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What To Do When Feeling Burnout

Burnout is characterized by three key components:

  • Exhaustion
  • Cynicism regarding work
  • Loss of professional efficacy (a sense that you can perform your job well)

... but we all know there are many other manifestations of burnout. Irritability, brain fog, poor sleep, and anxiety (inability to sit still / anxiousness) are all very common signs of chronic stress and burnout.

If you are feeling any of these signs, or recognize your own unique manifestation of stress, try these steps to halt the feeling of burnout.

      1.     Stop the stress response of your nervous system.

  • Take a moment to yourself to focus on your preferred method of decompression.
  • Think of activities that use the spike in cortisol to fight or run: exercise, tension practice, kickboxing, etc.
  • Also consider activities that indicate to your body that you are safe and secure: meditation, yoga, compression blanket, even a long hug with a loved one.

      2.     Promote healing physical and mental symptoms of chronic stress.

  • Enlist a therapist, doctor, or other healthcare professionals to evaluate your physical and mental health. You may benefit from prescription medicine, nutritional supplements, sleep management, mental health care, or any number of other available treatments.
  • Nourish your body by being mindful of what you consume.
  • Move your body, every day, in a way that promotes breathing and blood flow. Try yoga, walking, stretching, or any manageable amount of movement. Just move.
  • Rest and reset with mental breaks, meditation, getting into nature, journaling, napping, and improving nightly sleep.

      3.     Address the causes of your chronic stress or burnout.

  • Overwhelming workload, inadequate degree of control, insufficient recognition & rewards (including pay), toxic or unsupportive relationships, inequity, and misaligned values.
  • Advocate for improvements
  • Set boundaries
  • Seek support

When you are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and depleted, taking steps to improve your situation can feel... overwhelming. I wrote Life After Burnout: Reclaim, Recover, Renew to help simplify a path to burnout recovery. You can read more tips and learn how to address the causes of burnout in the book, coming soon.


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