Stop a burnout in its tracks

20 April 2017 by
First published: 30 January 2017

Learn how to stop a burnout in its track with these 5 tips from the pros.

Is your unproductive mood down to more than just lacking motivation? According to Moa Lundström, clinical director of The Covent Garden Practice, Moa, experiencing persistently high levels of stress can lead to a burnout. With long-term consequences such as chronic exhaustion, irritability and, at worse, physical symptoms including migraines and neck ache, a burnout is far more serious than everyday stress. Identifying the triggers are crucial for avoiding prolonged symptoms. In comparison to everyday stress and anxiety the cure for a burnout is usually a ‘complete change in lifestyle, whether that’s a new job or a change in wellness approaches to life.’

If you’re worried you’re on the verge of a burnout, these handy tips from Dr Kathleen Hall, The Stress Institute founder and CEO, could help.


Make a list of how you feel physically, mentally and spiritually. Quantify each feeling on a scale of one to five so you can evaluate clearly how bad your burnout currently is. If you are at a five, seek immediate help from a counsellor, therapist or health-care provider.

Guided imagery

If your stress level is high, begin with guided imagery tapes, available for downloaded online. Research shows that guided imagery is a powerful tool used in medical institutions to reduce stress, induce relaxation and create a state of relaxation for the mind and body. Encouraging imagination, the visualisation benefits of guided imagery can reduce blood pressure as your body responds to the feeling of the imagined scenario. Alternatively, vision boards can also be useful for infusing meaning and passion back into your life through imagery.


Evoking a relaxation response lowers your stress hormone levels, calms and clears the mind and reduces any physical burnout symptoms. Online guided meditations as well as easy to use apps such as Calm, can be just as effective as group meditation. With the option of destressing on the move, short simple meditations can help to prevent stress from building up. 

Take a break

Schedule time for renewal. Reenergising your mind can infuse passion – whether you’re signing up for an educational seminar, painting class or yoga retreat. A break can help you to regain meaning in life, give you the opportunity to learn more about your own goals and aid future direction. 

Eat well

Nourishing your body is crucial when you’re stressed. Try to enrich your diet with foods such as bananas, kale and spinach as they’re rich in stress-reducing magnesium and vitamin B, which help to restore balance. A good diet also helps to avoid avoid health issues triggered by stress, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

A burnout can lead to isolation as well as dependency on alcohol or drugs. If you notice changes in your behaviour or your stress symptoms persist, it is vital to seek help as soon as possible.