Do you have burnout? Listen to your heart.

stressed at workSo you had passion for your work. Now, you feel stressed, overwhelmed and a lack of joy you once felt for your job, career or business. The bounce in your step has turned into a drag. Your creative juices are no longer flowing and you have stopped creating all together, and all you think about is what stresses you. When you wake up in the morning, you dread at worst, or are indifferent at best, for what the day will bring.


You might even be feeling powerless to continue on the path of making your dreams come true.

If this sounds familiar, know you are not alone.

The past week has been abuzz with discussions about the growing rise of depression and the stigma of mental illness. Also on the rise is job burnout, which, according to the renowned Mayo Clinic, is described as “a special type of job stress – a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.” In fact, a Stats Canada survey in 2010 had identified that 1 in 4 workers report being stressed, and, more telling, 6 in 10 highly stressed workers identify work as their main source of stress.

While I am not a medical expert or an authority on job burnout (full disclosure here), I do know this from my own life experience: when you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling for your work, you may have a creative block. When we get blocked, we stop creating – and our dreams may seem like they are slipping away. When are dreams are not coming true, we can get depressed.

I know. I’ve been there.

Anyone who is in a creative field or in the artistic world is intuitively tapped into their creativity. They “get it.” In the corporate world, creativity is often looked at as something frivolous. How many companies do what it takes to develop and nurture their employees’ creativity? This is not something to mess with. Creativity is a key to happiness and success.

Creative energy is like electricity: it flows effortlessly. But when the plug is pulled on your creative power, it means you have run into an obstacle, otherwise known as a creative block. Most likely, that obstacle is an emotion – fear, resentment or anger – that stops you from connecting with your heart’s desires. When we are flooded with these negative emotions, self-doubt creeps in and we can no longer hear the whispers of our heart. Self-doubt is the biggest killer of creativity. It takes on a life of its own, quashes your creative spirit, sabotaging your dreams and desires along its path of destruction.

The only way out of this vicious cycle is to return to creating from the heart. The way to do that is to release negative emotions, and discover how they benefit you and how they help you get where you want to go. For example, perhaps you are stressed from the grind of owning a small business. How does that stress benefit you? Or if you have a tense relationship with your boss, how does that tension benefit you?

Once you let go of the negativity and self-doubt, the heart’s whispers will become louder, once again.

Then, take action. You might need to leave your job or change your career, or sell or close-down your business.

Perhaps easier said than done, you might be thinking, but what other choice do you have? We can give-up our power and joy to negativity and continue doing something we loathe, and let it eat us up in something we call burnout. Or we can turn negativity on its head, kick it around like a football, and return to the heart — and get back that lovin’ feeling for what we do in our work.

If you have had job burnout and experienced a creative block, I’d love to hear from you about your experience.

Photo credit: Carl Dwyer

This article is cross-posted at


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