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How to Go from Burnout to Breakthrough

Mental Health | 0 comments

Updated April 2, 2023

You want to know how to go from burnout to breakthrough? First, let’s just take a nice big belly breath in, through and out.

What even is breakthrough? How does burnout show up in your life?

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) defines burnout as “Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.”

If you’ve ever birthed and raised a child, or if you’re an entrepreneur or an empath, you’ve probably prevented burnout a few times. I mean it’s almost part of the definition of being an entrepreneur, empath or mother – to a degree. It’s going to depend on what kind of support you have, what your lifestyle and work are like, or if you’re retired, and your financial well-being as well.

I’m guessing most people would think of burnout the way CAMH lays it out on their website: from your career. While that may be true, it can come from simply being an empath, always there for your friends, sucking up unwanted energies and pain, feeling everything far more intensely than the average person, and requiring special techniques to help you recognize and release what is not yours or what you no longer need.

What does burnout look like and how can you go from burnout to breakthrough?

  • Withdrawing from people, work or life even if you’re not an introvert.
  • Lack of sleep
  • Inability to focus
  • Your motivation walking out the back door
  • Depression
  • Pure exhaustion and not just physically
  • Falling into addictive habits
  • Wanting to isolate

To varying degrees, many of us are experiencing burnout symptoms or on the edge of it, now that we’re 3 years into the 2020s. Loneliness, divisiveness, political gaslighting, amplification of all the isms and just trying to find our way in this mess have brought many of us into burnout on a global scale.

Burnout is a call to slowwwwww down. Burnout is a call to back away from all the tasks and distractions and hold space for You… that beautiful soul that lives within your body, plus your amazing body that continues to flow life through you.

Your soul signed up to experience this amazing planetary shift. I don’t believe that our souls knew exactly how it would all unfold – they just knew that we needed to be alive on Mother Earth at this time for this shift.

2 years ago I received a spiritual vision and message about going from burnout to breakthrough:

You were encoded with exactly what you need to not only get through this surreal situation but to actually co-create new ways of being with each other and all our relations – all life on our planet. By the way, that includes all life on Mother Earth, right down to sand, rocks and soil.

Please take a 2 minute breathing break right here, right now. Your breath is your gateway from burnout to breakthrough.

Breathe slowly and gently into your lungs and draw the breath down into your belly and through your whole being before exhaling. Now imagine there’s a tap in front of you that turns down the volume on other people’s energies and emotions. Go ahead and turn down the tap. After 2 minutes of breathing and holding space ONLY for YOU, feel free to turn it back up to whatever degree of connection you want.

We can’t erase our connection to each other but we can turn down the volume on how much we FEEL from that connection. We can also create and uphold personal and energetic boundaries.

Come back home to YOU first.

To make positive change, we first must acknowledge and accept what’s in our experience right now. To do that, we have to come back to centre, and that’s not always easy when you’re soaking up everyone else’s energies by default. Come back home to YOU first, and get grounded.

HOT TIP: Acceptance and acknowledgement are not the same as resigning yourself to circumstances that suck. This concept used to confuse me. I wondered how you’re supposed to accept “what is” when that’s what you want to change.

The secret is: You don’t have to like your present situation. Just accept that here it is and here you are, and here is your desire to change it.

Rather than resigning to your circumstances, let them co-exist with you, get to know them, thank them, and tap into your desire and vision for the blessings that are always on their way to you.

Remember, you are not your circumstances. You are a divine being experiencing your own unique version of life.

Losing my son suddenly and unexpectedly showed me that when you open your mind to expect the unexpected, you end up feeling kind of prepared for whatever shows up. That’s because you’re activating, growing and using your resilience.

2 years ago I made a HUGE life-changing move but first I made peace with my circumstances and then I tapped into my desire and vision and created a new life experience. I’m using those same steps now to improve my health.

Burn the boats? Or equip them with lifejackets and better navigation?

You might have heard the expression “burn the boats.” I have never ascribed to the full-on version of “burning the boats” that I have heard from many a high end business coach, which talks about burning any possible way to get you back to whatever you are leaving behind in a big leap.

As a person who has lived with depression and trauma all my life, I can’t “burn the boats” without knowing I have a great plan PLUS a backup plan. I need to know that whatever the 2020s have in store for us, I will be able to find my way through and leave the next 7 generations with the blood memory of my resilience, creativity and compassion for self and others.

So here’s to lifejackets and better navigation!

Trauma and Burnout

When you live with trauma, burnout can make it worse but you can still go from burnout to breakthrough with these tips and the right support.

It helps a LOT to find healthy self-soothing practices and have tools, resources, supports and plans for major life transitions like moving. Creating a workable backup plan or two relaxes the nervous system and allows you to expand while still feeling a sense of safety. Again, a backup plan is not your way to go backwards or stay in a bad situation. It’s to help you flow towards something better, to keep the energy moving in the direction of your desire.

Most of us are experiencing some level of trauma and/or burnout. I’ve talked before about how these times are incredibly similar to my whole journey of losing my son to murder. Shock, depression, anxiety, fear, grief, confusion, anger, denial, re-traumatization and even chronic pain all came from my son being murdered,. That is what many people – especially highly sensitive, marginalized and racialized people – have been going through to some degree. Then when you go to expand and make big life transitions like moving, getting a new job, or worse, losing someone, you can get triggered into one of those states and your ego-mind will do its job and put you right back into the familiar (comfort zones).

So how do you say YES to your soul’s desires and deal with the trauma that gets triggered by just even thoughts about making big changes during this tumultuous time in our history?

Change Your Life with Self-Compassion

  • Accept and acknowledge your experience and your circumstances.
  • Tap into your desire and your inner visionary (we all have one).
  • Let your higher and inner guidance show you your next steps and your bigger vision. Remember to BREATHE so you can access that higher and inner guidance.
  • Make a plan and implement it the best you can.
  • Get whatever support you can access.
  • Make at least one backup plan. If things go off the rails, you will have another way through.
  • Have ways to hold extra space for yourself.
  • Download our free care package “4 Ways to Fill Your empty Cup to Overflowing.”
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Keep letting Spirit lead you.
  • Don’t get too hard on yourself when things get rough.

Here’s the reminder I use to go easy on myself and love myself up. “I Love You” is a self-compassion song that came to me after my son died. Or check out the whole playlist on my YouTube.

Love & Blessings,


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About Brenda MacIntyre

About Brenda MacIntyre

Known by her indigenous name Medicine Song Woman, Brenda MacIntyre has shared her evocative melodic voice and fusion of reggae, rap and indigenous hand drum healing music with appreciative audiences of 30 to 3,000 across North America. The Toronto-based Juno Award-winning singer has been featured nationally on MuchMusic, CTV, CP24, APTN and most recently, Global and the front page of the Toronto Star.

Powered by her grief from losing her son to murder in 2016, Brenda MacIntyre pours her soulful voice over a confluence of indigenous hand drum healing, soft rap and conscious roots reggae in her album “Picking Up the Pieces,” released in September 2019.

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