Dealing with Burnout? These Tips and Strategies May Help (2023)

Dealing with Burnout? These Tips and Strategies May Help (1)Share on Pinterest

Your brain and body can only handle feeling overworked and overwhelmed for so long.

If you consistently experience high levels of stress without taking steps to manage or reduce it, exhaustion eventually takes over — leaving you emotionally and physically burned out.

You may begin to feel less motivated since it seems like nothing you do matters.

Since burnout happens gradually, you might not notice symptoms immediately. But once it takes hold, it can affect your ability to function across all aspects of life.

Key signs of burnout include:

  • forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
  • diminished pride in your work
  • losing sight of yourself and your goals
  • difficulty maintaining relationships and being present with loved ones
  • frustration and irritability with co-workers
  • unexplained muscle tension, pain, fatigue, and insomnia

Estimates suggest anywhere between 4 and 7 percent of the working public may experience burnout, though workers in certain fields, such as healthcare, tend to experience burnout at much higher rates.

Burnout can have a far-reaching impact, often:

  • negatively affecting work performance
  • keeping you from enjoying hobbies and time with family, or relaxing outside of work
  • increasing risk for health concerns, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, depression, and suicide

Taking action to address burnout is essential, since it generally only gets worse. The next 10 steps can help you get started on the road to recovery.

It’s tough to make changes when you don’t know exactly what needs to change, but exploring contributing factors or sources of stress in your life can help.

Burnout often relates to job and professional triggers, like the stress of an increasingly demanding job. But you could also experience burnout when:

  • having a rigorous academic schedule
  • dealing with relationship problems, especially ones that seem to circle with no resolution
  • caring for a loved one with a serious or chronic health condition

Trying to do too much on your own also creates an ideal environment for burnout to fester.

“Eventually you bend so much you break, and that’s when burnout happens,” explains Barrie Sueskind, LMFT, a therapist in Los Angeles.

Say you’re a single parent with a full-time job, trying to take online classes, and keep up with friends and loved ones at the same time.

(Video) Burnout: Symptoms & Strategies

The stress that accompanies each single factor might be manageable on its own, but the combination can easily overwhelm you if you don’t take steps to get support.

You might recognize a few ways to lighten your load right away.

Three different time-consuming projects keeping you working long hours, week after week?

“Those with a lot of ambition to succeed in their careers are tempted to do it all,” Sueskind says. But this can backfire when you end up with no energy for anything.

Instead, try accepting that doing it all isn’t realistic, and ask your supervisor to reassign one project or add someone else to your team.

Overwhelmed with work and personal commitments but still can’t bring yourself to turn down requests from loved ones?

“Those with people-pleasing tendencies often take on too much to avoid letting anyone down,” Sueskind says.

If you’re already running out of hours in the day for the things you absolutely need to do, adding more tasks will only add more frustration and stress.

Evaluate your existing commitments and consider canceling or rescheduling a few. The immediate relief this brings may surprise you.

If you feel unsure of how to begin sorting through the causes of burnout and looking for ways to ease your stress, that’s normal.

Burnout can become so overwhelming that determining how to address it still seems exhausting. It’s also hard to identify potential solutions when you feel completely spent.

Involving a trusted loved one can help you feel supported and less alone. Friends, family members, and partners can help you brainstorm possible solutions.

They’re close enough to your life to have some understanding of what works for you but still have enough distance to consider the situation with some clarity.

Opening up to people about the distress you’re experiencing can take some courage, especially when you worry they’ll see you as incapable or lazy.

(Video) 3 Tips For Burnout Recovery

But struggling through burnout alone can make overcoming it more difficult.

And you never know, your loved ones may have experienced burnout themselves and could have some valuable insight to share.

Unfortunately, addressing burnout isn’t always straightforward. But this doesn’t have to mean it will hold you down forever.

You may not see an easy road to recovery, but a little exploration may unearth some kind of path.

Maybe your boss keeps piling work on, despite your requests for help from co-workers or time to finish current projects first.

It might be time to start searching for a new job that respects your capabilities.

If you feel burned out because of relationship difficulties, a counselor can offer support as you take a closer look at your relationship and whether it’s serving your best interests.

In short, when you give everything you have and it still isn’t enough, there’s not much more you can do besides move on — for your own sake.

Sometimes, just knowing other routes exist can renew hope and help you remember you have power to make changes, even if those changes don’t happen right away.

