• Linda R. Taliaferro

3 Strategies For Beating Workplace Burnout

“You have to be…twice as good as them to get half of what they have.”

In a 2013 episode of the hit series Scandal, Poppa Pope said these words to his high-performing African American daughter, Olivia. It was an emotionally charged scene, with words that shocked many.

But to high-performing black and brown women across the country, this message didn’t come as a surprise. This was a reality finally being broadcast to mainstream society.

Black and brown women have had this message ingrained so deep within them for decades. And the results are in:

While this overachiever mindset has helped propel black and brown women to new heights, it’s not all positive.

The Pain of Being The Best

When you have to work harder than anyone else, not to get ahead, but just to get by, it begins to take a toll on your entire well-being. Eventually, it leads to burnout.

Everyone experiences burnout, whether it be at work, at home, or even in relationships. For black and brown women, one of the biggest causes of burnout is in the workplace.

While your job can be a place where you are able to do what you love and gain financial security, it can also be the place that causes you the most stress and insecurity.

Burnout At Work

Chasing recognition and appreciation by giving 110% is exhausting, but it’s necessary and what you are expected to do if you want to earn your respect and get noticed. At least that’s what we are taught–right?


Chasing overachievement doesn’t always guarantee a promotion. It doesn’t even guarantee appreciation for all of your hard work. The only guarantee is that they will work you to the bone and you will fight to have the energy, mentally and physically, to keep up the “good” work.

On top of striving to be better than the best, you have to fight microaggressions being forced to code switch to feel accepted.. All this leads to not being authentically you.

It’s exhausting having to play a role 5 days a week, every week, year after year. Your mind, body, and soul can only take so much!

So what can you do to avoid it, to catch burnout before it becomes a problem too big to handle?

When it comes to burnout, the only solution is to fight fire with fire.

3 Solutions To Battling Burnout

Take A Break

Simone Biles gave us all a lesson in self-care. With the opportunity to earn gold medals for herself, her team, and her country, Simone made a hard decision in front of millions of people around the world.

She pressed pause.

She didn’t quit, but she did take a break. She knew what she needed and chose to be bold and admit she needed to step back until her mental health was ready for what she had to accomplish.

Take a page from Simone and live out the mantra, “Self-care isn’t selfish.”

Prioritize your overall health, so you can perform at your best.

Learn To Say No

If you say yes to everything and everyone, can you really be mad when the expectation is that you can and will get everything done, no matter the circumstances?

The answer is No, you can’t be mad. And the answer to battle this burden is the same: NO.

Finding the power deep inside to finally say No, represents you reclaiming your power, your time, and your mental health. No represents you setting limitations on what you will and won’t do–may be the best weapon in your fight against burnout.

It may be uncomfortable at first, but be bold & just say No! You will be grateful you did.

Shift Your Mindset

This is the hardest one to do but has the greatest long-term impact. You have to break away from overachiever mode. The pressure of being better than the best is taking a toll on your mind and body.

If you don’t do something about it, overachievement will turn into overwhelm, and things can only go downhill from there.

Your mental and physical health is just as important as your professional growth. You have to learn to value all three collectively, not exclusively. When you are able to see the value in all three, you can begin to beat exhaustion at work before it even gets the chance to have a negative impact in the other areas of your life.

You should always work towards being your best, but you can’t be the best in any area of your life if you are not prioritizing your mental health. You can’t truly be your best to anyone else if you are not, first, being your best to yourself.

Let’s Reset

Living on the edge of burnout is the most unhealthy place for you to be right now, but you can do something about it.

It’s time to pause and reevaluate what you are doing for yourself and what you should be doing for yourself to help you avoid living at your breaking point.

You are a phenomenal woman, but if you want to stay phenomenal in all areas of your life, you have to allow your body and your mind the rest and reset it deserves.

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