February 26, 2014

Could You Be Experiencing Burnout?

Are you waking up and wondering how you are going to get through the day? Anxious about how you are going to find the energy and motivation to get through all the things you need to do…let alone the things you want to do? Are you just feeling ‘blah?’

It is very likely you are experiencing burnout.


Photo Credit: Vic via Flickr CC

But what is burnout? According to Helpguide

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.

Burnout reduces your productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.

Do you know this feeling? Most people will experience burnout at some point in their life. There is a solution, however; do less and do more. It’s not as contradictory as it sounds…

Doing Less

When you are suffering from burnout, you need to give yourself permission to do less by only doing the things that you have to do. You have lots of responsibilities, right? Doing less is not about dismissing those responsibilities. Doing less is about honouring those responsibilities, but not going that ‘extra-mile’ for now.

Is giving yourself permission to do less something you struggle with?

This is often the hardest part.

When you are used to doing a lot for other people, it can be challenging to your sense of self when you decide to back off. When notions of being a ‘good’ Mum/Dad/wife/husband/friend are tied up with how you care for others, it can be hard to allow yourself the time you need to restore your energy and enthusiasm for life.

It is hard…but it is necessary.

The quicker you intervene, the better. The longer you experience burnout the more it affects all other aspects of your life, and the higher your risk of becoming sick.

To start doing less, start thinking about ways to cut back your daily ‘to-do list.’

Maybe only iron the clothes you need this week and leave the rest till next week. Maybe cook a few meals from packet mixes this week instead of going all out with meals made from scratch. Try delegating some tasks to someone else. Begin to slow down.  

No doubt as you think of doing less you will meet some internal resistance;

· “I don’t want to look lazy”

· “Isn’t it self-indulgent?”

· “My family will be upset”

· “I hate not feeling productive”

· “Everyone else seems to be dealing so well, why aren’t I?”

· “I can’t delegate, no one else can do it like I do it…they just don’t know how”

Sound familiar? Unfortunately when you are burnt out you need to let go of any controlling tendencies you might have, as hard as it is.You need to do what is necessary to start looking after you.

That is the first step of recovery. The second step is doing more…

Doing More

Take more time out to reconnect, relax and rejuvenate. Once you are feeling reenergised you can hit the ground running again. Don’t feel guilty taking time out for yourself.

What things can you do today to start caring for yourself?

Would a walk along the beach help? Maybe a relaxed glass of wine after work and an early night? Maybe some time out at a cafĂ© with a good book and a coffee…I know that always works for me.

By doing less on your ‘to-do list’ and more you of the things that relax you, you will be able to rejuvenate quickly and bounce back from burnout. There is a time for everything, and now is the time to take care of yourself…then you can get back into the world and give it your all.

xxx Jess xxx


  1. Full of wisdom and very practical at the same time. Thanks Jess!

  2. Thanks Sue, I'm so glad you found it useful. I am definitely needing to reconnect, relax and rejuvenate...it is just about giving yourself permission isn't it. So 'easy,' yet so hard to do some times.