Burnout can make you feel powerless. You might feel as if your life is rushing past and you can’t keep up.

If outside factors contributed to burnout, you might blame these circumstances and have a hard time seeing what you can do to change the situation.

You may not have had control over what happened to bring you to this point, but you do have the power to take back control and begin to recharge.

To start, try these tips:

  • Prioritize. Some things just have to get done, but others can wait until you have more time and energy. Decide which tasks are less important and set them aside.
  • Delegate. You can’t do everything yourself, so if more tasks than you can handle need immediate attention, pass them off to someone you trust.
  • Leave work at work. Part of burnout recovery is learning to prioritize work-life balance. After leaving work, focus on relaxing and recharging for the next day.
  • Be firm about your needs. Talk to others involved and let them know what’s happening. Explain that you need some support in order to take care of your health and manage your workload productively.

Setting limits on the time you give to others can help you manage stress while recovering from burnout.

“Accepting too many commitments can cause overwhelm,” Sueskind explains.

Before you agree to help someone or accept an invitation, she recommends the following:

  • Push the pause button.
  • Take a moment to walk through everything that will be required of you if you agree.
  • Ask yourself if you really have the time and energy.
  • Consider whether doing it offers value to you.

Part of boundary setting also involves learning to say no.

“You’re not lazy, selfish, or mean for declining a request for your precious time,” Sueskind emphasizes. “Being selective about accepting commitments is key to taking care of your mental health, honoring the truly important commitments, and proactively preventing burnout.”

(Video) The Fastest Way to Recover from Burnout

Reaching a point of burnout can bring up feelings of failure and a loss of purpose or life direction. You might feel as if you can’t do anything properly or you’ll never achieve your goals.

When you reach a point of burnout, you’ve probably pushed yourself past the point of what most people would realistically consider themselves capable of for some time.

What would you say to a friend in your situation? Chances are, you’d offer empathy and kindness instead of telling them how utterly they failed.

Grant yourself the same love and support. Remind yourself you don’t have to be perfect, and that it’s OK to need a break.

So maybe you can’t complete three proposals at once. Who can, really? And so what if you didn’t ace that last exam? You still got a decent score.

In the end, all you can do is your best with the strengths you have. But you’ll find it easier to use those strengths when you aren’t running on empty.

Taking charge of your physical and mental health is key to burnout recovery.

(Video) How to Bounce Back from Burnout in 3 Simple Steps | Allan Ting | TEDxWilmingtonLive

In an ideal world, reaching the point of burnout would mean you immediately take time off, clear your schedule, and dedicate your days to rest and relaxation.

But most people simply can’t do that.

If you have bills to pay and children to take care of, quitting may seem impossible until you have other prospects.

If you’re caring for a sick family member who has no other relatives, you may not have anyone else to turn to for support.

Practicing good self-care can make recharging easier while you try other strategies to reset.

Try these tips:

  • Make enough time for restful sleep.
  • Spend time with loved ones, but don’t overdo it — alone time is important, too.
  • Try to get some physical activity in each day.
  • Eat nutritious meals and stay hydrated.
  • Try meditation, yoga, or other mindfulness practices for improved relaxation.

Severe burnout can drain you and make it hard to remember what you used to enjoy.

You may have lost your passion for a career you once loved and feel angry and resentful when you get to work each day.

Perhaps you no longer care about your favorite hobbies, or you’ve stopped responding to texts from friends because you lack the energy for conversation.

You might even feel perpetually irritated and snap at your partner or family without meaning to.

To counter these feelings, create a list of the things that bring you joy. It might include things like:

  • long walks with your best friend
  • taking your child to the park
  • reading a book in the bathtub

Make time for these activities every week, and keep this habit up even after you feel more like yourself.

Confronting burnout isn’t easy, especially when it’s already taken a toll on your personal relationships and quality of life.

A therapist can offer professional guidance by helping you identify causes, explore possible coping methods, and navigate any life challenges contributing to burnout.

(Video) Burn Out to Brilliance. Recovery from Chronic Fatigue | Linda Jones | TEDxBirminghamCityUniversity

Burnout can provoke feelings of helplessness and can also play a part in feelings of depression, so it’s particularly important to talk with a therapist if you:

  • feel hopeless
  • have a persistent low mood
  • experience thoughts of hurting yourself or others

Resetting yourself after burnout can be a lengthy process — but by choosing to address it, you’ve already taken the first step.

