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A new kind of burnout: spot it and stop it 

With most of the population under a whole lot of stress, burnout is likely to spread like wildfire during the lockdown. 

Burnout is a state of emotional physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress

Unfortunately, staying at home isn’t going to slow down its progression. It’s actually quite the opposite! Burnout happens when you’re feeling drained, exhausted and overwhelmed because of constant stress. If this is how you’re feeling right now, read on. 

Is burnout lurking around your home right now?


Since the beginning of the lockdown, we’ve been facing new challenges daily. There’s no denying that being presented with a constant stream of new challenges is stressful. 

As we’re struggling to find new coping mechanisms, stress is rising. If you’re still working, there might be some pressure from work (or yourself) to perform at the same level you used to or even higher! 

If you’re still physically going to work, it’s likely your workload has increased dramatically to deal with demand.

If you’re juggling work and childcare, there’s way more on your plate than there was before. 

If you feel under constant stress and you’re starting to feel detached from your work, your family and your reality, it’s time to take a step back. 

Keep burnout at bay by being realistic


If you’re expecting to reach the same level of productivity you did during pre-lockdown, you’re setting yourself for failure and putting yourself under pressure. Yes, there might have been some days where you were really productive and smashed all your goals. This doesn’t mean you should expect it to be the norm. It’s important to be open and flexible during each moment of each day.


The first three stages of burnout are: excessive ambition, pushing yourself too much and neglecting your own needs.


There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious and pushing yourself to work hard, but you want to be careful not to overdue any of these to the point of neglecting your needs. 


Early tell-tale signs are overlooking basics like sleep, exercise, and eating well, on a regular basis.


Signs of burnout

  • Most days are a bad day
  • Constant lethargy, lack of motivation and feeling exhausted
  • Frequent physical and muscle pain or headaches
  • Feeling overwhelmed, defeated and helpless
  • Often withdrawing, isolating yourself and feeling alone
  • Finding it difficult to sleep or interrupted sleep
  • Over or under eating, using alcohol and/or drugs to cope


Burnout is often related to work but with the current situation, it could come from any aspect of your life. It’s all about the amount of stress you’re under, the continuous stress and how you’re coping with it.


Tips to help with burnout

  • Work in 30minute bursts
  • Don’t be hard on yourself and expect too much
  • Find a release.  It might be writing a journal, a video call with a friend/colleague or talking to the cat
  • Plan exercise you enjoy and eat healthy
  • Rehydrate often. Aim for a minimum of 6 glasses of water each day
  • Get into a bed routine and wind down, have a bath, read a book, write down what’s in your head in a journal. Don’t re -read it as you will put it all back in
  • Lessen your alcohol/drug/screen/social media use


If you feel that you’re on your way to a burnout and you can’t seem to put the brakes on, it’s also a good idea to check if your employer offers an Employee Assistance Programme. This usually gives you access to free counselling sessions. This could be just what you need to help you step back, get support and build your resilience. 

If you’re an employer and you don’t have an Employee Assistance Programme for your staff members, we’ve got some short-term solutions like ad-hoc counselling sessions for staff. Click here to find out how we can help you support your staff during difficult times.