Ron Macklin, Deb Dendy & Melissa Nelson


Episode 45: Burnout

Ron opens the episode by introducing his cohosts Deb and Melissa, and asking Deb to define this episode’s topic – burnout.

  • Deb gives the definition, followed by Ron asking when how they notice when they are getting burned out.
  • Deb describes how she notices a lack of passion, as well as negativity seeping in.
  • Melissa says she notices how she sleeps, and how things she enjoys doing seem like an effort rather than something enjoyable.
  • Ron says that he feels how things are just the same and he’s living in Groundhog Day.

Ron follows this up by asking the group what the cost of burnout is to them.

  • Melissa says that she notices her mental health greatly suffers, which for a long time she thought was just a natural part of being an adult.
  • Deb describes ‘negative work’ that happens as a result of burnout, and adds that her family also suffers when she is experiencing burnout.
  • Ron says that for him the cost is creativity, which includes creating his day-to-day life versus just living the same rut he’s been stuck in.
  • He then describes a period of time when he was experiencing burnout because of the amount of work he was doing.

Ron asks the group what they do to counteract burnout knowing that they understand the cost of it.

  • Melissa starts by saying she radically changed her life by changing jobs, and goes into detail about that experience.
  • Deb says her tactic is to set proper boundaries for herself and working, and ensuring to take breaks and remember to focus on selfcare. 
  • She continues by differentiating between short term versus long term burnout and what the difference is for her.
  • She also talks about how the stress associated with burnout can physically change your brain, and impact your decision making and impulse control.
  • Ron mentions how not that long ago in the history of humankind, we used to be able to work 20 hours a week and provide for everything we need.

Ron recalls a paper that he read that drew his attention to taking care of your body, and also the importance of playing.

  • He describes what playing entails for him and what that does for your brain.
  • He then details his experience living in Germany and how everything was built around ensuring the employee was happy and well taken care of.
  • Ron continues talking about the mandatory vacation time of employees in Europe, and the difference between their culture versus the US work culture.
  • Melissa jumps in and discusses one of her previous job prospects and how their vacation time was creating a template for burning out their employees.
  • Ron notes how because those employees are burned out, you never get to see that employee’s full potential.
  • The group continues discussing the importance of properly taking time away to recover and prevent yourself from burning out.

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Episode Summary


In this episode of “The Story in Your Head,” Ron, Deb, and Melissa discuss burnout. They talk about their personal signs of burnout, how to deal with burnout, the cost of burnout, and the importance of taking time away.