Crystal Raypole has previously worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.


What are 4 strategies that help prevent professional burnout? ›

Preventing Burnout
  • Early recognition of burnout and related risks. ...
  • Cultivate ability to self-reflect. ...
  • Complete a periodic assessment and realignment of goals, skills, and work passions.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet.
  • Get enough sleep.

What are 5 strategies to avoid burnout and reduce stress? ›

To avoid burnout, follow these tips:
  • Work with purpose.
  • Perform a job analysis, and eliminate or delegate unnecessary work.
  • Give to others.
  • Take control, and actively manage your time.
  • Get more exercise.
  • Learn how to manage stress.

How to help someone with burnout? ›

7 Tips For Managing Someone With Burnout
  1. #1 Open up a conversation. ...
  2. #2 Don't assume what they need. ...
  3. #3 Ask how you can help. ...
  4. #4 Encourage them to see a health professional. ...
  5. #5 Ensure they have support outside of work. ...
  6. #6 Explore the route to recovery. ...
  7. #7 Check-in regularly.
Aug 20, 2020

What are the 7 ways to avoid burnout? ›

7 ways to prevent burnout
  • Embrace your stress. It's the lack of control that makes most of us anxious. ...
  • Build Resilience. Resilience protects us from the negative effects of stress. ...
  • Exercise. ...
  • Eat a balanced diet. ...
  • Practice good sleep habits. ...
  • Express gratitude - often. ...
  • Ask for help.

How do I relax and recover from burnout? ›

Try these tips:
  1. Make enough time for restful sleep.
  2. Spend time with loved ones, but don't overdo it — alone time is important, too.
  3. Try to get some physical activity in each day.
  4. Eat nutritious meals and stay hydrated.
  5. Try meditation, yoga, or other mindfulness practices for improved relaxation.
Mar 30, 2020

How do you manage or reduce stress and burnout at work? ›

Taking steps to manage stress
  1. Track your stressors. Keep a journal for a week or two to identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them. ...
  2. Develop healthy responses. ...
  3. Establish boundaries. ...
  4. Take time to recharge. ...
  5. Learn how to relax. ...
  6. Talk to your supervisor. ...
  7. Get some support.
Jul 1, 2014

How do you prevent burnout and overwork? ›

To be successful at maintaining work-life balance, try the following:
  1. Set time limits when you start and end your day and stick to those. ...
  2. Use assertive communication with supervisors to set boundaries with workload and expectations. ...
  3. Create a life vision or career plan that includes work-life balance.
Jul 11, 2021

What are 5 positive coping strategies for stress? ›

Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. ...
  • Take care of yourself. ...
  • Take care of your body. ...
  • Make time to unwind. ...
  • Talk to others. ...
  • Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol.

What are 12 strategies to deal with stress? ›

Physical activity is a natural stress buster.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet can help relax muscles and reduce anxiety. ...
  • Reduce caffeine and sugar. ...
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. ...
  • Get plenty of sleep. ...
  • Supplement with magnesium. ...
  • Identify professionals who can help.
Feb 16, 2018

What are the stages of burnout recovery? ›

You can think of the recovery process as building up a temporary wall between you and your job. Doing so entails the four simple steps of psychological detachment, relaxation, mastery, and control (Sonnentag, Mojza, Demerouti, & Bakker, 2012; Fritz, & Sonnentag, 2005).

What is the first strategy for burnout prevention? ›

Improved self-care strategies:

Minimize or eliminate alcohol and caffeine. Develop and follow a healthy eating plan. Take time away from work if the burnout impairs your ability to function or requires treatment. Ensure the recovery process includes developing a healthy approach to work.

What are the 3 components of burnout? ›

Maslach's model includes three key components of burnout: emotional exhaustion; depersonalization; and, reduced personal accomplishment.

How long does it take to overcome burnout? ›

It takes an average time of three months to a year to recover from burnout. How long your burnout lasts will depend on your level of emotional exhaustion and physical fatigue, as well as if you experience any relapses or periods of stagnant recovery.

How do you recharge after burnout? ›

Recharging Your Body

Focusing on things like improving your diet, getting into an exercise routine, and refining your sleep schedule can drastically decrease symptoms of burnout. Keeping with a consistent diet and avoid skipping meals can improve overall concentration and focus while also reducing stress.

