"Courageous care partners recharge with self-care, striving for peaceful pinnacles
in patience, persistence, and positive 
changes, knowing when to conquer and when to comfort."


Apr 26, 2023 by Eileen Adler

Burnout – People who help people are most likely to suffer from burnout — both professionally and within the family framework.

Twin sisters Emily Nagoski, Ph.D. and Amelia Nagoski, DMA are co-authors of Burnout: The Secret To Unlocking The Stress Cycle,groundbreaking new book explaining how women experience stress differently than men. Herbert Freudenberger provided his definition of burnout in 1970.  

The main component is exhaustion, doing more for others than yourself or doing what you should. The phenomenon is refined to the HGS (human giver syndrome) which appeared in 2017 by feminist philosopher and author Kate Manne. HGS is meeting other people’s needs before your own and yet still worried that you aren’t doing enough. Most care partners are women and “womanhood” may be synonymous with *caring, giving, and nurturing* repeat from * to * throughout the days, weeks, months, years.

Women are expected to be “good girls,” often putting their own needs/wants aside. Dr Megan Melo, a family medicine and OB physician wrote in her blog, Mon, Doc, Talk: “When I read this, I wanted to puke . . . because this is how I have lived my entire life. It’s how I grew up, how I entered dating, how I went through training to become a Physician and 100% of how I practiced for many years in medicine.” HGS is often invisible to us because we’ve been conditioned to believe it’s ‘the norm’.

Other components of HGS burnout are the lessening of empathy, caring, compassion and with this comes feelings of hopelessness, feeling nothing you do makes any difference.  

“I can’t do this anymore.”

  1. Evaluate your home environment. What elements are causing your burnout? It may be as simple as asking for help or hiring help.    
  2. Set boundaries. It may be assumed that givers are not supposed to need anything. Saying no when you need to is not selfish, it is self-preservation.
  3. Take consistent breaks. Review my blog from May 10, 2022 – The Pomodoro Technique.
  4. Employ self-care strategies. You know the drill: sleep, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and be social but even more important is to make time for the things you love doing. It’s all about belonging, contributing, and connecting with yourself.
  5. Talk it out. Just sharing what you’re experiencing can make you feel better — we crave the support of others.  


Life Lesson: Wellness is not a state of being, but a state of action as you fluxuate through all the feelings you have, honoring each one. The solution to burnout is connection with yourself.


Note: burnout is different from depression, so finding professional resources

to help with either or both is self-care.