Knowing it is one thing…giving yourself permission is quite another

Women are 60% more likely to suffer from job stress and burnout than men. There’s a massive difference between stopping the progression of burnout and preventing it.

Burnout: client story shared with client’s permission

When I first started working with this client, she had a pattern of getting really run down about once every 3-4 months. Sometimes the cold would turn into tonsillitis and she would be forced to stop for a day. She would quickly reset and be back up and running immediately. 

This is a pattern I see so commonly with women on the path to burnout. 

There were other more subtle signs too. She had become quite serious and controlled, often cancelling plans with friends so she could get work done or prepare everything she needed for the next day. Her head felt overloaded with thoughts and she often ruminated on situations.

After playing close attention to her basic needs e.g. sleep, food, water, exercise etc the illness cycle discontinued. I like to think of basic needs as refilling your battery level to wherever it was before you went into energy deficit. So, if you have depleted yourself over a period of time to 60% then consistently taking care of your basic needs prevents that battery level from depleting further.

But that’s still only 60%!

So how do we get that 40% back? Those are the things that really fill you up to overflowing. For me it’s cold open water swimming, meditation, yin yoga, skiing, downhill mountain biking…The things that when you do them, you are positively glowing, find peace or are bursting with life!

Ask yourself right now, does your body need to stop the depletion, or does it need to be filled back up?

Giving Yourself Permission

But knowing you need some alone time or to slow down is one thing…

…giving yourself permission is quite another.

Another client had been struggling to take a break during the day. It was a “nice to have” luxury.

She worried that self-time should be kept to personal time. But at the end of a very long day, she didn’t have enough energy left to deal with her young family’s needs, let alone her relationship or having time for herself.

She was snappy, irritable and felt huge guilt like she was being pulled in so many different directions she wasn’t doing any of them well. Waking to face the same experience time and again.

The Belief Challenge

Is there anyone you know that takes time for themselves during the working day?


What does Gemma believe about herself?

“That she is worthy of taking that time. That she is a priority and that work is not life or death, everything isn’t urgent.”

What is the consequence of you operating this way?

“It’s a cycle of stress that makes me feel more anxious and I’m unable to think or make decisions clearly because my brain is so overloaded. I’m worried that if I take the time, I won’t get everything done and everything will get out of control.”

What could you believe instead?

“That I am worthy enough.”

What would happen if you believed that?

“I would make myself a priority.”

Respecting Boundaries

Simply blocking out time in your calendar to take a break often doesn’t mean that boundary is now respected. We let morning tasks overrun or simply fill it with urgent things to do.

We have to examine what’s underneath the attachment to productivity in order to create permission to replenish those depleted batteries.

Speak Soon,


PS if you are worried about the long term implications of pre-burnout on health, relationships or your career trajectory, get clarity on your productivity attachment with a FREE 15 minute consultation call BOOK A CALL.