How to recover from burnout in six steps


Steps towards recovery from burnout

So how do we recover from burnout? Maslach says: “I use an analogy with a canary in a coal mine. The canary has difficulty surviving due to the toxic fumes. It is not about fixing the canary to make it more resilient. “There are coping strategies that will help you rest, but they don’t change the stressors.”

In other words, it’s not as simple as writing a self-care list. While there are steps the individual can take, workplace stressors must also be addressed, as ineffective coping mechanisms can exacerbate burnout, causing both physical and mental health problems.

Recognize burnout

The first step to recovering from burnout is to recognize it. But it can be easier said than done when we’re programmed to move forward.

“There is a denial around exhaustion and we can lose insight the more exhausted we become.”

Walker says. “Watch for early warning signs, such as a short temper, irritation with colleagues, or frustration with small tasks. If you work in a caring profession, you may feel emotionally detached.

“You can feel like your batteries are dead: I tell customers you’re not the famous battery brand that’s still going, you’re the competitor.”

Eliminate stressors

Try to identify the stressors in your workplace and remove the “stones.”

“Having recognized that there is a problem and that something needs to change, evaluate what is possible to change: what is the low-hanging fruit?” Walker says.

The stressor may not be the job per se. in his book The challenge of burnoutMaslach cites the following factors that contribute to the perfect environment for burnout:

  • Increased workload
  • Lack of control
  • Inadequate reward systems
  • A toxic community
  • Lack of justice
  • Opposite values

Work constructively with your colleagues and management to address them. Maslach says: “Can you say: ‘[Let’s] Improve this?’ Can you make suggestions and be constructive? Can you say, ‘We don’t need pats on the back all the time, but we do need to let people know from time to time that they’ve done something right’?

According to the Mental Health UK survey, 43 per cent of workers cite support from a line manager as an effective measure to combat burnout. By lawEmployers are required to identify any risks to your health and must take steps to help prevent or reduce workplace stress.

Set limits

Walker says, “Knowing what your normal time limits are at work (when you start and when you finish) helps your brain understand, ‘This is when I normally log off.’ There may be days when we need to push the boat out, but you need to know what normal is.”

Being more disciplined about when we stop and start being in work mode, answering emails after hours or turning off the work phone can help.

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Reevaluate goals

You may need to have some difficult conversations with your employer about what can really be achieved, or with yourself about the goals you have for your career. A 2022 review in burnout states: “The expectations that employees have regarding their work are related to the level of burnout, such that higher expectations and greater goal setting lead to greater efforts and, therefore, higher levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization… This mismatch between expectations and realities can cause frustration and exhaustion in workers.”

Walker says, “When someone is on the verge of recovery, we look at what brought them to this place and what to implement to get there. [their job] more sustainable. We often need to address their attitude toward their expectations about what they should do, would like to do, or should do.”

Focus on taking care of yourself

  • Eat healthy and stay hydrated
  • Try cardio exercise and yoga.
  • Turn off screens

Maslach says, “There are coping strategies—meditating, mindfulness, exercising, sleeping eight hours, and being healthier—that don’t change the stressors, but help you be more rested.”

In The Burnout Challenge, Maslach cites Tiffany Shlain’s book 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week, which recommends turning off screens one day a week.

When it comes to diet, she writes: “It’s important to eat healthier foods inside and outside of work and eat regularly. “This means cutting down on junk food, drinking more water to stay hydrated, and not skipping meals.”

Other books include that by Professor Mark Williams and Danny Penman. Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to find peace in a hectic worldwhich has an app attached.

In terms of financial year, a 2015 study showed that cardiovascular training was better than resistance training at reducing psychological distress, while the latter (including yoga and Pilates) increased feelings of personal accomplishment. Both were effective in combating stress and emotional exhaustion, and high-intensity interval training (HITT) is believed to be superior to moderate-intensity training.

Remember that taking time off sick or vacation may be a short-term way to cope with burnout, but it is not a long-term path to recovery.

Instead, Walker advises focusing on sustainable recharging strategies: “Start implementing some healthy habits. Establish what is the minimum non-negotiable time away from work you need each week to function sustainably and give you enough respite.”

We can dedicate that time to activities such as yoga, mindfulness or having social contact, but it also includes being in nature and spending one day a month disconnecting from our usual environments.

