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  • Writer's pictureCait Donovan

straightfromcait: Is It Possible to Rest Without Feeling Like a Terribly Guilty Lump?

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

If your car were a person (and let’s be honest, don’t most of us name our cars?), would it feel guilty for using up a tank of gas and needing more? The logical answer is no: our cars are designed to use fuel! And while we humans are much more complex than machines, our energetic systems function in much the same way. Just as we are designed to be on the move, we are also designed to rest.

In today’s #straightfromcait episode, I dive deep into the logic behind rest: why we need it and why it is crucial to rejuvenate before running ourselves down to empty. Learn how to begin identifying the signals that you’re getting low on fuel, why rest is energetically productive, and how to feel guilty AND still get rest.

Then, I invite you to comment either in our Facebook group or on any of the posts that accompany this week’s episode and share something that refuels you! Let’s inspire each other with our ideas about what feels like rest, so we can motivate each other to reset and rejuvenate.


  • “I am ok with you using your gas tank until you’re empty, but you should still have those 47 spare miles in the tank as you go to the gas station to fill up. So, it’s ok for you to use your energy, but it’s not ok for you to use so much of it that you need to call AAA again because you’re on the side of the road and you didn’t make it to a gas station.” (03:48-04:16)

  • “By resting and refueling your energy before you get to the critical zone, you end up saving yourself time.” (05:22-05:34)

  • “Rest is not a reward. It isn’t something that needs to be deserved. You literally use up your gas, and you need to refuel. It’s just part of how this machine works.” (06:12-06:20)

  • “When you are refueling, when you are resting, you are being productive….It is more productive to refuel when you need the gas than it is to putter out on the highway and wait two hours for a rescue.” (07:43-08:03)

  • “While we are more than machines, our energetic systems function much the same way.” (09:51-09:58)




If you know that it’s time to actually DO something about the burnout cycle you’ve been in for too long - book your free consult today:


Cait Donovan

Hello FRIED fans and welcome to season four of FRIED the burnout podcast. I'm your host, Cait Donovan and my mission with FRIED is to hashtag and burnout culture. On this pod we end burnout culture by sharing stories of people who have been through it all sharing expert tips from the best in the burnout field, sharing hashtags straight from key episodes with my own expertise and some fun research now that I'm a student again, plus sharing actionable steps to help you end burnout starting today. If you're feeling burnt out right now and you need personalized guidance, you can book a free breakthrough burnout call with me, you'll find the link Bitly backslash call Cait in the show notes. Also, if you love FRIED and want to be part of our community, we'd love to have you just head over to Facebook and type in FRIED the burnout, podcast discussion, and click to join our group. It's a place for continued healing deeper conversations and connections with people who just get it. And now for this week's episode.

Hello FRIED fam this week, we are really going there. You've asked about this, you've asked for this, and now you're going to get it. But my question is, are you ready? Are you really ready for the permission to rest without guilt? Well, you're about to get it. And as we dive into this, I want you to think about your tank, your energy tank, your reserves, like the one in your car, the one that holds gas. Now, I want you to picture that that gas tank is on E which, if you listen to my father means you have about 47 miles left to drive right? No, no, not that. I mean, like really, really uneasy. Like he for empty he you've got no gas. And if you're anything like me, you name your cars. So Sally has been a name that's transferred to a few of my cars. And it's the current name of my Nissan. So now that the car has been personified, and we've determined that she's capital EMT, I'm going to ask this personified car a quick question. And I'm going to ask her, Sally, do you feel guilty for using all that gas and needing more? And I'm going to ask you what you think her response was. And I want you to remember that she's a car. So I'm pretty sure it was, of course, I don't feel guilty for using all the gas and needing more. That's what I'm designed to do. So here's why I'm thinking about this. If you're in my Facebook group, you might have seen a listen, Molly production, captioned meme that somebody shared. And if you don't follow Liz and Molly on Instagram, please do right now, because they make the best graphics, the best cartoons, a lot of them highly relatable with burnout. And they're just magical. So please follow them on Instagram.

And this particular cartoon was two pictures of gas gauges like the ones you see in your car side by side, one was just below the halfway mark. And the other one was like capital II empty on the top of the picture that showed the just below halfway mark where the words when we should take a break. And next to the other empty tank was when we actually take a break. Now, this really got me thinking, because should we be taking breaks when our gas tanks are only halfway empty. I understand the idea behind the graphic. And I think it's a powerful one. And I shared it on purpose because that I didn't share it in my group. I ended up sharing it on Instagram later that week because I think that it's impactful and it matters. But here's what I really think is true after thinking about it for a couple of weeks. I am okay with you using your gas tank until you're empty. But you should still have those, you know, 47 Spare miles in the tank as you go to the gas station to fill up. So it's okay for you to use your energy. But it's not okay for you to use so much of it that you need to call triple A again, because you're on the side of the road and you didn't make it to a gas station. So I think that the first rule of resting without feeling guilty, is allow yourself to use the energy that you have, you know, rest when you have 47 or more. You can rest at half tank if you want that's cool miles in your gas tank. And remember, like, just like you can fill up when you're only half empty on gas. You can also rest when your tank is still half full. If you've used any energy and it needs replenishing at any time you can rest so you can use a quarter of a tank and if you just prefer to have a full tank of gas you can head to the gas station and fill it up. Right

