Don’t Push Yourself

When healing from burnout is on your mind and it is your goal, then nothing can stop you from getting there. In the real world, though, there are many stressors that throw obstacles on the way. How can you evade them or handle them when you have no mental strength to deal with it anymore? “Don’t push yourself” is easier said than done; sometimes so many factors seem to be pushing against us, which can be discouraging or even send you spiraling back down that path of darkness known as burnout.

don't push yourself

Let’s talk about stressors in our private lives and work, and how we can do our best to keep them away from us.

What to Avoid

Before you think, “yeah, sure, as if I can avoid these things,” let me tell you that I know it isn’t easy, since you have no control over external circumstances and certainly not other people. I’ve been there too …

Let’s list a few first, and then we’ll see how we can deal with them.

  • Arguments
  • Angry neighbors
  • (in school), students that talk back or interrupt your class
  • Customers / patients yelling at you or being rude to you
  • Additional work loads being dumped on you

arguing ostriches


Back away from them. Just do not get involved in them, at all. They only drag you down into a vortex that pulls you far from your healing process. If anyone is looking to argue, then I guess it will have to be: sorry but not sorry, I’m out of here.

Even under normal circumstances, why would you want to get involved in arguments? They drain you of your energy. I suppose that some can’t be avoided, especially if you have a teenager living at home πŸ˜‰ but at least stay clear of the useless fights. Senseless quarrels are like vampires, sucking you dry and leaving you empty. You don’t need that.

Angry Neighbor … uh oh …

angrySome things just can’t be avoided. When your neighbor is standing at your gate and yelling at you like a crazed banshee, it is not always easy to stay calm. Perhaps it would be best to suggest to them to get professional help, lol, but somehow I have a feeling that would not go down so well πŸ˜‰

This actually happened to me when I went through burnout, and it is needless to say that the experience was extremely unpleasant. When you suffer from burnout, you do not have the capacity to deal with and digest such verbal aggression. The man left me shaking, and I did my best to calm down and breathe.

And that’s all you can do, breathe, take deep breaths, in and out, in and out. Remember the five-breaths technique I recommended in How to Heal From Burnout? That was what I did.

The point is, though, breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe, go for a walk, and most of all, do not engage in an argument with someone who approaches you with extreme verbal aggression. Nothing will be solved, it only makes things worse, and you will get thrown back to square 1, having to work on healing again.

Avoid such stressors, let angry people fix their own issues, and focus on yourself. That’s really all you can do.

Talking Back

If a teacher has burnout and is still working, he or she continues dealing with the factors – or part of them – that have led to his/her burnout. Those stressors are in many cases unavoidable.

As much as I love teaching and my students, it is a fact that students will always notice when their teacher is not feeling at his/her strongest and they will take advantage of it, trying to push you to your limits. Not all of them do that, but there are plenty who will jump at the chance of pushing the boundaries.

tired teacher

When a student talks back, do not engage in it. Do not take the bait. Take a deep breath – or include the five-breaths technique – and continue your class. If the situation gets out of hand, let the school principal or whoever is the disciplinarian deal with it, but do not get pulled into it.

Make sure that your bosses know what you’re going through, so that they understand why you are involving them and they have your back.

Yelling – is the Customer Right?

We have all heard it before. The customer is always right. Attached to that saying should come, as long as he behaves with dignity and respect. I have witnessed some appalling behavior where the customer was definitely not right.

angry customer

Many years ago I saw a tourist get mad at a cashier in a cafΓ© in Barcelona, because he did not speak his language. Well, we were in Spain, and last time I checked, the language there was Spanish … Fortunately, the man did not get much support from other tourists.

Many issues are not always communicated with tact. Voices are raised, fingers pointed, and before we know it, someone gets hurt or insulted.

When conflicts happen, it may be hard to escape from them. If you can get someone else to handle the situation, that would be ideal. However, if that is not possible, just remember to breathe and not get pulled into arguing. During burnout, you don’t always have your emotions under control.

walk away

Even more so, be the “rude guy/gal” and walk away. Let someone else pitch in. It’s better to be considered rude than to be picking up the pieces of your shattered psyche. If you have never had burnout, this may be hard to understand, but arguments or any other type of aggressive confrontations are extremely hard to deal with when you have burnout. That is why I insist that you should run from them.

The best solution would be, of course, not to work and to take a very long break from all that, but that is not always possible. It would be fantastic, however, if you could get permission to have leave of absence.

Additional Workloads

say noI am going to make this short. Just, no.

If someone, your boss or a colleague, dumps extra work on you, knowing very well what you’re going through, the answer is a straight and clear No! Let someone else do it, seriously. You have to focus on getting better, not on getting worse. So, one more time, just say no.

Final Thoughts

The workplace often seems to be the place where we have to constantly please others. It’s okay, though, to think of your own well-being. You cannot perform when you are not doing so great.

If you have to continue working during burnout, then the best thing to do is to inform your boss what is going on with you, so that he/she knows not to give you overtime or too much work and to have your back when it is needed.

Although many stressors simply cannot be avoided and seem to head towards us into a collision course, there are ways to handle such pressure while not allowing it to interfere too much with your healing process.


Some things can’t be solved, some people may remain angry, but you must focus on yourself and on getting better. Many situations are not ideal, but you can never forget that you can’t allow others to interfere or even damage your healing process. Sometimes, if there is no other solution, walking away from a conflict may be the most peaceful thing to do for yourself.

