What is burnout and tips to avoid it

Burnout. The word that seems to have swept across the wellness world over the past 12 to 18 months. But what does it mean, are you at risk, and most importantly how do you avoid it?

Lets start with the definition of burnout, as we find it does get lost in translation and watered down at times. According to Ayala Pines and Elliot Aronson, burnout is “A state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by long term involvement in emotionally demanding situations.” So really, it is reaching that breaking point and to be honest, it is pretty hard to come back from without serious help. 

Stress and burnout are often confused and used interchangeably, but the fact is that they are very different, and stress is not as severe as burnout can be. Stress is a short term feeling but burnout is a long term condition that can be mentally and physically draining if not dealt with correctly and effectively.

There are some classic symptoms of burnout including; a negative attitude to your work, trouble with sleeping, low energy and vibrations, removing yourself from social situations, feelings of dread, and being easily irritated. While some of these symptoms can be signifiers of something more serious, they can also be signs of burnout. It is always best to speak to a medical professional if you are concerned, but if it is a burnout you are dealing with, there are some things you can do to slowly but surely bring yourself back home to yourself. 


There are plenty of things that can cause burnout as well, such as stress at work, being in a job that does not stimulate you or your creativity, being under a lot of pressure in your life, and many other things as well. Burnout doesnt just happen to one type of person, and it can happen to anyone. 

The first thing to do is accept where you are at currently and know that burnout isnt going to last forever. Also know that scented candles and a face mask are not going to be the things to help. Although these things can make you feel good in the short term, the work is going to be deeper and based around building healthier habits and routines for yourself. 

Getting over burnout is tough, and like we mentioned, seeking medical advice is a good idea too. If you are looking to build back from burnout then here are some things you can work into your routine… 


Step back from pressure


We know this is easier said than done but try to see where you can step back from pressures within everyday life. If you can, speak to your employer or if you are self-employed, see where you can deflate or lessen the load you are dealing with. It might seem counterproductive but your mental health needs to come first here and you will thank yourself for it later down the line.

Sleep is key


Getting a good, restful night of sleep is key. If you struggle with this, check out our sleep stories on MADE on Demand to help you drift off and relax down into your bed each and every night. Sleep is one of the main things we need to keep the body healthy and when we are stressed and burnt out, our sleep gets compromised, so this is really vital to keep in check.


Add in some gentle exercise 


Whatever you do, dont commit to a 10K or HIIT workout every day of the week. Start with walks, yoga, pilates, gentle pieces of movement to bring your body back home. HIIT might be the answer for you as we are all different but please just take things slow and steady, with shorter bursts to start with if you are choosing high intensity. Get your body moving in a way that feels achievable. 

Journal about how you are feeling 


This may or may not be for you, but see if you can write about how you are feeling. It doesnt have to be war and peace, it can be a word a day so you can track your mood and feelings as you go. It can be quite cathartic as a process, we think!


Feed your soul and your body 


Be mindful of the fuel you are putting into your body. Think about the colours on your plate and how you can add more of them, to give your body the fuel that it needs to get going again and keep fighting fit.

Hydrate and avoid fizz


Water should be the beverage of choice, staying away from fizzy drinks and caffeine too. You want to keep the mind steady and calm, so fizz, alcohol and caffeine are going to have the opposite effect. Stay hydrated with water and add some fruit teas if you would like to. 


Know that it is going to be a slow process and it isnt generally something that can be fixed overnight. True burnout takes a while to come back from so please be kind to yourself and know that you are doing your best.  

To prevent burnout, make sure you are creating these healthy habits and creating a balance between work, rest and play. You cannot pour from an empty cup so make sure you are taking care of your own needs and meeting those requirements before spreading yourself too thinly. 

While we know it isnt always possible to cook healthy meals, exercise regularly, journal and meditate, see if you can do some of those things and build them into a routine. Even five minutes of you’ time is better than none at all and we will guarantee that you will feel better for taking that time, even if it is the time it takes to boil the kettle.


Find out more


Do you want to find out more about wellness and burnout? Our founder, Penny, spoke about this recently, and can share some of her personal tips for keeping well both mentally and physically. Join us for a two week trial of MADE on Demand to build healthier habits in your body and mind to keep things balanced and happy.