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Seek professional support

In extreme cases of burnout, seek out a therapist. Evidence shows that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective in reducing burnout: a 2019 study study of 60 nurses experiencing burnout showed that CBT (a problem-focused talk therapy that gives people tools to cope with current situations and negative thought patterns) had an impact on feelings of negativity surrounding both work and performance individual.

The strategy to overcome burnout

Take back control

There is no hard and fast rule for how long it will take to overcome burnout. Some people recover in three months and others may take years. But evidence shows that those who recognized that they were ultimately in control of their own lives recovered successfully.

A 2015 finnish studio A study of 12 people who attended a rehabilitation course after experiencing burnout, titled My Wellbeing in My Own Hands, noted that “the entire self-recovery process represents a change in clients’ perceptions, from denying their symptoms of burnout to Realize that you are ultimately in charge of your own physical and mental well-being.”

Make changes in your lifestyle

According to Walker, the changes we can make to create that “buffer zone,” such as reading, exercising, and disconnecting from work and online stress, are a key part of a burnout recovery strategy. “We are bombarded with emails with expectations of an immediate response and also with visual stimuli, advertisements and social networks. It requires mental load. They have taken away our buffer zone.

“Even watching cat videos on X [social media] It is charging us in a way that offline activities do not. “It is designed to give us doses of dopamine during short attention spans, so it can be difficult to engage in a deep attention task like reading.”

Care must be taken that relaxation strategies such as socialization – which can be beneficial – do not fall into negative habits such as self-medication with alcohol or drugs to cope with the situation.

Prioritize quality sleep

Maslach says, “The notion of that eight-hour workday, eight hours of personal time, and eight hours of sleep (which is how the 24 should be divided) is actually how we function as human beings.”

A Mental Health UK survey found that 64 per cent of working adults thought poor sleep was a contributing factor to burnout. TO study 2021 Nurses with burnout were found to also suffer from daytime sleepiness and poor sleep quality.

Make sure you relax before going to bed. Walker says, “If your mind is overactive and you haven’t turned it off, you’ll have a hard time sleeping. I call it the always-on brain. Spend at least 10 to 15 minutes before bed to regroup and maybe take note of what’s floating around in your head, like worries or priorities for the next day.

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activities you love

“Some people may like to go to the gym, ride a bike or do a hobby, or just spend time with family,” Walker says. In a Mental Health UK report, 71 percent of people cited having a supportive social network as helping to prevent burnout.

Learn stress management techniques.

Walker suggests: “Take some mental time. Whatever works for you, such as reading offline material including newspapers or simply closing your eyes, is fine. “You may have regular practices like mindfulness, which help you immerse yourself in another world for a period of time.” TO study 2023 showed that diaphragmatic breathing (taking four deep breaths per minute) could improve negative reactions to stress.

If you’ve lost your transportation, keep in mind that you may have also lost a key stress management technique. In The challenge of burnoutMaslach discusses the lack of separation we experience when working from home and cites Jerry Useem’s article. The psychological benefits of commuting to workk. If you work from home or do so part-time, try to replicate the commute effect by walking or meditating before and after work.

How to avoid burnout in the future

In extreme circumstances, some people with burnout may choose to leave their job. The ideal would be not to have to opt for the nuclear option.

If so, then the key to avoiding burnout in a new workplace is to make sure your values ​​and theirs match. Walker says, “Ask thoughtful questions about the culture and specific examples like, ‘What is the company’s approach to helping employees achieve work-life balance?'”

Find a company that takes burnout prevention seriously. A survey last year by the Executive Development Network found that 86 percent of employees would leave a job if it didn’t support their well-being.

If you’ve experienced burnout and decide to stay at your job, consider the triggers that caused it last time. “You may feel like you’ve recovered and you’re back to normal, but you start putting yourself under the same load and you fall back down,” Walker says.

Remember that it can be a two-way street between employee and employer. A 2020 study examined how employees could contribute to reducing burnout risks. Among them were: look for tasks that energize; socialize with co-workers; Reduce conflicts between work and home, something especially relevant with the increase in hybrid and flexible working.

No one wants to be trapped in a cycle of repeated burnout, but with collaboration from both parties it can be avoided.



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