Beating Burnout

Burnout. This could be a four-letter word. While I have never spent time thinking about what this word really means, I think I have come close to burnout twice in the last 5 years. Is that good or bad? I am not sure.

What I am sure of is that for me, Dana Campbell’s (CEO of Optimize Corps) talk on burnout earlier this week at the Women in Wellness Leadership conference was the highlight of the day.

She defined the symptoms: to be burnt out, you need to have 2 of the following 3:

  • Exhaustion
  • Cynicism
  • Inefficacy

She reminded us that we contribute to our own burnout, with the following:

  • Incorrectly defining success (we should all have our own, genuine definition of what success means, beyond “keeping up with the Joneses”)
  • Celebrating busyness (I gave up the word “busy” for Lent one year, I think I should give it up altogether).
  • Striving for perfection
  • Allowing ourselves to be distracted from our goals and purpose
  • Multi-tasking

She made us rank ourselves from 1-5 (1 being great, 5 being abysmal) about how we feel on the following parameters:

  • Workload (how overworked are we really?)
  • Control (burnout feelings increase when we feel out of control)
  • Values (are our businesses’ values in line with our own?)
  • Fairness (how fair is our work or family environment)
  • Reward and recognition (are we being recognized for our efforts, at work and at home?)
  • Community (apparently the #1 thing people need at work is a best friend – how do we feel about our work community?)

(If you are all 4s or 5s, you are in or close to burnout).

So how do we beat burnout? By being resilient: by having the skill and capacity to be robust under conditions of enormous stress and change. She reminded us of a truth we probably all know – that avoiding stress or change is not a strategy. She also reminded us that resilience is like a muscle – it can be trained, it can become stronger.

How do you train for resilience?

  • You create white space. Give yourself time. Silence. Unscheduled moments. Alone time.
  • You objectively face reality. Objectively and calmly. Not with the anxiety blinders on.
  • You find meaning in suffering.
  • You fill your tanks. Whether that is through sleep, exercise, time alone.
  • You claim your truth. You identify what is most important to you, what you are great at, what you need.
  • You see possibilities where others don’t. Instead of focusing on the problem, open your mind to solutions.

Thank you, Dana, and thank you Julie Keller of American Spa for putting on this conference, and for finding such amazing speakers.


BeautyView: Julie Keller Callaghan, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher, American Spa


It is rare at a magazine to have one person be both an amazing publisher and an amazing editor-in-chief, but somehow Julie Keller Callaghan of American Spa manages to be just that. And she does it while looking absolutely stunning. I love our frequent get togethers, and always learn something from her, be it about the latest spa opening, a new treatment, or an important trend to watch for in the coming year (she is predicting developments in the farm to table movement and in the teen / pregnant segments of our industry for 2013). And now, I know she has 40+ cousins!

AP: What city were you born in? JKC: Hartford, CT.

AP: What city to do you live in? JKC: New York City.

AP: What is your middle name? JKC: Anne, after my Mom.

AP: What is your astrological sign? JKC: Leo.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? JKC: I love the passion. People in this business love what they do. It’s also a nice business filled with genuinely kind people. I think that is rare, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.

AP: Least favorite thing. JKC: I wish that our industry had a more formalized, official regulation process or organization when it comes to vetting products and ingredients for efficacy and accuracy. I think it detracts from the industry as a whole when some of the “fluff” is billed as effective or legitimate simply because there isn’t really a regulating body.

AP: What is your most prized possession? JKC: My bulldog, Winston, and my two cats, Kitty and Havana. It’s actually a good thing I live in a New York City apartment. Otherwise, I fear (well, actually my husband fears) I would have about 20 pets. I love animals.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? JKC: I have an enormous family with more than 40 cousins, several second cousins, and 20-plus aunts and uncles. My mother is one of 12 and my father is one of 5 (yes, Irish Catholic on both sides). Amazingly, we all get along and have a blast together, which I know is also pretty unusual.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? JKC: I have a silver Gucci and a gold Coach that looks a bit like the very pricey Cartier Tank that I really want.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? JKC: Diamonds.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? JKC: My grandfather. He passed away a few years ago and remains to this day one of my favorite people in the world. Since I was a little girl, we could always talk for hours, and I miss him every single day.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? JKC: Well, I have to admit I don’t have much of a balance and tend to work too much, but I love what I do. So even when work is overwhelming, I am grateful to have a job and to be doing something I am passionate about.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? JKC: 1. Drink lots of water on the plane. 2. Dress in layers. 3. You never need as much as you think when it comes to packing (I am still struggling with this one).

AP: What is your favorite book? JKC: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? JKC: Pretty much any Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. I’m not too picky.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? JKC: Although I’m always testing a lot of product lines, I am pretty religious about my beauty routine—twice a day, I use a cleanser, toner, serum, lotion and eye cream. So far, so good on the wrinkle front!

AP: What fragrance do you wear? JKC: Santa Maria Novella Iris. I visited the original pharmacy in Florence a few years ago, and I have been hooked ever since.

AP: Botox or not? JKC: Not, but not for any philosophical reasons. I just really hate needles, hence the pretty rigorous skincare routine.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? JKC: Well, my hair is about the same color it was when I started highlighting it in high school. But it’s been a while, so I’m pretty sure it’s much darker and most likely fairly grey in real life.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. JKC: I’ve been listening to a lot of Pandora lately, and my repeats seem to include Snow Patrol, Coldplay, and Mumford & Sons. But sometimes, I’ll just have an all-Madonna day, which always makes me happy.

AP: Quote to live by. JKC: Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff. I try to remind myself of this when I start to get really stressed.

AP: Who is your mentor? JKC: One of my first bosses, Julie Macdonald, was my editor at one of the first magazines I ever worked on. She was an incredible example of the type of woman I aspire to be—she’s a great editor, an excellent businesswoman, and a very kind person. It was wonderful to work for someone who was so smart, insightful, and supportive, and I try to emulate her today when working with my team.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. JKC: Integrity will always pay off in the long run, and there is no substitute for hard work and experience. So put in the hours, and be true to yourself. It will take you far.