What are the 10 coping strategies? ›

10 Ways to Cope with Chronic Stress
  • Re-balance Work and Home.
  • Build in Regular Exercise.
  • Eat Well and Limit Alcohol and Stimulants.
  • Connect with Supportive People.
  • Carve out Hobby Time.
  • Practice Meditation, Stress Reduction or Yoga.
  • Sleep Enough.
  • Bond with Your Pet.

What are 4 healthy stress management strategies? ›

Fortunately, there are 4 steps to help reduce stress and cope with the inevitable stressors of everyday life:
  • Avoid. Believe it or not, it is possible to escape some of the minor stressors that tend to trouble people: ...
  • Alter. Communicate clearly and let people know your expectations. ...
  • Accept. ...
  • Adapt.
Mar 8, 2021

What are 4 examples of positive coping strategies? ›

What are some common coping strategies?
  • Lower your expectations.
  • Ask others to help or assist you.
  • Take responsibility for the situation.
  • Engage in problem solving.
  • Maintain emotionally supportive relationships.
  • Maintain emotional composure or, alternatively, expressing distressing emotions.
Nov 24, 2020

What are the 5 types of coping strategies? ›

There are five main types of coping skills: problem-focused strategies, emotion-focused strategies, meaning making, social support, and religious coping.

What are 6 ways to reduce stress? ›

Ways to Reduce Stress
  • Take Short Breaks. If your work environment or your home life is the cause of your stress, take breaks. ...
  • Exercise Regularly. ...
  • Get Enough Sleep. ...
  • Eat Healthy. ...
  • Make Time for Yourself. ...
  • Don't Be Afraid to Seek Medical Care.
Jul 10, 2014

What are 15 ways to reduce stress? ›

15 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress & Anxiety
  • Exercise. You don't need a gym to exercise. ...
  • Go outside. Connect with nature in your backyard. ...
  • Aromatherapy. Pull out those old scented candles and inhale a calming scent. ...
  • Journal. ...
  • Listen to calming music. ...
  • Sing. ...
  • Laugh. ...
  • Connect.
Apr 2, 2020

What are 10 ways to reduce stress? ›

  • Get active. Virtually any form of physical activity can act as a stress reliever. ...
  • Meditate. ...
  • Laugh more. ...
  • Connect with others. ...
  • Assert yourself. ...
  • Try yoga. ...
  • Get enough sleep. ...
  • Keep a journal.

What are the 3 keys to managing stress? ›

Meditate or practice yoga. Work in the garden or do a home improvement project. Go for a walk, run or bike ride to clear your head.

What does true burnout feel like? ›

Being burned out means feeling empty and mentally exhausted, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. People experiencing burnout often don't see any hope of positive change in their situations. If excessive stress feels like you're drowning in responsibilities, burnout is a sense of being all dried up.

What happens to brain after burnout? ›

Your brain on burnout

Chronic stress has long been known to contribute to mental and physical diseases, and now researchers are able to capture what happens to the brain. “One of the most striking (effects) is thinning of the gray matter of an area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex,” Arnsten said.

Does burnout feel like anxiety? ›

These symptoms clearly overlap with depression. While this may be true, burnout also significantly aligns with anxiety. Symptoms like inability to focus, changes in sleep, and lack of motivation can come from a depressed state. In contrast, these symptoms may also come from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

What are the five symptoms of burnout? ›

Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout
  • Sense of failure and self-doubt.
  • Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated.
  • Detachment, feeling alone in the world.
  • Loss of motivation. Increasingly cynical and negative outlook.
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.
Feb 24, 2023

How long does it take to get over burnout? ›

How Long Does Burnout Last? It takes an average time of three months to a year to recover from burnout. How long your burnout lasts will depend on your level of emotional exhaustion and physical fatigue, as well as if you experience any relapses or periods of stagnant recovery.

Is it OK to quit a job because of burnout? ›

You're Burnt Out. Is burnout and stress on your list of good reasons to quit a job? If your job has lost its luster and you feel like the long hours, pressure and anxiety aren't worth it anymore; you're not alone. Every day, people quit their jobs due to the emotional exhaustion and chronic stress of demanding roles.

