Ask A Witch – March 2018

How To Avoid Spiritual Burnout

Jess Carlson

ately I have felt the need to take “breaks” from being a spiritual person. When I am tuned in to intuition, trying to remain one with all that is, working on grounding myself with Mother Earth, remaining open to others while keeping myself protected, and otherwise just trying to be a force for the good, I get completely burned out, really fast. I have read lots of advice about asking for help and energy from one’s guides, meditating, grounding, doing shield work, etc., but it seems like the work that I do to try to maintain energy and drive is just adding to my spiritual fatigue. The best thing that I’ve found to do is to “tune out” from being a spiritual being and focus on daily tasks, setting all witchiness aside for however long it takes for me to regain my energy. Paradoxically, these breaks are a great relief to me as I find that I am more at ease and, dare I say, an overall happier person when I tune out the whole spiritual part of myself. I feel like this isn’t a balanced way to move forward, and I’m confused as to why “being normal,” for lack of a better term, feels more satisfying to me. I know that spiritual practice isn’t supposed to be a cake walk all the time, and taking up the mantle of a spiritual practice comes with responsibility to one’s path and one’s commitment to serve others and serve the world as a whole, but why does it feel so gosh darn hard? Any advice? Any similar experience?

Honestly, I can’t think of anyone who’s a magickal or spiritual practitioner that can’t relate to this on some level. At some point we all realize we lack some essential magickal/mundane balance. We might be going all-in on the spiritual work and not putting enough time into everyday pleasures because we think we need to be “on” all the time in order to be spiritual.

Why People Experience Spiritual Burnout

There are some common reasons that people in the spiritual community find themselves hitting a burnout point. You might be able to relate to some of these.

Seeing “Spiritual” as “Better”

A few things you said stand out for me and give the impression that you seem to see living as a “spiritual being” and “being normal” almost like living two separate lives. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make when they are trying to start and maintain a spiritual practice.

Let’s begin with changing the word “normal” to “mundane.” It might sound a little nitpicky, but words matter; they carry energy and intention. When you call something “normal” and something else “spiritual,” you’re placing one over the other (possibly without meaning to) and diminishing the importance of the other.

Shift how you look at “spiritual” and “normal.” Find some of those mundane things you have to do every day and look for how you can add a little spiritual twist to them to blend your spiritual and mundane worlds. A favorite of many witchy practitioners is to bless or enchant their morning coffee or tea. By infusing your morning beverage with energy and intentions you can literally drink in those vibrations and carry them with you all day long.

Your spiritual practices should be part of your mundane life. The times when you’ll need those spiritual tools the most are not when you’re in high-vibe spiritual bliss mode but when you’re in screaming, panicked chaos mode. You’ll need to be able to ground yourself, shield yourself, relax yourself, and connect to Spirit and your guides when you’re freaking out trying to pay bills, when your relationships fall apart, when your family is sick, or you’re stuck in traffic miles from work when you’re already 30 minutes late.

Superhero Syndrome

Having spiritual skills or gifts doesn’t mean you need to become a Spiritual Superwoman out to heal the world. A lot of people will make the mistake of starting to think they need to be “on” all the time and be open to doing spiritual work constantly because they have “gifts.” They take on some perceived responsibility for the wellbeing of humanity. This is completely unnecessary and causes you to put a ton of pressure on yourself for something that nobody else expects you to do.

One of the reasons I bet you feel that “being normal” is more satisfying is that it doesn’t carry as much pressure or demand as being “on” spiritually does. This can often be because of the high expectations we have for what it means to be a spiritual being.

It also sounds to me like you’re someone who is a natural empath. You’ll often be more sensitive to energy from other people and even certain environments you spend time in. You’ll also need to be more mindful of your own energy and how you use it. This is why the name of the game for you will always be “boundaries.”

No, you’re not supposed to be perfect. No, you’re not supposed to have all the answers. No, you’re not supposed to be able to heal anyone and everyone. No, you’re not supposed to be a constant channel for message from guides and spirits.

Other People Make It Look Easy

If you look around at the new age, magickal, and spiritual communities on social media, especially on Instagram, everyone makes it all look so easy. You would think everyone is just spending their days meditating, doing yoga, casting spells, reading cards, and talking to Spirit without a care in the world.

Of course that’s what you’ll see! Very few people ever want to show or share their struggles on their path. Don’t believe everything you see on social media. All of those people have a bunch of failed spells, bad readings, and distracted meditations under their belt, too.

