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Expansive Intimacy EP04: The Burnout Curse: Intimacy's Inverse (feat. Cait Donovan)

“Being ostracized is our biggest fear,” says Cait Donovan, keynote speaker and host of Fried! The Burnout podcast.
Expansive Intimacy podcast with Jim Young, featuring Cait Donovan, talking about the curse of burnout and its relationship with intimacy.

In this episode, Jim is joined by Cait Donovan, a leading expert on individual and organizational burnout. Cait uses a rich combination of research and deep life experience to explain the myriad sources of stress that contribute to burnout.

This “web of causation,” as Cait refers to it, has biological, social, and psychological roots, which can begin in the womb or even further back.

According to neuroscience, adverse childhood experiences affect our ability to handle stress. The problem is deeply rooted in a lack of self-worth and linked inextricably to a self-perpetuating cycle of isolation.

The American ethos adds a confounding set of causation factors, with our emphasis on individualism and a warped focus on self-made success–a concept that Cait insists is a myth. Jim layers on an exploration of the pressure society puts on men to never make mistakes or ask for help. Together, they discuss the oft-ignored importance of environmental factors on causing or alleviating stress such as the comfortability of one’s chair, office aesthetics and access to natural light.

As Cait describes it, those who are most vulnerable to burnout often aren’t self-aware enough to even know how stressed they are. In response to that reality, Cait advises paying attention to what she calls “the anger group,” and describes how resentment journaling can create breakthroughs. She also explains the dark side of oxytocin and how Polish goat cheese led her to a breakdown.


“We’re not meant to be connected to 3,000 people at a time. We're just not designed that way…There are only so many people I can let in here before I can't handle it anymore.” (8:41-9:01 | Cait)
“Pay attention to resentment. It will show you where all of your boundaries are being crossed. It will teach you about your other emotions. It is this amazing guidepost that is palpable and obvious.” (38:59-39:12 | Cait)
“When you are constantly scanning your environment for other people's needs…you are essentially abandoning yourself and committing self neglect.” (43:53-44:10 | Cait)

Show Links

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Podbean | Google Podcasts | Amazon Music Connect with Cait Donovan:

And here are some additional resources from Cait:

FRIED podcast episode on the neuroscience of burnout:

Connect with Jim Young:

The Men's Expansive Intimacy Project:

Please don't forget to rate, comment, and subscribe to Expansive Intimacy on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts!

The views expressed are that of the individual and do not represent the opinions of any companies past, present or future.


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