Thursday Thoughts: Burnout

Thursday Thoughts: Burnout

This post marks the first in a series of blogs and vlogs on my ramblings about wellness and fitness topics, some may be short some may be long, but I hope that you can find a few that you can relate to, learn and grow from with me, and ideally maybe I might be able to give you a few tips to that genuinely help to improve your overall wellness…

These ‘Thursday Thoughts’ posts might not happen every week, but I am starting off the series today with good intentions to make this a regular fixture if not weekly at the very least bi-weekly or monthly!

As this week is World Wellbeing Week, I thought that I might discuss a topic that many of us have probably felt at some point over the last year or so – Burnout!

The Definition of ‘Burnout’

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.

I for one have definitely felt this in various ways over the past year – the most recent only just last month when work was getting on top of me.

The last year for me has consisted of peaks and troughs – At points I had no work coming in, and at others I had too much work coming in. Now as a freelancer of many years, I have been used to working in waves, but this year took things to a whole different level due to the volatile effects of the pandemic.  the times when I had no work coming in at all, I was stressed out about my future income, my career choice and I was overwhelmed by panic.  At the times when work flurried in I was overwhelmed and stressed out in different way, I didn’t like to say no because of the fear of not knowing if there will be no work again in future, but at the same time, I should have said no as I simply did not have enough hours in the day. As a result, I struggled through but eventually took control, booked a week off work to unplug, recharge and reset.  That week couldn’t come soon enough!

My story is not unique – many friends, clients, and people I speak to day-to-day have also expressed the same feelings and described similar situations.

Due to the pandemic, many of us now work from home with no disconnect from work.  This has resulted in us working longer hours, losing control of our work-life balance and eventually for a few of us leading to burnout…

Our commute times were opportunities (be that forced maybe) to listen to our favourite songs or podcasts, make social calls to check in with friends and family, and to power up or power down for the next stage of the day.

For some, their commute now might even be to the desk in the same room as their bed or living space – they may sleep eat and work all in one room! This recent post on LinkedIn discusses this point further…

So how do we avoid Burnout?

Overwhelming amounts of stress is ultimately the trigger for burnout.

We can’t always avoid stress, so we need to recognise and be ready for what triggers it, understand the stress cycle process we need to go through and get a hold of it before it gets a hold of us.

If you listen to the Brene Brown podcast or read the book Burnout (links to both below) you will discover stress, no matter what the trigger, will ALWAYS affect us both mentally and physically – even if the trigger is essentially just mental stress, we still need to deal with the repercussions physically.

Our primal stress response is fight or flight. A good example used in the book and podcast to illustrate the primal stress cycle is this one below…

Imagine a gazelle that is being hunted by a lion.  That gazelle is in fear of its life, running as fast as it can away from the lion.  The gazelle is in fight mode. Eventually the lion brings it down.  The gazelle thinks all is lost as it crashes to the ground and freezes with fear.  The lion, happy with its catch goes off to gather the rest of the pride.  In those moments whilst the lion is away, the gazelle takes the opportunity to escape. As it stumbles back up onto its feet, its whole body shakes with adrenaline.  This shaking is the gazelle physically dealing with the aftermath of the stress it has just injured…

This physical exertion is what our modern-day lives prevent many of us from being able to achieve and it is a vital part of coming out of the stress cycle, forcing us to remain stuck in a stress tunnel which ultimately leads to burnout.

So part 1: Recognise your stress triggers, understand the stress cycle process…

Part 2: having tools at the ready to help you mentally and physically through the stress cycle…

What tools can we use to support our minds and bodies?

There are many tools we can use to help our minds and bodies through the process.

  • Talking to friends and family can help put perspective on your stress and the trigger.
  • Finishing off that job, submitting your assignment or project, or completing a project at work are all good ways to mentally sign off from that stress trigger

Now your mind is at rest, you still need to deal with the physical effects of stress.  there are many tools you can use to do this including:

  • Creative writing or art
  • Breathwork
  • Yoga
  • Exercise

If you can find one physical method that works for you, then you will be able to complete your stress cycle.

Of course, you are going to have triggers that come back repeatedly, and this is unavoidable, but if you can build these tools into your regular or daily habits, you can help your body through the cycle and avoid eventual burnout.

Holistic Support for Stress Management

My yoga classes and workshop are the perfect tool to support stress management – be that joining in with an online group class, attending a workshop or arranging regular 121 sessions with me.

I can help you recognise your triggers, figure out the best tools to help ease stress and work out a way to build these into your daily routine.

for more information or if you seek further advice, please get in touch:

Email me (Harriet) –

Call me: 07803146960

Recommendations for further discovery…

Recommended Listens: 

An interesting discussion and education on our bodies stress cycle lead by Brene Brown alongside guests Emily and Amelia Nagoski

Recommended Reads:

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