The Fallacy of Burnout Prevention: A Candid Conversation with Cait Donovan

There are a lot of people talking about burnout, but most of them are actually only teaching basic stress management strategies.  Today’s guest, Cait Donovan calls bulshit on most of what is being called burnout prevention and recovery.  A licensed acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine practitioner turned keynote speaker, author,  trauma informed burnout recovery coach and host of the wildly popular podcast, “Fried: The Burnout Podcast” has become a good friend over the past couple of years. 

I have so much respect for her no-BS approach, that blends personal experience and scientific inquiry, with a passion for addressing burnout on both individual and societal levels.  The reality is that burnout is not a character defect, nor it is a badge of honor. We live in a culture that puts all of us at risk for burnout and the women who listen to this podcast are at an even higher risk than most, for reasons that Cait and I will get into in this interview.   Here are a few of the highlights before we dig right in: 

1️⃣ Burnout prevention ≠ burnout recovery: Cait Donovan challenges the traditional notion of burnout prevention, arguing that it focuses too much on stress management practices. Instead, she emphasizes the importance of burnout recovery, which requires understanding and addressing individual factors that contribute to burnout.

2️⃣ Unique protection factors: Every individual has their own set of burnout protection factors. These factors could range from having a strong support system, regular vacations, engaging in hobbies, to even embracing change. Identifying and incorporating these factors into our lives is crucial in preventing burnout.

3️⃣ Burnout is not solely caused by workplace factors. Other aspects such as cultural, health, family history, and environmental factors can also contribute to burnout risk. By recognizing and addressing these underlying factors, we can mitigate burnout and improve our overall well-being.


Want to get more of Cait into your life?  Check out her podcast:

Fried: The Burnout Podcast:

Here is a visual representation of what we discussed in this episode:

Cait Donovan’s A Holistic View of Burnout Framework 


Also mentioned by our guest in this episode:


If you are ready to shift your business from doing what you’re used to doing to what is aligned with your purpose, my Boss Up Breakthrough framework is a great place to start.  We take a look at what is working and what no longer is, where you need to Boss Up your boundaries, your offers, your pricing, or your marketing strategy and start implementing the changes that move the needle.  

We will also make sure you are including self-care in your business plan so that you’re not just successful on the outside, but aligned with your values, and priorities on the inside, and have some burnout prevention factors built right into your business model.  

Want to know more?  Schedule a free consultation here:


Not quite ready to work with me, but wonder what it would be like? Grab my private podcast,  “Show Up Like a Boss”.  It’s free, and you listen to it in the same podcast player where you hear this show.  It’s kind of like a backstage pass to working with me, includes 10 clips of me coaching actual clients and how to apply the strategies to your own business and life.  Check it out:

Want to apply the insights from this episode to your own life?  Start here:

  • Have you ever experienced burnout? If so, how did you know you were burnt out and what steps did you take to recover?
  • Having someone who sees, knows, and accepts you is a critical burnout protection factor. Do you have someone in your life who fulfills this role? How does their support impact your well-being?
  • Sleep is highlighted as a crucial factor in burnout prevention and recovery. How much importance do you currently place on getting enough restorative sleep? What steps could you take to improve your sleep patterns?
  • Cait suggests that conforming to the status quo may put individuals at higher risk of burnout. Do you agree? How do you balance conforming to societal expectations with staying true to yourself and your well-being?


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