Photo credit: Katie Moum

Being burnt out means feeling empty, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring.

You may have no energy, lost hope, or simply be unexcited about life in general.

Don’t give up hope because recovery from stress and burnout is possible.

Besides implementing self care activities, you’ll need to learn how to cope with stress in the short and long-term.

But, first, you need to focus on recovery:

  • Start your day with a relaxing ritual, whether that’s a Nature walk, stretching exercises or breakfast on your balcony or terrace without your smart phone. The point is go slow, be gentle and, if possible, add a dose of healing “greenery” to your stress and burnout recovery plan.
  • Nurture your body with extra healthy food and drink. Maximise organic vegetables and fruit, grains such as brown rice or quinoa and fresh, wild-caught fish to feed your brain and ease inflammation. Sip on ginger drinks, filtered water, herbal teas such as lavender, peppermint or camomile. And choose a low-alcohol wine or beer if you want an alcoholic drink. You may need some nutritional support including B vitamins, magnesium or extra Vitamin C to shore up energy and immunity and assist relaxation. If so, consult a qualified naturopath.
  • Alternative therapies including Chinese herbs and acupuncture, massage, or osteopathy an be valuable right now.  These are self-care activities that may help you build resilience but, at least, will add to your sense of a support network.
  • Quality sleep is vital for rest and repair.  Turn your bedroom into a relaxation zone with chemical-free bed linen, heavy curtains or an eye  mask and no electronic or smart devices. Have an area outdoors where you can take a nap. Remember, you are in recovery from stress and burnout. Napping is allowed. You need to regain your energy and strength.
  • Say no to anything that involves stress, or that you don’t feel like doing. Assertiveness training, or wellness consulting that focussing on self-confidence and recognising and honouring your own values will pay dividends. Going against your values contributes to both stress and burnout.
  • Engage in a creative activity that has nothing to do with work – painting, gardening, journalling, cooking or decorating. Your aim: to get in “the flow” so you are entirely present and not regretting the past or worrying about the future.
  • Use a device such as a Spire stone to monitor when you are stressed – in fight or flight response – or when you are calm – in parasympathetic mode.  Chronic, long-term stress is behind burnout and you need to learn how to flick the switch.
  • Get help. Get a stress counsellor, a psychotherapist, a wellness wellness consultant, or someone else who understands where you are at. Sometimes self-care activities mean working as part of a team, not alone. But remember, ultimately, you have control.

Photo credit: Bruno Aguirre

If you are a high flyer in recovery from stress and burnout, acknowledge that you may be addicted to adrenalin and put all the above steps in play.

Many executives need to master meditation, exercise and sleep, and emotional, cognitive and spiritual health to go beyond surviving the treadmill to thriving at life.

In the long-term you’ll need to identify what causes you stress, or change your reaction to those causes. Is it your work itself? The people with whom one works? The company or location? Or is it what you do, that may not be aligned with your values?

You will probably go through a period of not earning and this may be vital to your recovery from stress or burnout.

Alternative sources of income can include savings, mortgage redraws, income protection insurance (you may have this in your super fund if you don’t have a separate policy), selling assets, or even an emergency credit card. You may even have holiday pay or long service leave.

Don’t feel guilty about tapping out financial resources to shore up health. You can’t replace the latter.

Photo credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia 

9 Burnout Signs & Symptoms

  1. Feeling tired and drained most of the time
  2. Disruption to sleep patterns
  3. Frequent headaches or back pain
  4. Feeling sick a lot
  5. Sense of failure and self doubt
  6. Feeling helpless, trapped or defeated
  7. Detachment
  8. Not wanting to socialise
  9. Isolating yourself from others