The Joy of Burnout’ (2002:49-50) helped me realise why I had finally reached this point:

“Burnout is the state of mind, body and spirit reached by those of us who have come to the end of a particular road but haven’t acknowledged it emerge out of any situation or relationship where we put our creativity in the service of our passion or heart, our belief, our identity or our belonging.  And rather than being cured, it needs to be honoured and listened to.”

And listen and honour it I did!

So, what did I discover about burnout?

Burnout is about finally being forced to listen to your true Self. It’s about acknowledging that you need to make a different choice.  Burnout is that voice telling us what we’re doing or being is no longer serving us – whether this is within your professional or personal life.  It’s telling you to stop, re-think and re-evaluate your life and find a new way forward.   Identifying the signs you may be burning out are not always easy. The ‘Am I burning out?’ checklist is based on many of the things I was feeling or noticing – but ignored, until burnout forced me to listen.

Burnout is about learning new habits, letting go of those that no longer serve you so that you can find true inner balance to continue shining brightly at work and at home.

In closing, I want to ask you to reflect on the following questions:

  • Where are you in life and where is it your Self wants to go?
  • Who is your Self destined to be?
  • Have you come to the end of a particular road and aren’t acknowledging it?
  • And, finally, are you listening?

Burnout happens for a reason. It’s a chance for renewal, a chance to re-ignite and re-vision your life. Pass the test, learn the lesson, and finally become the person you are destined to be.



  1. Ioannis Ioannou

    Excellent read Dina
    I haven’t pushed the checklist but can relate to a lot of the above paragraphs that you have shared about your everyday trials & tribulations on your life’s journey & inevitably leading to your burnout episodes. Thank you for sharing x

    • Dina

      Thanks so much for your encouraging words. I’m just happy that we’re now, more than ever, able to talk about our mental health issues. Burnout is painfully real – but if we turn it on its head and look at the positive effects it can have on our lives, then incredible things can happen. We just need to listen.


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