woman with her head on her hands, leaning over a table looking stressed

In today’s fast-paced world, burnout can be a common companion. Burnout may manifest as a sense of depletion, emptiness, and exhaustion that can affect various aspects of life. Motivation, fulfillment, and joy may dwindle, replaced by increased irritability and a short fuse. Often referred to as a third stage of stress after alarm and adaptation, burnout can disrupt all aspects of our mind and body, including impacting sleep, digestion, and immunity. In burnout, your body’s ability to manage stress reaches a breaking point, therefore cultivating resilience and inner balance as a default, as well as building strong stress management practices, can be key to sustaining a healthy burnout free life long term.

Burnout can be hard to spot when we are in it as it blurs the lens through which we see the world. Not only does it compromise our physiology and health, but it also steers our mood towards the negative. Our capacity for clear, creative, and effective problem-solving dwindles, and our less genius-like selves emerge. As well as a low inner battery, the wiring of our survival-oriented brains drives choices that can inadvertently perpetuate the cycle of burnout. Due to these biases and in our eagerness to overcome adversity, challenges, or stress, we may unintentionally overlook the crucial need to recover and integrate these challenging life experiences – like divorces, betrayals, grief, deaths and unexpected losses. Consequently, our internal energy and information flow are disrupted with incomplete stress responses & processing, silently sapping our vitality without our awareness.

Here we will look at how burnout fosters a sense of disconnection within your body and the sustaining habits and patterns. Approaching this from therapeutic and survival-mode perspectives, we’ll explore how Kinesiology can assist in rewiring habits for enhanced energy management, robust vitality, and increased resilience.

Burnout patterns can start in Childhood


Early childhood experiences where love is conditional, is a common feature I see associated with burnout patterns later in life.  Believing that constant performance and meeting specific expectations were necessary for earning love or approval can pave the way for energy-draining patterns in adulthood. While these patterns may have been adaptive in the past, they can lead to inefficient energy management, resulting in overwhelm and fatigue. When prioritising others’ happiness over your own becomes a recurring pattern and there’s persistent undervaluing your own time, there’s nowhere but your energy bank to go but south. This approach often originates from coping with the internal stress of conditional love by focusing on external factors and people. The consequence is that receiving more, the opposite of self-neglect and burnout, becomes energy-draining, leading to overextension, overachievement, and the development of perfectionism and rigid thinking around concepts like right versus wrong, good versus bad, and success versus failure.

A key related burnout pattern is the socially glorified perfection.  Perfectionism is often closely entwined with rigidity, stemming from a need to achieve perfection for others and to feel safe. Despite our rational adult minds knowing this may not be true, our subconscious defaults to patterns from the past. This unaddressed stress response continues to sap our internal energy, expressing itself through habits in our thoughts, feelings, relationships, and behaviours, perpetuating the cycle of overextension that becomes burnout

    Other factors that accelerate burnout


    Whilst there are temperamental and genetic factors that can contribute to dispositions in our stress responses, there is much that is within our control to change disease expression, resilience & our inner battery reserves. Some of the following can be signs that you’re heading in the direction of burnout if you’re not already familiar with this zone, as your best energy for yourself and others, will come from you being you in the world:

    • Narrow window of tolerance for feeling feelings
    • Low boundaries
    • Defensiveness
    • Little time for fun or chill time
    • Low emotional vitality
    • Not living your life for you
    • Conflict or conversation avoidance
    • Co-dependency
    • Fear of visibility
    • Struggles with authenticity

    Survival mode & burnout


    To break free of burn out patterns, it’s key to understand the mechanism of a survival mode so you can make the best decisions moving forward, even if your body and brain are telling you otherwise! Your nervous system doesn’t distinguish between life-threatening scenarios and the stressors of modern life. It triggers the same fight-or-flight response, whether you’re facing a predator in the wild or swamped with work deadlines.

    Compassion and understanding, along with a healthy dose of humour, are vital as our because our brain’s hardwiring can make it challenging to recognise our own stuck patterns. There are several factors that perpetuate a burnout survival cycle, including:


    • A growing attachment to comfort zones, even if they’re unhealthy
    • Heightened sensitivity to discord and a reduced tolerance for distress
    • A resistance to unfamiliar, even if it’s a more aligned path
    • Lingering fatigue and pessimism, which further drain our energy
    • An impaired ability to tune in to changing needs (e.g., self, business, others)
    • Reluctance to take risks and an aversion to change as energy-conserving tactics
    • Feeling less safe to be still, which the inhibits self-reflection needed to build self-awareness
    • Losing capacity firefighting sub-optimal decisions due to low mindfulness or presence
    • A high level of avoidance to save energy short term
    • A strong belief in the need for external resources to feel adequately supported
    • Experiencing irritability or leaning toward antisocial behaviour
    • Slipping into autopilot mode to conserve energy – hello familiar entrenched patterns which can trail back to childhood
    side profile of woman standing on a rock in front of the ocean, looking down into the water

    Ready for Change?

    Burnout should not be considered a badge of honour, but a red flag that signals a need for self-care, boundaries and a recalibration of priorities to ensure you are living your life by design, in a way that is fulfilling and from a place of balance.

    As always, it’s important to remember that stress can also serve as both a sign and a symptom of underlying illnesses. Therefore, any investigation of overall wellness should encompass a complete examination of other factors and physiological imbalances that may be contributing to a compromised stress response or diminished energy. The mind and body are inherently interconnected in function, and understanding the holistic picture is often key to reclaiming vitality and balance.

    What might be the true cost of stress in your life? The price of stress can be high, both personally and professionally. If you’re ready to start your journey toward mind-body rewiring and a healthier you, let’s get started.

    Thankyou for reading.

    Rachel Smith | Kinesiology

    Reach out directly to Rachel at [email protected]  or 0413 100 359.


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