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  • Writer's pictureCait Donovan

Donna Stewart: Balancing Energy Input and Energy Output

Updated: Oct 1, 2022

“Every time I've burned out, I've learned a little more about what I need to feel fed by my work. You expend a lot of energy doing the work and so if you're not getting that energy back, you end up with this deficit and that is, to me, the crux of burnout. - Donna Stewart

Donna is a 25 year veteran of healthcare and has burned out at least four times. Having battled back time and again, she now enjoys a peaceful little acupuncture practice in Portland, Oregon.



I first burned out about a year after graduating from physical therapy school. I changed jobs, then burned out again. I changed jobs, got bored, changed again, burned out again, got laid off, felt stuck in a dead-end. I went to acupuncture school, graduated, burned out, changed my job, got so burned out I nearly lost my practice, battled back, and am currently actively fending off burnout. CAIT'S NOTES: This episode reminded me that when we're burnt out, it's so easy to forget all the energetic inputs that are available to us. As soon as you feel resentful because you're doing too much, you've essentially blocked off your ability to notice the good that comes in, the input, the positive things that should be feeding a sense of fulfillment. I know that in my life as an entrepreneur, it's easy to feel put out - it's easy to feel like you're doing all this extra damn work that no one notices. On top of that, those feelings start spilling over into your life, your relationships and it sets everything off-kilter. When I'm feeling burnt out at work, I'm more annoyed in my relationship when I: cook, do the grocery shopping, do laundry, etc. etc. etc. So much so, that I don't pay as much attention to all the things that are getting done that I didn't need to take care of. I start to feel like I am 'owed' so I don't feel grateful, I just feel like things are finally getting 'even'. It's a terrible way to live that breeds resentment and irritation. So, as a way to avoid burnout, take some time to look at your business and know, truly know, what you're getting from it. Money isn't enough. Make a list. Keep it somewhere you can see it. Practice being grateful for it (yes! you can build bigger gratefulness muscles with practice!). And be sure you know when you're feeling put out so that you can right the ship again. Listen to this week's episode in the player above or find it on your favorite player here: XOXO C


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