This is how the Chinese five element teaching helps you avoid a burnout

This is how the Chinese five element teaching helps you avoid a burnout

Burnout does not happen overnight. You’ve been heading there for a while. By just keep going, or because you go through a lot of stressful things in a row. It is good to be aware of the road that leads you to burnout or a feeling of stress. This way you can take a different turn, or ask for help in time to find another way to deal with your stress. The Chinese elemental theory clearly indicates what the so-called ‘burn-out route’ is and what you can do to avoid it.


Traditional Chinese medicine works with five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each element is characterized by its own energy. And all the elements are always moving in our lives. However, per season the properties of a certain element are more visible than the others. In the fall, the element metal predominates. Metal rules the colon and lungs. In terms of emotions, the energy of being sad and letting go.

Letting go

 This is how the Chinese five element teaching helps you avoid a burnout

Metal is about the art of letting go by evaluating what has been and seeing what from the (recent) past no longer serves you and can leave you behind for good. Letting go is only possible if you first dare to grab it. If you first feel how it was for you and then let the pain flow away in peace. Sometimes you can do that on your own, but sometimes the grief is so great that you need help.


After metal, the natural energy flows through to the element of water, which is most felt in winter. Water is the element of stillness and of freezing before a new life cycle starts in spring (=wood element). Water is the big nothing. The prenatal energy; making contact with your core.

Burnout route

In today’s busy and performance-oriented society, we are massively used to ignoring the energy of autumn and winter. Maybe after the summer enjoys the successes we have achieved so far, quickly forget the failures, and then go on to the next project. From the element of earth (the energy of late summer) we immediately cross over to the element of wood (spring energy) without giving metal and water the space to do their work. That is the burnout route. If you keep walking this road often enough, overstrain and eventually even long-term exhaustion are lurking. Then life still forces you to go to metal and water. Probably for a longer period of time than you would like.

What can you do to avoid the burnout route?

 This is how the Chinese five element teaching helps you avoid a burnout

Surrender to the energy of the ‘dark months’. Take a walk in the woods and muse on your own life in the meantime. What is nice and what would you rather see differently? Don’t be embarrassed to cry a little if you have to; tears are healing. And does your boss think that you were able to rest enough in the summer and that you should now continue to achieve new results? Then suggest starting with a thorough evaluation of the process so far (metal). To use the winter months and take a closer look at the mission and core values ​​of your company (water), so that you can set up the next project with even more innovation and decisiveness.

In your element

Do you really feel no space to let yourself be carried away with the natural autumn energy? Then it is all the more time to evaluate and reflect. You can then ask yourself whether the situation you find yourself in (work, relationship, circle of friends, living environment) still suits you. Maybe it’s time to let go of the old and use the coming months to find out what makes you happyTrust that life will always take you where you are most in your element.


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