The only thing that This means right now is that I want you to avoid getting to the emergency services point of the energy usage. Right. And because you're avoiding the emergency services point, so if you don't break down, and you don't need to be revived, then you're actually saving yourself time. So, I just told you that by resting and refueling your energy, before you get to the critical zone, you end up saving yourself time. I'm gonna say that again. When you notice that your energy is down, and you say, I must replenish in order to do other things. It saves you time to rest now and use a full tank later, rather than killing yourself and then waiting to be revived. Right. So when I saw that graphic the first time, it reminded me that I used to not feel like I deserved any rest until I was on the capital E, no more miles left empty. But here's the trick, rest is not a reward. It isn't something that needs to be deserved. You literally use up your gas, and you need to refuel. It's just part of how this machine works. It is that simple. So I want to I want you to start thinking about your energy for your body as a gas tank or as a cell phone battery, and start gauging for yourself. Alright, where am I? Am I at 20%? Am I at a quarter tank, start trying to learn what the signals are, that start to tell you like, okay, we're getting low here, or we have some time to fuel, which means we can avoid doing it in the morning. And we won't be late for work. I mean, we've all done that, right. So I want you to just start thinking about your energy as something that really does get used and need to be built back up. Now there are people that do not agree with this. And you know, energy is neither created nor destroyed. Yes, we get that. However, there, you do need a certain amount of rejuvenation, to balance out whatever sort of effort you're putting in. So this is I want you to just kind of eliminate all of the emotion and thought around deserving and rewarding and guilt and all of that and just think about it as simple. My battery's empty, my gas tank is empty, and I need to refuel. So that's number one. The second rule of resting without feeling guilty builds off this idea of needing to refuel, so when you are refueling.

When you are resting, you are being productive. Now I know there are people out there who will scoff at the word productivity and arrest and burnout focus podcast, but hear me out. It is more productive to refuel when you need the gas, then it is to putter out on the highway and wait two hours for rescue. See how that comes back around. So now I'm telling you, that rest saves you time. And I'm also telling you that rest is productive, specifically, energetically productive. By continuing to work to avoid guilt you feel when you rest, you're setting yourself up to putter out. And when you put her out, you feel even more guilt, because you're unavailable completely to the people around you. So in this rule, I'm asking you to rest and sort of accept that you feel a little guilty, like, feel guilt and rest anyway. Because the more you practice this, the less guilt you'll have over time. And the more you practice, the more that guilt dissipates. And it just continues along that cycle until you're like oh my god, I used to feel guilty about this. But it will be difficult in the beginning, right? You're going to have to choose between feeling guilty, and, you know, pushing through and crashing on the side of the road. And it's this is not a simple ask. I know what I'm asking you to do is not the easiest thing I'm asking you to notice when your battery is empty, stop to refuel. Notice that that refueling is productive. And if you feel guilty, I'm asking you to just sit with it. I'm not asking you to get rid of it. I'm not asking you to ignore it. I'm asking you to feel your way through it. And I know it's a hard thing to do. But thanks to Glenn and Doyle, we all know that we can do hard things. You can rest and feel guilty and still get rest. And I know that because I've done it.

So today I just really want to hone in on the fact that while we are more than machines, our energetic systems function much the same way and rest isn't the only way we refuel. Right? We refuel with food. We refuel with sleep overnight. Some people refuel when they're with their loved ones. Some people don't you know, that depends. But I just want you to know that when you use your energy for things, and you need to refuel, this is not a question of whether or not you deserve it. It's just a question of your battery being empty, your gas tank being empty. It's just a question of needing to fill up. So my ask for this week is that you comment? If you're in the Facebook group, then you can throw it up in there. Or on any of the posts that come with this week's podcast. You know, there's usually one a post-Sunday through Friday about the podcast on Instagram and Facebook and LinkedIn and wherever you are. And I want you to share with the group, something that refuels you, because I want to spark a trend of people sharing this information so that you can help people realize, oh, gosh, I haven't done that in a while. But that refuels me too. You know, sometimes we talk about, like exercise being energetically costly, especially when you're burnt out. But when you're not in a burnout zone, energy actually at exercise actually builds energy. For me, I usually have more energy after I exercise rather than less. That was one of the signs that I knew I haven't burnt out anymore, because my exercise wasn't killing me anymore, right. Like, I'd finished exercising and then I had better focus, I was getting more stuff done. And I wasn't coming home and like falling face-first on the couch and saying, oh my god, I can't function. So that was a big sign for me that my burnout recovery was pretty close to finish. I don't know that finished is a good word, because I don't know if it's ever really finished. But you know what I mean? So, I want you to inspire other people, with your ideas, of what feels like rest to you, what rejuvenates you what plugs you back in what fills your gas tank. So give us some ideas, share amongst friends, and let us get into this natural space where we stop and refuel. Because we just gotta Alright, deal. Cool. You deserve all the good things that are coming to you. Alright, until next time.


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