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Saltwater for the Soul: Reimagining Life after Burnout with Jackie Barkhouse



Hello Trailblazhers, you are in for a treat! In episode ten of the Trailblazher Podcast, we are interviewing Jackie Barkhouse about her incredible, beautiful, and transformative article in our Winter 2023 Issue Number 13.  

Jackie Barkhouse is a saltwater soul. She lives on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia, Canada, overlooking the magnificent 100 Wild Islands. She’s married to Stephen and together, they have two grown children and a baby grandson. Her life and experiences have taken many twists and turns over the years, but it is her love of nature that has informed her the most. Jackie has returned to a simple life, in a simple place, amidst the wild beauty of woodland and sea, where she creates and writes.

And in this interview, we went everywhere. It twisted and turned as Jackie shared her experience working in the corporate world. Jackie explains that that had been her goal her whole life but between the stress and compounding pressure, she experienced extreme burnout, both physically and mentally as her body just said no, no more.

This story is about her journey back to reinventing and healing herself. Some key topics that we cover with Jackie in this episode are:

  • Whether she feels that her career was a success
  • How she lives now in the day-to-day and in the present moment 
  • What she finds joy in and where
  • Plus so much more! 
Photographer: Makenna Reid – @makennareidphotography

This interview is a celebration of being in a different season and stage in our lives. We often forget the absolute privilege that it can be to navigate that next stage and embrace it.

You are also going to want to tune into this live because, at the end of the episode, we reveal to her that she is on the cover of our winter issue. So you get to hear her live reaction to being on the cover – grab the Kleenex because it’s a good one, you don’t want to miss it!

Ignoring the Whisper of Burnout

In the first part of this conversation with Jackie, we asked her what the beginning stages of her career looked like. Jackie explained that she was working in a highly sought-after industry and had a great job as a woman working full-time in the 80s. This alone was a huge accomplishment for that time, but Jackie went on to say that the accomplishment wasn’t worth the stress and turmoil. It got to a point where her body couldn’t withstand anymore.

At that time, she also had a family and loved being creative but was having an extremely difficult time managing it all. She claims, “The combination was deadly.” After 15-20 years of working her corporate job, Jackie decided to retire early. So began her journey of healing.

The Beginning Stages of Healing After Burnout

After retiring, Jackie set out on a mission to start healing her body and reinventing who she was or returning to the truest version of herself. Her doctor made it very clear that her life had to change and she had to make her wellness a priority. She goes on to explain that she had been living in a world that was so loud that there was very little peace inside of her. So Jackie started to incorporate small habits that contributed to healing her mind, body, and soul. 

One of the first things she did was start walking on the beach every day. She started on  February 14, 2014, and has walked every day since then. She’s walked in hurricanes, blizzards, extreme heat, and wind that you wouldn’t believe, but it’s a non-negotiable part of her life now as she embraces the present and finds solace near the ocean.

Sometime later, Jackie’s mother passed from cancer and she mentioned how much she learned from her death. As her pain started to subside, she learned how she had to live the rest of her life and how she wanted her family to know that she was happy and fulfilled. It was at this time of her life that she learned how to put herself first.

Photographer: Makenna Reid – @makennareidphotography

Living in the Present Moment

For a long time, Jackie Barkhouse hoped that she could go back to her old life if that’s what she chose to do. But then, she said it stopped mattering because that was no longer what she would choose if given the choice. The life she was creating for herself in the present moment was all she wanted. As she reflected, she said, “I think I’m still somewhat broken from not achieving the dreams that I had as a little girl. But in reality, I did achieve those dreams. They just didn’t end in the time frame that was in my head.”

It had taught her that there was so much not in her control, which has led her to live life being fully present and dreaming new dreams, like wanting to watch her grandson grow up. She goes on in the interview diving deeper into her current way of living and how that led her to submit a story for our magazine. Little did she know, that she and her story would be picked as the cover feature of our Winter 2023 Issue Number 13, so make sure to tune in to catch her full reaction to the reveal. 


  • What inspired Jackie to submit her story 
  • An excerpt from Jackie’s feature 
  • A live reveal of Jackie being on the cover

Keep an eye out for Jackie’s full story coming out in our Winter 2023 Issue of Trailblazher Magazine.

Our Favorite Quotes From This Episode

“We owe it to ourselves to know who we are.” – Jackie Barkhouse

“There are no constraints, we’re making our own path, we make our own intentions along the way, and we’re not held in by any boxes or any bosses.” – Jan

Ready to start your holiday shopping? Shop the 2023 Trailblazher Holiday Gift Guide here!

Jackie Barkhouse

November 9, 2023

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