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Don't Shrug Like Atlas: Overcome Burnout

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Thursday, November 16, 2023

If you’re reading this, you are among the hardest-working people on the planet. You are a prime mover–An entrepreneur. An elite athlete. A master in your field.

The heart and soul you pour into your work make it exciting. You aspire to enhance people’s lives through your creativity, innovation, and determination.

Getting your idea, business, or brand off the ground is like getting a giant steel, 100,000-pound airplane to stay up in the air. It takes never-ending effort, lift, and thrust.

It’s like you’re Atlas, shouldering the weight of the world.

On average, prime movers like you put in well over 40 work hours a week. Long hours. Odd hours. Through lunch breaks. Over weekends, holidays, and vacations.

What does that kind of work do to a person mentally and physically?

Round-the-clock work can burn out the most well-oiled machine. It can exhaust you to the point that you lose your focus and your ‘Why,’ like Atlas shrugging and walking away from the world he was holding up.

Don’t let burnout cause you to leave your hopes and dreams behind. Learn how to recognize and cope with it so you never give up, continuing to create the fulfilling life you want.



We often turn stress into one villainous anti-hero. However, it isn’t the evil thing we have made out to be.

Stressors can be good. They light the fire underneath us to move us toward progress.

Zero stress is the pimply-faced teen playing video games all night before school. That’s not a good frame of mind to be in.

Stress gets your blood pumping and your brain synapses firing. You’re energized and ready to face obstacles.

Stress isn’t bad, so our goal shouldn’t be zero stress. We need it for motivation and progress.

However, unmanaged stress over long periods is. Combine it with insufficient rest, hydration, and nutrition, and burnout will undoubtedly rear its ugly head. Let’s look at signs that you are overstressed and nearing or experiencing burnout.


Warning Signs of Burnout

  • Exhaustion or seriously depleted energy. You’re tired even after a full night’s sleep. Using artificial stimulants like caffeine is like putting a bandaid on a broken bone. You’ll end up with rebound fatigue after it leaves your system. Plus, stimulants can further deplete your adrenals, creating a vicious cycle.​
  • Forgetfulness. You are forgetting things you usually wouldn’t–important birthdays, anniversaries, deadlines, and meetings. Your brain will be in such a fog that you lose focus and productivity. Additionally, your forgetfulness will lead others to lose their trust in you.
  • Irritability. You are on edge and angry most of the time. Maybe you don’t even realize it, but a friend, colleague, or loved one calls you out on it. Please take it as the intervention you need. Tantrums are for children without the necessary coping skills and abilities to deal with challenging situations. In adults, it’s a sign of something more serious.
  • You’re sicker, quicker. Too much stress for too long depletes your immune system and opens you up to diseases. If you keep going down with the common cold, the flu, or stomach bug, you should prioritize your self-care goals a little more before a serious illness takes hold.
  • Overwhelm. You have so much running through your mind that you can't move. You can’t take the first step to start anything. The longer you sit immobilized, the more overwhelmed you get. The more overwhelmed you get, the longer you sit, immobilized.

Preventing and Overcoming Burnout

You’ll have bad days, that’s life. You can’t be motivated 24/7/365. When the bad days outweigh the good, follow these steps:


1. Hit Pause

Stop what you’re doing. It may seem counterintuitive when your productivity is already suffering. However, it’s time to perform a self-inspection to keep you running smoother and longer.


2. Find The Root Cause

Like inspecting any vehicle or machine, you’re looking for a root cause of your symptoms. Do some self-analysis and ask yourself a few questions: Are you too overwhelmed to do anything? Does life seem meaningless? Do your big feelings of anger, depression, or being in over your head come and go? Journal your feelings to discover patterns, like how long your negativity lasts and when it’s the strongest.


3. Rest And Reset

Take some time off work. Increase your sleep. Reflect on where you think you went wrong. For instance, did you stay up late too many nights? Was your workload too much? Are finances troubling you? Take a night, day, or several days off. Your productivity will improve as a result. Socially reconnect because the human spirit thrives on it. Spend time with friends and family. Pursue your hobbies.


4. Establish A New Routine

Consider restructuring your schedule to have a holistic approach to life and business. Remember, as a human being, you must fulfill some basic requirements to keep your body in good condition. You need to get enough sleep (6-8 hours), exercise, social interaction, and relaxation.


5. Get Yourself Accountability

Find one or a few accountability partners you can tell about your new changes. They’ll check in on you and make sure you hold up your end of the bargain with yourself. Your partners can be anybody, even a virtual group who checks in through a software app or social media.


6. Just Say No

There are only so many hours in a day. You will have to say no to people to manage your time efficiently. You can always politely explain how much you would love to do the thing they want you to do but can’t.



Persistent negative feelings are signs it’s time to slow down, self-reflect, and make some life changes. A lack of interest, emotion, or feeling depressed are huge warning signs, too. Don’t wait until you’re ready to throw it all away like Atlas.

As a prime mover, you are likely no stranger to finding quality partners, coaches, and mentors. Preventing and handling burnout is no different. Find partners or a mental health coach to help you overcome adversity, riding life’s or your business’ highs and lows.

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