During burnout, you must avoid all kinds of aggression and quarrels; and you must stay in or create a calm environment. Even if it is not easy, as long as you always have this on your mind, then you will always take steps to achieve that. And every step in the right direction is a step towards the end of the dark tunnel and back into the light.

long dark tunnel

23 thoughts on “Don’t Push Yourself”

  1. Wow, great article! There are so many aspects to burnout and people really need to identify the source of their burnout. I love your solutions on avoiding arguments and instilling calmness into your life. I always want to choose taking the path towards light.
    Thank you again for such a great post. I look forward to reading others.
    Jamie L

  2. As a former school teacher I know how hard it is to not get frustrated when someone talks back! It’s a human reaction to get so annoyed I’m sure!

    Thanks for sharing these awesome tips, I appreciate it

  3. Hello there this is an amazing review you have got here. i am sure that the quality information in this post will be of great help to anyone who comes across it as it did to me. I totally agree with everything you have said here in this post, I just hope it will work out well if I start practicing. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the awesome tips in all the different scenarios that can affect one’s life. As a teacher preparing for a new school year amidst this pandemic, I am feeling a lot of stress. My team looks to me on how we’re going to manage this new normal – no one really knows how things are going to work out, but we just have to work as a team to do our best. We can’t do it alone which will cause more burnout.

    • Hi Dana,

      The new normal still seems so uncertain. We don’t know yet if we are going back to school of if we are continuing with online classes. So far, it looks like it’s going to be online classes (I live in Mexico). We’ll see. It is so different now and it can cause a new form of stress, not only for us teachers but also for the students. It is like you said, we just have to work as a team to get it done. πŸ™‚
      Thank you for your comment, and wishing you all the best for the new school year!

  5. I want to thank you for this fantastic and important article. Although it is difficult to avoid such things, it is needed to continue the healing process and end the burnout. I would say that I had and still had experience with almost all of them as a physician I have to deal with angry patients or their relatives every day long. Also, Arguments are there whether we like it or not. However, I tried my best past 2 years to avoid them as much as I could, and if it happened. I got into a bad argument. For example, I would counter the negative impact by doing something positive and good like hiking in the mountains or going out with friends to watch a movie, just anything to remove the negative impact.

    Thank you again!

    • Hi Mohammad,

      Those are good suggestions, hiking in the mountains and going out with friends to watch a movie will make you feel much better and more positive. It must be hard to deal with angry patients or patients’ relatives, I’m glad you found a way to counter it with positivity.
      Thank you for your comment!

  6. I couldn’t have said things better myself, Christine! People will only treat us how we allow them to treat us, and once we establish that we’re not going to entertain foolishness (and walk away with it), we can avoid a lot of burnout-causing stress. You were speaking directly to me when you talked about useless arguments and angry neighbors yelling like crazed banshees (that’s something I would say! I love it! Haha)-I live with rebellious family members who love to push my buttons, and one of my neighbors just loves to get under my skin (I love him and pray for him, though. Haha). I walk away when I see a frivolous argument coming, as I don’t have time for that (Momma has things to do. Haha). Self-love is so important, and once we take steps to help ourselves, we’ll feel and live so much better. Great read! God bless you!

    • You are absoluteluy right, people will only treat us how we allow them to treat us. We have way more important and more meaningful things to do than to get involved in petty and meaningless arguments.
      Thank you for your great comment!
      Have a great day!

  7. This is a truly lovely article and I wish it was around when I was still working retail. I suffered from burnout quite frequently because “the customer is always right” like you said! I ended up having to take four months paid leave because of it too. I was bedridden for most of that time, and those months are still among my darkest memories. Even four years later.

    You are absolutely right when you say that you must avoid aggression. From my experience, that just burns you out even more. And triggers depression.

    Thank you so much for writing this! I will be sharing it with family and friends. Not to mention saving it for myself so I don’t burnout again πŸ˜‰

    Keep up the great work!

    • Hi Darcy,

      Going through burnout is really like going through a long dark tunnel, that’s how I always saw it, so I can relate when you say that those are among your darkest memories. I am glad that you have healed and that things are much better now! Thank you very much for sharing this article!

  8. Hi Christine,

    It’s often that I find myself almost lose control when bad things happen in office, but just like what you mentioned in this article that we could breathe or talk to the boss. These two work quite well for me since I am not having a high EQ and get angry easily by the mistakes by my colleagues.

    I wish I have read your articles in the past to save more time to really focus on something important instead of getting too much attached what happened at work. Anyway, at least now I know how to handle my temper and walk in the right direction.

    Thanks for sharing,

    • Hi Matt,

      It’s true that work can easily absorb our energy, I think it can happen to the best of us. I’m so glad that you find my articles helpful πŸ™‚
      Thank you very much for your comment! πŸ™‚

  9. I really love how you’ve explained in details how to react and live when going through the process of recovering from burnout. It is very important that the kind is kept in a very balanced and peaceful state to aid fast healing and the things to consider that you’ve explained are very useful.

  10. This is a very good article that stresses the importance of not going too far and making sure that we slow down and take a break from everything so that we don not enter that stage of breakdown or burn out. I agree that there are some things it some people that we will have to do away with if we are going to want to have our balance. This is really good stuff. Good job.

    • Thanks Jay! Indeed, we can’t push ourselves too far, it is so important to keep a healthy balance.

      Thank you for your comment!

  11. Hello there, Thanks for sharing this awesome article I know it would be of great help to the public as it has been of help to me. Over the years I have discovered a lot about the human personality; everyone has potentials and also everyone also have limits and it would be wise it you don’t push it as most times it doesn’t bring good results

  12. Finding space for ourselves can be chalenging and we can end up trying to please our boss, and others in general. It’s good to be able to say enough. And your post has encouraged me to explore those boundaries of what I may tolerate and what is too much. It has been nice reading you today. Thank you!


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