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Feeling burned out?

Feeling burned out?

Have you ever had that feeling where no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to achieve that goal, or finish that project, or start that presentation? Have you felt stressed, fatigued, detached, experienced negative emotions more than you usually would? If the answer is yes, chances are you’ve experienced burnout. Hardly surprising since around one in five of us will experience this feeling at some point in our professional career.

Burnout is getting a lot more press than it used to, which has been important in raising awareness, yet people still feel the need to get their head down and get on with it. While it might be in your nature to adopt this strategy, it’s likely that all you’re doing is making things worse. So, below we have noted some strategies to avoid burnout, or to help you cope if it does happen.


This may seem like the last thing you want to do, but trust me, if you make the effort to push yourself, you will notice a world of difference. Exercise is essential, not only for physical health, but for mental health too. Your energy levels will increase and you will also have a sense of achievement knowing that you’ve made the effort to go for that run or take that Zumba class! 

When you exercise, hormones called endorphins are released (also known as ‘feel good hormones’!). These endorphins contribute to improved mood, an increase in self-confidence and reduction of stress, all of which contribute to preventing the physical and mental exhaustion which can lead to burnout.

Exercise will also improve your sleep, which brings us to our next strategy…


You’re staring at the ceiling, willing yourself to go to sleep. Maybe you should just check your phone again? After all, you’re awake anyway. You’re back to staring at the ceiling, wide awake. You check the time, it’s 3am. You’re stressed about not getting to sleep because you’ve got an important presentation in the morning, but it’s no use. No matter what you do, you just….can’t….sleep.

Insomnia is one of the symptoms of burnout.  When you don’t sleep, your cognitive function can be seriously impaired. Your judgement can be affected, you’re at a higher risk of car accidents and getting too little sleep can also lead to the development of chronic diseases like cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and depression. Sleep is absolutely essential to your health and happiness, so take the time to make sure you are getting enough. Everyone has their own body clocks, but as a general rule of thumb, 7-9 hours has been shown to be the optimal amount.

Make time for yourself

Easier said than done, right? Maybe, but you are the only person who can make it happen. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, or that relaxes you, or that makes you smile, set some time aside and do it.

These days it’s all too easy to say ‘I just don’t have the time’. There are families or friends to look after, chores to do, a party you said you’d attend, the friend you said you’d pick up from the airport and let’s not forget, there’s work. Of course all of these things take up your time, but one of the main reasons burnout happens is that people push themselves without taking a break. Remember, you can’t be all things to all people all of the time. And you’re no use to anyone at all if you’re completely burned out with diminished physical, mental and emotional capacity, least of all yourself! So…

Say no!

That’s right, it’s okay to say no. In fact, I’d encourage it! Everyone has their limits and more often than not, we bite off more than we can chew. Taking on more than we can handle puts us at much higher risk of burnout and it’s something that can creep up on us. You might think that it’s better for your career to say yes to everything that’s thrown at you, but if you want to remain engaged in your work and able to give projects your all, you have to learn to say no.

Reach out to others

As much as it’s important to say no sometimes, it’s also important to recognise when you might need a bit of support. Talking to friends or family about your concerns or worries can make a huge difference. Ever heard the saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’? It might be in your nature to be stoic and just get on with it, but in my experience, this only leads to the issue(s) getting bigger and scarier and more difficult to deal with. Sharing your concerns with someone you trust can help you find a new perspective and maybe even a solution to the problem. It may seem easier to just avoid people when you’re experiencing burnout, but the support of a friend or a loved one can be indispensable when it comes to avoiding burnout.

Burnout can be a scary state to find yourself in. It’s stressful, harmful, and can have an incredibly negative impact on both your professional and personal life. You don’t need to get to that point though! Take the time to pay attention to how you are emotionally, physically and mentally and be kind to yourself.


(Image: <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/portrait-woman-grabbing-head-desk-near-laptop_1281135.htm#query=burnout&position=5&from_view=search&track=sph”>Image by yanalya</a> on Freepik)

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