Dear Liz ... how can I avoid burnout?

I'm feeling overloaded with commitments and I can't seem to find any time for myself! Can you give me some tips for avoiding burnout?

Happy New Year! May this be the year of you.

We are only just mid-way through January and already my diary is running away with itself! Weddings, meetings, off –sites and holidays are carving out the year and I can feel the stress is beginning to bubble away! Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of fun and interesting stuff planned for the year ahead, but the next twelve chapters are already taking shape. And where am I on my own agenda and how can I stay resourceful as I face the year ahead?

There are some simple things we can do and with some minor adjustments to our life style we can choose to live the life we love.

Finding some quiet – or five minutes peace

Everyone is talking about mindfulness, inner peace and self-compassion. We all run around at a rate of knots for a variety of reasons and most of what we do in our lives is done with our heads. Stop for a moment and think about it. If you left your PC running 24 hours a day for 365 days it would stop working. The same is true of our heads. So what can we focus on to create some calm in our lives and achieve some degree of inner peace? Here are some baby steps you can take.

  1. Put yourself on your own agenda. Start starting everyday by completing a task for you otherwise you will end the day without accomplishing it. A sense of being out of control adds to our stress.
  2. Stretch and breathe. If you are up for it and able to exercise try some simple stretching in a yoga class. Yoga is the perfect way to align the mind and body. Many agencies are fortunate to run such yoga sessions in- house. Put yourself on a mat next time they are in and give it a go!
  3. One of my favourites is to focus on better breathing and to do that I use the Get Some Headspace app. It's practical and perfect for busy people as it only takes up 10 minutes of your day. I would suggest that if you don't have 10 minutes a day for you then you need to find it, and fast, before you do anything else! A bit of peace and quiet can make all the difference to our minds, the quality of our thinking and our flexibility. Give it a go! If you are considering mindfulness on a broader scale check out the Kogan Page book, Mindfulness in the Workplace, edited by Margaret Chapman Clarke for some practical guidance.
  4. Chill. Actively put a treat or a passion on your weekly agenda. Identify that one thing that you love to do but never seem to find the time for. It could be sport, theatre, gallery, writing, walking the dog, bathing the kids, watching a TED talk, listening to music or just getting home a bit earlier once in a while. Promise yourself you will do it and make sure you do it!
  5. Pamper yourself with a regular massage, reiki, acupuncture or a facial to ease the tension we hold in our bodies.

Turning to our general wellbeing, there are some very simple things we can pay attention to:-

  • Go to bed at the same time – remove all devices from your bedroom
  • Get up at the same time.
  • Reduce your refined sugar intake.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake.
  • Reduce your red meat intake.
  • Reduce your caffeine intake. You may want to donate your savings on your daily coffee to a charity of choice.
  • One thing I learned recently is the importance of drinking warm water throughout the day as this to aids digestion.
  • You could also switch off your TV a bit more and do something more interesting or get moving in the gym, the pool, on a bike or the park.
  • When at work make sure you walk away from your desk every hour.

Ring the changes

Change your journey to work in a small way. You could get off the tube or bus one stop early and walk that little bit further and enjoy different route to work each day.

And if none of the above appeal to you, please make sure you take all of your annual leave. It is there to be taken for you to recharge your batteries!


Last updated 21 January 2022