How do you break from a burnout? ›

5 Tips for Managing Burnout When You Can't Just Walk Away
  1. Reframe Your Mindset. Consider the role you're burned out from and remind yourself why you started, Thornton suggests. ...
  2. Make Time for Self-Care. ...
  3. Ask for Help. ...
  4. Maintain Your Social Life. ...
  5. Set Boundaries.
Jan 29, 2023

How do you break the cycle of burnout? ›

How to Break the Burnout Cycle
  1. Involve others – Whatever you're working, on get others' ideas in addition to your own. ...
  2. Incorporate relaxation into your daily routine – Whatever that means for you, whether it's taking a coffee break outside, throwing a ball for your dog, or watching a tv show.

What happens to the brain in burnout? ›

Burnout's Effect on the Brain

People also have weaker connections between the amygdala and areas of the brain linked to emotional distress and executive function, which can explain why those with burnout tend to be more irritable and have difficulty controlling negative emotions.

What triggers burnout? ›

Common causes of burnout include: lack of adequate social support; taking on more than one can handle at work, school, or interpersonally with family and friends; and poor self-care. Burnout is a serious matter.

What are the physical effects of burnout? ›

Burnout at your workplace usually creeps in subtly, over time, impacting workers in a way that they almost don't notice. Signs and symptoms include chronic fatigue, insomnia, physical symptoms like headaches and stomachaches, anger, isolation, irritability, depression, and more.

What are the 12 stages of burnout? ›

The 12 Stages of Burnout
  • Excessive Ambition.
  • Pushing Yourself to Work Harder.
  • Neglecting Personal Care and Needs.
  • Displacement of Conflict.
  • Changes in Values to Validate Self Worth.
  • Denial of Problems and Shame.
  • Social Withdrawal.
  • Obvious Behavior Changes.
May 18, 2016

Can you fully recover from burnout? ›

Burnout is usually a slow and gradual process – one that tends to rob people of their passion, their motivation, and energy, leaving them instead with feelings of exhaustion, disillusionment, and frustration. But as overwhelming and infiltrating as burnout can feel, recovering is possible.

How can I recover from burnout without stopping? ›

How to beat workplace burnout without quitting your job
  1. Own the problem. It's a cliche to say that to fix the problem, you must first accept that you have a problem. ...
  2. Know your limits. ...
  3. Set boundaries. ...
  4. Change your work environment. ...
  5. Make time for self care. ...
  6. Ask for help.
Jul 26, 2022

How do you tell your boss you're struggling mentally? ›

Budget more time than you think you'll need so that the conversation isn't cut short. Be clear about the impact your mental health challenges are having at work. If the cause is work-related, share that also. As much as possible, come with suggestions for how your manager or HR can help you.

What is quietly quitting? ›

Key Takeaways. The term “quiet quitting” refers to employees who put no more effort into their jobs than absolutely necessary. A 2022 Gallup survey suggested that at least half of the U.S. workforce consists of quiet quitters. 1.

Do you tell your boss about burnout? ›

Talking to your boss about burnout can benefit your well-being. It is a way to open the door to constructive conversations that can help get you back on track and feel better about work. With support, this may improve your job gratification and overall performance.

Is Job burnout a disability? ›

Also, employers need to be aware that burnout could be a “disability” as defined by the American's With Disabilities Act (ADA). As with other psychiatric disabilities, employers may be called upon to make “reasonable accommodations” for an employee with burnout.


1. How to Deal with Burnout
2. Burnout Is Now A Legitimate Diagnosis: Here Are The Symptoms And How To Treat It | TODAY
3. 15 minutes a day to prevent burnout | Paul Koeck | TEDxFlandersWomen
(TEDx Talks)
4. Need Help for Burnout?: 13 tips to Respond to Stress
(Six Seconds, The Emotional Intelligence Network)
5. Tips to help you deal with stress and burnout
(Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System)
6. Fight Depression and Burnout in 2 Minutes a Day: 3 Good Things Activity
(Therapy in a Nutshell)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Merrill Bechtelar CPA

Last Updated: 04/20/2023

Views: 5365

Rating: 5 / 5 (70 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Merrill Bechtelar CPA

Birthday: 1996-05-19

Address: Apt. 114 873 White Lodge, Libbyfurt, CA 93006

Phone: +5983010455207

Job: Legacy Representative

Hobby: Blacksmithing, Urban exploration, Sudoku, Slacklining, Creative writing, Community, Letterboxing

Introduction: My name is Merrill Bechtelar CPA, I am a clean, agreeable, glorious, magnificent, witty, enchanting, comfortable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.