One of the most ridiculously shameful experiences in my life was when I stood in my boss’s office, and for the first time, said ‘no’ to taking on another project – then burst into a flood of tears. 

I had nothing more to give. 

As the highest performing account manager in the business, I felt incredibly ashamed I didn’t have the physical, mental or emotional capacity to do ‘more’. 

The exhaustion I felt was so overwhelming. It was like every cell in my body was tired and begging me to rest.

I say it was ridiculous I was ashamed because, at the time, I thought I was a failure.

I ignored all I’d achieved.

Exceeding KPIs and financial forecasts and delivering world-class design projects to global businesses.

None of that mattered. 

The exhaustion I’d pushed through for years, the pressure of all the constant stress, took its toll.

Then, I was forced to take weeks off to rest. I was utterly burnt out. 

At that point, I didn’t care if I lost my job. Nor did I care that I risked losing my career.

Because when you’re at that stage of exhaustion, you tend to have a complete feeling of apathy.

Being in my 20s helped me recover from burning out to a degree, though how I showed up in the world hadn’t changed, which was why I nearly ended up back in the same situation a few years later. 

The most pivotal moment that second time around was realising I could take back MY power and consciously create the life I wanted, versus what others expected of me – or trying to please others, like meeting the unrelenting demands of my job, while ignoring my needs. 

So, I designed my life to be congruent with my biggest values and desires (health, freedom, learning, personal development and fun) while seeing myself as my number one asset. 

I decided to fill my cup first and only give from the overflow so I could prevent exhaustion from taking hold again. 

I decluttered my life of people, obligations and habits that drained me, and replaced them with those that nourish me.

I ate more nutritious food and trained as a naturopath and nutritionist because of the incredible change it made for my energy and mind.

I practised extreme self-care – the most important practice of self-love I’d so badly neglected up until that point.

I became present in each moment and mastered the deeply liberating art of mindfulness. 

I studied positive psychology and emotional intelligence, so I could navigate life with tools that help me be less stressed and reactive – and overall more resilient. 

I’m so grateful for the experience, as exhaustion and burnout led to a huge sea change that inspired me to help other exhausted women get their energy back.

And now? I choose to achieve a standard of excellence, to still give and help others, without depleting myself in the process.

I choose to be the master of my energy and my life by remaining conscious of what nourishes me and what doesn’t – and prioritising my own needs and desires over others.

In other words – I’ve taken back my power.

Is it time you did, too?



Melissa is a naturopathic nutritionist and health coach who helps exhausted women get their energy back. She consults with people worldwide via the web from her home in Melbourne, Australia.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share This