After a year and a half of increased stress brought on by pandemic worries, changing work parameters, virtual learning, and most of our schedules getting completely upended, it’s not surprising that burnout is one of the main hurdles employees are facing going forward.

Next week we’ll talk about what you can do as a leader to help mitigate burnout in your teams, but the truth is that you won’t be able to help anyone if you don’t put your own oxygen mask on first.


Burnout is not uniform. That is, each person experiences burnout under a unique set of circumstances, and therefore the path back will also be unique. If exhaustion is the primary cause of burnout, those self care tips and ideas you’re seeing everywhere probably will be your best solution.


But if your burnout is caused by cynicism, self care might honestly make it worse. Focusing on yourself is unlikely to solve your feelings of alienation and absence of being part of a team. Instead, offering words of encouragement to coworkers, taking a team member out to lunch, or listening to / comforting a colleague who needs to vent will do a lot more to alleviate your burnout. If your burnout is coming from feelings of inadequacy or underachieving, making a list of achievable goals and then checking them off one by one might be a better first step than planning a spa day.

It’s important to take some time to reflect on exactly where you think your burnout might be coming from. What external stressors do you notice making it worse? Are there any situations where the burnout feels less strong? Dig deep to find what is dragging you down. Journaling is an excellent way to get to the bottom of your unique burnout, and come up with a recovery plan tailored to you. Feeling empowered to take control of your own situation and execute your own strategies is essential to overcoming burnout.

Don’t skip over these tips if you’re not feeling the burnout quite yet. The best cure for burnout is prevention – and you can take steps to avoid it far before you ever start feeling the negative effects. A little bit of self reflection and some proactive steps can keep you leaning in instead of burning out.

“Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long.” – Michael Gungor
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” Anne Lamott

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