On Burnout and the Need to Take a Break

Burnout Sick Day

“Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long.” – Michael Gungor

If you listen to the Let’s Discuss podcast, you will have most likely caught the conversation Monica and I had about Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework. It was the topic of discussion in episode 13.

Curious about the different struggles people have when it comes to making and breaking habits, Gretchen Rubin did extensive research and realised that people fall into one of four different tendencies. Obligers “meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves.” Questioners “question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense.” Upholders “respond readily to outer and inner expectations.” And Rebels “resist all expectations, outer and inner alike.”

You can take the quiz to discover your tendency here. (Obligers are the most common tendency, and rebels are the rarest, FYI.)

I’m the classic Upholder. Which means I will always meet a deadline or obligation – no matter what obstacles get thrown in my direction. I also impose strict deadlines on things that aren’t at all urgent or important. And I’m terrible at delegating, asking for help and recognising when I need to slow down.

I fill up my plate with tasks and responsibilities. And, like a well-oiled machine, I usually get everything done efficiently and without much struggle. But every now and then this “can-do” mentality catches up with me and I reach breaking point. Last week was one such moment.

After weeks of pushing too hard and not giving myself a chance to recharge, I caught a cold/virus and it totally knocked me out. As a result, I spent much of last week on bed rest and had to wipe everything from my schedule.

It was definitely what I needed (even though I was reluctant to do it), and thankfully I feel so much better. However, I’m now playing catch-up with my schedule, and I won’t be publishing any new content this week. It’s a bit of a bummer, but I have lots of exciting stuff in the pipeline – both for the blog and the podcast – so I can’t wait to return next week.

Thank you so for much for all of your kind messages of support on Instagram over the weekend. I look forward to returning with new content next Monday. Have a great week!

Does my burnout story resonate with you? Leave a comment below if you’d like to share your own experiences…  

Photo by Shay Cochrane


  1. I would always say I am an Upholder too – but apparently I am a Rebel? Where did I go wrong, haha? 🙂
    Hope you feel better soon!

    • cocos_tea_party says:

      Haha! That’s so interesting you’re a rebel! I think Rebels can very easily act like Upholders though. But with Rebels it all comes to choice, I think. They can choose to act that way, and say no when they’ve had enough. Whereas Upholders feel like they’re breaking the rules if they slow down for a minute. xx

  2. Wow! I think it takes a lot of strength to even get yourself to switch off and not keep going! You are so amazing and I think you deserve some time off to recuperate and just get back to it! I’m sure your new content is going to be amazing. I totally resonate with this story, I feel burnt out a lot!


    • cocos_tea_party says:

      Hi Shloka. Thank you for the lovely comment. I hope you get a chance to relax if you’re feeling burnt out too. It’s not a good position to be in. I guess when you’re having so much fun with your work it’s hard to switch off though, right? xxx

      • That’s so true – I think I feel it most on days when things are not going right. Like if Instagram isn’t being particularly great or I’m not getting as much traction as I hoped, those are the days I feel the most burnt out!

  3. Jandrew says:

    I’m the strange person who truly has a
    problem recognizing burn out until it is too late! I’m working on being more in touch with my “Up holder” issues , delegation is my Achilles heel ! Great Post .
    Dress The Part

  4. cocos_tea_party says:

    Hi Julia. Oh no, that sounds super stressful but I totally relate. I hope you haven’t had a case of burnout recently!

  5. cocos_tea_party says:

    Hi Mia. Definitely. It’s been great to recharge and reset my focus. xx

  6. monicawelburn says:

    So glad you took the time to rest honey!

    I think we can all push it too far at times, and it’s so valuable to be able to truly gauge when you *need* to rest and reset.

    As a questioner I don’t find it too hard to do this now, as I acknowledge that it’s beneficial in the long run, but it took me a LONG time to really understand (and therefore justify) that time out.

    Just as well we have Gretchen guiding us!


    Monica xx


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