Burnout is nature’s way of telling you,

you’ve been going through the motions

your soul has departed;

you’re a zombie, a member of the walking dead,

a sleepwalker.

Sam Keen

Burnout can take a toll on your mind and body causing you to suffer symptoms of exhaustion, anxiety, and even depression. If you do not stop and make changes in what you are doing, or how you are approaching things, burnout can lead to even more significant health problems like heart attacks or strokes.

In order to avoid burnout it is important to get into the habit of recognizing its warning signs so that you can stop it before it begins. Even some relatively simple or minor life changes may make it more likely for you to avoid burnout all together.

1. Really look at your workload. It is all too easy to take on too much work without realizing that there are only so many hours in the day to get everything accomplished. If you run on overdrive all the time, without giving yourself a decent break, you will surely eventually reach the point of burning out. You have two choices when it comes to trying to figure out how to alter your workload:

  • First, you can study time management techniques in order to work more efficiently. You may be be able to get more done in less time.
  • Second, you can probably safely drop a few things off of your workload. This may not be always be the ideal solution, but it is important for the sake of your health and happiness.

2. Don’t wait for exhaustion to find you. When you are really in tune with your body, you can sense when you are approaching exhaustion. As soon as you start to feel this way it is time to stop and look to make a change. You can book a mini-vacation, go on a day trip, or you can spend time at home. The important thing to remember is that you need to leave the sources of your stress behind. If this means no access to a cell phone or computer, then so be it!

3. Change is a good thing. If you keep reaching a point where you think you will burn out, then it is past time to make some major life changes. For example, you may be in a job that is causing you to repeatedly burnout despite your best efforts to avoid it. Perhaps it is time to start looking for a more suitable job.

4. Force yourself to take breaks. There are many good reasons why it is mandatory in many businesses that employees are offered breaks. You need breaks to continually refresh, rejuvenate, and renew your mind. Go for a 10-minute walk, play a Sudoku puzzle, or just get away from the source of your tension for just a few minutes.

5. Get some help. Sometimes we feel like we are all alone with our problems and we forget to reach out and ask for some help. But that just may be the antidote or answer to our stress! Talk to your partner, friend, or a personal coach to vent your frustrations and seek advice.

6. Say “No” more often. There is a difference between someone who is open and accommodating and someone who says yes to everything that crosses their path. If you tell everyone yes, it is high;y likely that someone will take advantage of you at some point. Learn that sometimes saying no is in everyone’s best interest, including yours.


In the end, the most important tip is to listen to what your inner self is telling you. If you have taken on too much, make a list and figure out the most important items that need to get done by you. The other stuff will simply have to wait or someone else will have to complete the tasks.


If you ever feel like you are starting to panic, stop, take a few breaths and/ or go out for a walk to blow off some steam. Vent your emotions. Vent to friends, yourself, or to your journal. Pent up emotions are likely to lead to unwanted burnout.

These are just a few strategies that you can use to help stave off burnout. Take action, get things back under control, and you will soon be free of the crushing pressure of burnout!


Photo Credit: shoothead via Compfight cc

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