I have heard this so many times. Strong, high-performing individuals are in denial about the extent of their exhaustion. “If only I could have a vacation” is a common sentiment many feel. Having the girl’s night out or that dream vacation will somehow cure the fatigue and frustration you are feeling.

The problem is, you can’t outrun your problems. You can’t simply take a break from your life; everything will be better when you return. That’s not how it works. If you’re feeling burnt out, you’re running on empty. You’re not taking care of yourself. You’re not doing the things that bring you joy. You’re not taking time for yourself. It’s time to reevaluate your priorities. It’s time to put yourself first. It’s time to make some changes in your life. Otherwise, you’ll never feel rested, no matter how many vacations you take.

I was once burnt out, and I was empty. I think there was also a “hole” in my tank. I was spent after over a decade running on full steam. I was loyal to my work and what I felt was a calling. I was motivated to help my patients improve their health. However, I lacked boundaries when taking on more work than I should have. Boundaries, where I let people take advantage of me, not putting my foot down, and saying, “enough is enough.” I push my physical stamina boundaries, going for days, weeks, and sometimes months, working every day. I wasn’t exercising regularly. I wasn’t taking to appreciate the moment each day and savor different experiences. I was burnt out but didn’t realize it, even when other people cautioned me that it might happen.

In a survey performed with Deloitte, they reported that 77% of the respondents reported burnout in their current job. Burnout is at an all-time high in multiple specific industries, healthcare, education, and many blue color jobs. Burnout is a result of a combination of our actions, the actions of our work, and the more extensive system in which we live; we have repeatedly had “withdrawals” in our life instead of more “deposits.” In physics, we would equate burnout as a problem with energy balance. Burnout is an energy bankruptcy.

How did we get here? We can look at several reasons, but I think it comes down to this: we have forgotten how to rest.

Our “always on” culture is constantly bombarded with messages telling us that we should be doing more, achieving more, and hustling harder. We are told that we’re not valuable if we’re not working. This message is everywhere – from the ads we see on TV to the posts we scroll through on social media. And it’s having a significant impact on our mental and physical health. We live in a world where sleep is a luxury, and taking a break is often viewed as lazy or unproductive. I have had to change my opinions on sleep and having that balance without feeling guilty.

Let us look at burnout for what it is and work on the root challenges. A superficial fix, such as a vacation, would not solve burnout. After all, how many people go on vacation and remark, shortly after returning home, “I need a vacation from the vacation.” The burnout crisis will get more complicated if we continue using bandaids to address burnout.

We often think we can just work harder and longer to compensate for the lost energy, but that is a very myopic way of looking at things. A better way of looking at it is our overall energy balance. We must understand where our energy comes from and what depletes it to do this.

There are four primary energy sources: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. When one or more of these energy sources are depleted, it can lead to burnout. To avoid burnout, we must find ways to replenish our energy to maintain a healthy balance.


  • Dr. Tomi Mitchell

    M.D | Leadership Coach| Wellness & Productivity Coach

    Dr. Tomi Mitchell Holistic Wellness Strategies

    Dr. Tomi Mitchell, MD, empowers executives, lawyers, doctors, business owners, and other leaders to eliminate burnout and increase workplace productivity and relationships.  She uses her three-step framework, Embrace, Evaluate & Energize, to empower her clients to have clarity. 

    As a public speaker and trainer, she brings energy to the crowd, captures their attention, and gives them clear, actionable steps to apply immediately to their life. Dr. Tomi Mitchell believes in getting to the root causes of life's challenges, instead of taking a temporary BandAid approach to life. She is a writer, with a book coming out in Summer 2023. She is also the host of The Mental Health & Wellness Show.  To learn more about her framework, check out the following link: Learn More.