Your Expectations Are A Bit Off

This could be a result of what you see on social media or things you’ve read in books and blogs. You might be setting expectations for yourself of being “on” all the time that are just not realistic for you. Some people can do that and be okay, but many people can’t. You need to allow yourself to have solid boundaries with yourself, with others, and even with those in the spirit world.

How to Achieve Balance and Avoid Burnout

It’s important that you deal with your feeling of drained energy before you hit a total burnout. Here are some ways you can work to bring more balance and avoid feeling spiritually fatigued.

Know and Accept Your Limits

Pay attention to your body. When you start to feel that energy drain is coming, you should start doing something about it. Don’t try to push yourself! Self-care for your energy means knowing those limits and honoring them; knowing that you get drained easily, and focusing on perfecting your shielding and grounding skills since you’ll need them most.

Set and Maintain Solid Boundaries

People who are very energy sensitive are also very susceptible to being taken advantage of energetically. It’s not always intentional; some people are natural energy givers while others are natural energy takers. By getting clear on who or what is creating imbalances for you and creating better boundaries, you’ll find you don’t get drained as quickly. Be okay with saying, “No!” This can be hard for some spiritual people, but saying “no” can be a deeply spiritual, compassionate, and healing gesture, more than anything else you could possibly do for some people.

You don’t want to be an open channel for spirit and energy to flow through you 24/7; it’s bad energetic hygiene. You do need to set boundaries, not only with Spirit, but with yourself and other people. Setting spiritual boundaries with yourself means that you give yourself permission to have time on a daily basis to just sit back, relax, and not try to be a spiritual hero, whether that’s for yourself or anyone else.

Give Yourself Permission To Do “Normie” Things

It’s super important that you allow yourself to “turn off” and do what we might call “normie things” on a daily basis, not just here and there or when you start to feel super drained. Find a few things you love to do that are not part of your spiritual practice that you enjoy and that refresh you. For me it’s watching a little TV while playing games on my iPad. Totally “normal” and non-spiritual, but very important downtime that I need daily.

Create a Spiritual Self-Care Plan

When you recognize that you’re coming to a point where your energy is draining and you need to recharge, having a plan in place for self-care is very important. You don’t want to find yourself feeling burned out and then trying to figure out what you can do to feel better. When you have a plan ready, even literally written down somewhere, and all you have to do is get it out and take action, you’ll be more likely to use it.

As for what goes into your plan, it should be anything that makes you feel revived. It could be a nap, a bath, going to a movie, reading a book, or even something spiritual that doesn’t take a lot of energy out of you to do. Maybe listening to a spiritual audiobook, watching a spiritual documentary, or listening to some chanting, kirtan, or other spiritually high-vibe music. Anything that refreshes you!

Set Aside Daily Time For Reflection

This doesn’t need to be another big spiritual ritual or practice you need to do. It can be as simple as sitting down in a quiet, distraction-free space where you can reflect and journal about the experiences you had that day, both spiritual and mundane. This can help you avoid burnout because it allows you to get these things out of your head and gives you a chance to be a bit more analytical and self-aware around what you’re experiencing and how it makes you feel. This can help you recognize where you may need to shift your boundaries and implement more self-care.

In Summary

The two big things I want you to take away from this is that boundaries in your spiritual practice are key and that just because you’re someone who is actively walking a spiritual path doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy “normal” things.

Don’t forget, you’re still human! Those “normie” things are just as important as the other stuff, especially when you know it makes you feel recharged. Don’t dismiss their importance because they aren’t necessarily spiritual.

You might be a kickass, spiritually dialed-in channel of power but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a goofy comedy, a good video game, or a night at a club with your friends. The only difference is that when you’re done with those things, you’ll probably come home and meditate for a few minutes, pull a card or two, and journal about your day.

Want to get even more witchy?! Check out our Witchcraft Course led by our resident witch, Amy Solara.

Jess Carlson

Jess Carlson

Jess Carlson is a witch, intuitive tarot and oracle reader, writer, and magickal teacher focused on spreading the power and simplicity of magick. Known for keeping her teachings and guidance practical and approachable, Jess cuts out the woo-woo BS that can often get in the way. She uses tools like spellwork, journaling, and meditation to help people activate their inner witch. When Jess isn’t talking to the spirits and casting spells, she loves listening to gothic- and Viking-themed music, playing video games, making art, and napping with her cats. Find her at

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