March 9, 2022

Burnout Recovery

Our top six tips for burnout recovery
Nicola's TOP Six Tips to Recover from Burnout

Nicola McCrabbe

1. Recognize the symptoms of burnout

Burnout has three components: exhaustion, cynicism, and a lack of personal accomplishment. 

With exhaustion, you will likely feel constantly tired and low on energy. Cynicism will leave you feeling disengaged from work, possibly withdrawn and generally glum. You might also feel  cynical about your work. Lastly, a lack of personal accomplishment will result in a loss of productivity and reduced goal attainment, with feelings of self-doubt. 

It is essential to compare your current behaviour with a baseline behaviour to measure potential deviance. Are you more irritable, pessimistic, or tired than usual? You may have mixed deadlines, have difficulty making decisions, or have frequent sick days.

Chronic stress and burnout show up in the body. Symptoms may include aches and pains, headaches, hair loss, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal upset, muscle pain, skin rashes, excessive sleep, or weight gain.

symptoms of burnout

2. Build self-care and recovery into your schedule

We often excel at caring for others while neglecting our own well-being. However, granting ourselves permission for self-care initiates a positive chain reaction of well-being. So, let go of guilt and compile a list of self-care ideas tailored to your needs, focusing on activities that bring joy and replenishment.

If your burnout is less severe, consider scheduling regular periods of rest, relaxation, and downtime throughout the week to help you recharge. However, if you’re experiencing severe burnout, you may need to consider taking more extensive measures such as a vacation or stress leave to prioritize your well-being and recovery.

During times of recovery, it’s important to refrain from thinking about work to fully disconnect and rejuvenate. Consider implementing short time limits dedicated to work-related thoughts, or simply remind yourself that dwelling on work during time off diminishes the benefits of relaxation.

Vacations, wellness retreats, massage, and acupuncture can certainly help with recovery.


3. Get accustomed with the concept of energy management

Start by making a list of energy robbers and boosters both at work and at home. Next, consider increasing your energy boosters and reducing your energy robberies. 

For example, if working from home drains your energy and makes you feel isolated, schedule a workout class in your community, work at a coffee shop for an hour each morning, or schedule a mid-day walk with a neighbour.

Alternatively, if a particular type of work task drains you, try rearranging your work bit by bit. Job crafting involves changing your job to suit you better rather than changing yourself. A career or leadership coach will help you move forward with a position that better suits you.

manage your energy

4. Reach out and ask for help

To overcome stress and burnout, it’s essential to seek support and assistance. For instance, consider reaching out to your manager for guidance and support. You could also seek advice on effective task delegation and prioritization techniques to help lighten your workload and manage stress more effectively.

Similarly, can you enlist your family at home to help with the chores, hire a house cleaner, or purchase meal kits?

ask for help

5. Setting limits and
learning to say No

It’s crucial to acknowledge that we all have limits and aren’t inexhaustible machines. For instance, if you tend to be a people pleaser, mastering the art of saying no is essential for preserving your well-being.

Establishing clear boundaries around work is also fundamental for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Consider setting a firm endpoint for your workday, such as finishing by 5 p.m. on weekdays. Make a conscious effort to fully disconnect from work during weekends, allowing yourself time to recharge and rejuvenate. Remember, setting limits and establishing boundaries are vital steps towards cultivating a sustainable and fulfilling lifestyle.

Learn to Say No

6. Learn to master your emotions

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Burnout results from an inability to manage chronic workplace stress. To help, we can learn to master our emotions.

Taking time to calm our minds will help us be less reactive to stressors and more present. To begin, schedule some time each day to calm your mind. A short meditation or mindfulness activity are great ideas to start.

We have the capacity to respond to stressors in healthier ways. Instead of feeling helpless, engaging in worry, blaming others, or overworking, we can focus on what is within our control and let go of the rest. By shifting our mindset towards what is possible and taking proactive steps, we can effectively manage stress and cultivate resilience.

Master emotions