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  • Writer's pictureJamee Leichtle

How to Recover from Burnout and Increase Resiliency

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Stressed and burnt out from work

We hear the word burnout all of the time... especially as it relates to the workplace.

But what is burnout?

How do you know if you're experiencing it?

What can you do to recover?

Although burnout is typically related to ongoing, elevated stress experienced at work or school, it can also be experienced as a result of interpersonal challenges, preoccupation with certain activities, or other high-stress environments/situations. This can look like continuous, unfair treatment or lack of acknowledgment from a supervisor, having to complete numerous homework assignments during a small timeframe, excessive conflicts in a troubled romantic relationship, consistently neglecting self-care due to parenting demands, and more.

Burnout is a response to prolonged stress that leads one to experience a profound sense of physical, mental, and emotional depletion.

This lingering type of exhaustion can lead to low productivity and disengagement and is often directly connected to unfair treatment, unreasonable expectations, communication challenges, and a lack of trustworthy support.

If not addressed soon enough, the unmanageable overwhelm felt from these ongoing experiences can lead to feelings of meaninglessness and hopelessness that may become progressively difficult to overcome.

Since burnout is not a formal medical diagnosis, burnout symptoms are often unacknowledged and overlooked, which can cause additional feelings of distress.

Here is an array of physical health issues you may be experiencing:
  • Increased visits to your doctor

  • Brain fog

  • Muscle tension

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Poor digestion

  • Poor concentration

  • Weight gain or loss

  • A weakened immune system

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Body aches

  • Frequent headaches

  • Low energy

Here are some mental health issues you may be experiencing:
  • Loss of compassion

  • Disinterest

  • Irritability

  • Pessimism

  • Isolation

  • Apathy

  • Distrust

  • Dysfunctional relationships

  • Low self-esteem

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Grief

  • Substance use disorders

Acknowledging and accepting that you may have reached burnout are courageous and necessary first steps to recovery.

Healing from burnout is not something that can happen overnight, in a week's time, or even in a month's time – a gentle self-reminder of this can be comforting and extremely helpful. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may need to make significant mindset and lifestyle changes that will allow your mind and body to truly rest and rejuvenate.

Successful recovery from burnout is a timely, intentional process that requires daily self-compassion and patience...

Woman practicing self-care and self-compassion to recover from Burnout

... with persistence and lots of self-care, it is entirely possible to make a full recovery. Additionally, the deep changes you make and the healing you experience through your unique recovery process can inspire lasting positive change.

Here are some suggestions to get started:

Develop a specific, individualized plan that targets lowering your stress levels.

Your plan can include:
  • Reducing and simplifying routines and tasks at home

  • Setting firm boundaries for anything work-related when not at work

  • Prioritizing sleep and mental rest

  • Finding a calm place of your own

  • Stretching

  • Exercising regularly

  • Engaging in a hobby or activity that you enjoy

  • Practicing gratitude or a faith-based ritual

  • Drinking plenty of water

  • Eating nutritious foods

  • Practicing relaxation exercises like yoga and deep breathing, and

  • Engaging in mindful practices like cooking, nature walks, painting, gardening, etc.

Seek trustworthy support from family and friends.

Friends bonding and supporting each other

Let your loved ones know that you are struggling and need their support. Share what your experience has been like and give specific suggestions for how they can best support you during this time.

Some ideas for growing emotional closeness with social support include:

  • Frequent phone calls to check in

  • Going on a grocery run together

  • Scheduling meetings for lunch or dinner

  • Making a home-cooked meal together

  • Watching a funny movie together

Get connected to a professional.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is admit that you need professional help.

Woman in therapy session

If you are currently struggling with several of the physical or mental health symptoms mentioned above, you may largely benefit from mental health services.

Getting connected with a licensed therapist will allow you the space to discuss the causes of burnout and the emotional distress felt as a result of burnout and help you develop new, effective strategies to monitor stress levels.

If you are seeking a safe and judgment-free space to explore and heal past and current hurts, RFC Counseling & Wellness may be a great fit for you. We are a mental health practice providing individual, couple and family counseling services to all residents in Colorado and California. Our specialties include treating trauma-related disorders, anxiety-related disorders, low self-esteem, difficult life transitions & relationship challenges. Our approach to treatment is trauma-informed, person-centered, culturally responsive, strengths-based and relational. We utilize a variety of theoretical perspectives to provide integrative and holistic treatment that is tailored uniquely to you.

Take a first step toward healing and positive change. Book a free phone consultation today!


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