Burnout Recovery Strategy

I’ve put together a few dot points in response to several requests for a positive approach to dealing with burnout. All comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

Put temporary boundaries in place

  • Get a proper break – press pause
  • No major decisions
  • No new responsibilities
  • Suspend contact with work
  • Minimal screen time
  • Recommended: suspend use of social media


Receive love

  • Be with those you love without distraction
  • Listen deeply
  • Allow time for conversations to develop naturally – don’t force it
  • Be vulnerable enough to ask for what you need


Care for your physical health (N.E.W.S.)

  • Nutrition – eat healthy, modest amounts regularly
  • Exercise – at least an hour a day
  • Water – at least 2 litres a day
  • Sleep – at least 7 hours and enough that you don’t need an alarm


Reflective practice

  • Prayer – simply be with God, only speak when you have something you want to say
  • Document your reflections where possible, review and edit progressively
  • Revisit your values – the ‘why?’ question
  • Consider what you want to do with your life and how that fits with your role
  • Identify sources of stress, put them in perspective and develop ways to deal with them


Ease back in

  • Work in defined time periods
  • Resist pressure to respond quickly – buy time
  • Share the load more than you did previously
  • Confront graciously – appropriate assertiveness
  • Do things that restore your soul


Review the signs of progress

  • Laughter becomes more spontaneous
  • Interest in people increases
  • Positive reaction to interruptions
  • Compulsive behaviour abates
  • Creativity / fresh ideas come again
  • Concentration span increases
  • Better able to cope with complexity and ambiguity
  • Future orientation
  • Generosity wells up
  • Patience in the face of irritation
  • Feeling of resentment abates
  • Sense of gratitude rises
  • Joy and peace rises

4 thoughts on “Burnout Recovery Strategy

  1. Hi Rick,

    A great list.
    I think it is worth mentioning mental health and recreation.
    For me, this includes getting lost in science fiction while iI eat my lunch.

    I am currently on four months long Service leave, then hand in my notice.

    I hope you are going well.

    • Odd as it may sound to others, you have found that reading science fiction is something that ‘restores your soul’. Go for it! I wonder what the next season will hold after you hand in your notice?

  2. A useful checklist. We are doing a series of studies on Mental Health in our (Bawtry) church at the moment and we were looking at Depression last night. We used the 1 Kings 19 incident from Elijah’s life which directly demonstrates your N.E.W.S. section.

    • Hi Ivor, that’s brilliant that you’re doing a series of studies on mental health in church. The church ought to be the safest place on earth for people dealing with mental health issues. We’re still working our way towards that in most places.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *