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  • Writer's pictureCait Donovan

Annie McDonnell: Busting Through Burnout Associated Analysis Paralysis

Updated: Oct 1, 2022


Annie McDonnell is a licensed acupuncturist with additional training in vibrational acupuncture with tuning forks, sound healing with singing bowls, breathwork, gua sha facial rejuvenation, Western herbalism, and other holistic techniques. With a background as a children’s book editor dealing with deadline pressure and creative challenges, Annie feels passionate about guiding people in how to relieve stress, optimize their physical and emotional health, and reclaim joy.


I felt lucky to work in children’s book publishing, but a few years ago I had been at the same company for 18 years, with an intense workload, lots of deadline pressure, and a difficult boss; I also did freelance projects the majority of weekends. I had a vague longing for something more fulfilling but felt too stuck/overwhelmed/exhausted/unconfident to make a change. I spent more than a decade thinking about possible career changes, with various things pointing me toward acupuncture. I finally gave myself permission to not have everything all figured out (where to find the money/time/energy/etc.) and take one step at a time, leaning into what sparked curiosity and joy. The hardest part wasn’t working full-time and going to grad school full-time, juggling freelance side gigs and family responsibilities and a social life—it was making the initial decision to take a leap of faith.

After pushing myself hard for three years, I finished school with excitement, but before I could prepare for the acupuncture boards I suffered a heart-rending breakup and then had to nurse my three elderly pets through end-of-life illnesses. Emotionally burned out, I reluctantly acknowledged that I couldn’t do everything, and put my board exams and business preparation mostly on hold while I focused on healing myself.

This summer I’ve been dealing with a flare-up of near burnout after a year of teaching myself about business, building my acupuncture practice (while still working full-time in publishing), and not yet making the progress I desire. But now I know how to take better care of myself, ask for some help/advice, and cultivate more patience and balance—continually learning to be as gentle with myself as I am with other people.


IG: @acupunctureannie

FB: @joyalchemyacupuncture


CAIT'S NOTES What I love most about my guests is their desire and willingness to share the best tips and tricks that they picked up along the burnout highway. In this episode, Annie shares with you how she finally (after 10 years!!) allowed herself to step away from decision paralysis and told me that after she started her forward motion, she was so happy to realize how much ‘energy infusion that passion and purpose give you’. Sometimes, you need a catalyst for change and one of the things that lead Annie to decide that she should at least TRY something on for size was a pair of illnesses in her family. One she gave herself the permission to see her choices as experiments that could end up ‘failing’ (being not aligned) and accepting that, she started her forward motion and hasn’t stopped yet. If you’re in NYC and are interested in acupuncture facials - I highly recommend that you book with Annie at her office, Joy Alchemy acupuncture, IMMEDIATELY. The combination of needles and sound vibration she uses is magical and everyone should experience it! Good vibes always, Cait

P.S. Crowdfunding campaign starting soon for the book that will help Women Entrepreneurs to #endburnoutculture. The best rewards will go the fastest, so get on my newsletter to be one of the first to be informed! To get on the newsletter, go to: You’ll see this form front and center:

Fill it in and you’re on! :)



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