June 2023 

We all have days when we don’t feel like getting out of bed, but if you feel like that most of the time, you may be at risk of burnout.

Burnout is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. While not a diagnosable medical condition, it has now been classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an occupational phenomenon. The WHO outlines the characteristics of burnout as:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
  • Reduced professional efficacy

Though burnout is most often caused by problems at work, it can also be related to other situations and often appear in parents and caregivers, too. According to the WHO, 1 in 4 adults will be affected by burnout at some point in their lives.

Burnout usually happens slowly and over time, and everyone will experience it differently.  It often saps energy, productivity, positivity and can affect all aspects of your health. However, here are the common signs and symptoms to look out for.

  • Feeling exhausted or drained all of the time
  • Tension headaches and general aches and pain
  • Having difficulty falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall asleep again
  • Experiencing a change in appetite
  • Feelings of depression, sadness or hopelessness
  • You lack focus, have trouble concentrating and forget things easily
  • Having an increasingly cynical or negative outlook on things previously of interest
  • Social isolation and detachment: You feel too tired or busy to see family and friends
  • Lower immunity: Catching more coughs and colds and feeling under the weather
The following strategies for preventing or treating burnout can help you cope with symptoms and regain your energy, focus, and sense of wellbeing.
Exercise is one of the best stress busters to protect against burnout. Doing at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercises every day such as walking, cycling, swimming or dancing helps your body to discharge excess stress chemicals and produce more endorphins to make you feel better.
Prioritise activities that help you relax and recharge, such as meditation, yoga, or mindfulness. Studies show that yoga can significantly reduce emotional exhaustion. You can practice mindfulness and meditation with apps like Wysa, TELUS Health and Healthsteps.
Make some time every day for hobbies and recreation. Hobbies provide an outlet for stress and are something to look forward to after a hard day or week at a stressful job. A calm hobby like reading, writing or knitting can help promote relaxation while more active hobbies like fitness classes or martial arts can help you channel anger and expel it through exercise.

What you eat can have a huge impact on your mood and energy levels. Eating the right foods will help your body to cope better when you’re under pressure.

  • Avoid processed foods, white carbohydrates and caffeine
  • Eat fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, lean proteins such as meat, chicken and oily fish, as well as healthy fats, nuts and seeds
  • Eat foods that are high in Vitamin C, including leafy greens, citrus fruit, kiwis and berries
  • Get enough magnesium. It is found in dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and wholegrains
  • Drink more water and herbal teas
Quality sleep helps to maintain your physical health, and supports healthy brain function. Try to get to bed early enough for a full night of sleep. Taking a warm shower, drinking hot non-caffeinated tea, and staying off your phone before bed are just some ways to prepare for sleep.
Speak to a mental health professional who can provide you with a tool kit to help manage symptoms of burnout, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction or cognitive-behavioural therapy. If you’re worried that you may be at risk of burnout, always talk to your doctor. Members have 24/7 access to a clinical counsellor through our  Expat Assistance Programme.
If you are already a member you have access to a range of tools to help you manage your emotional wellness.

Overall assessment of your health to identify any risks and suggest preventive factors.

24/7 confidential support on a wide range of challenges including stress, depression, cultural shock and more.

Your chat bot buddy, giving you a safe and anonymous space to vent and be heard.

Personalised guidance to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
If you are not a member and want to learn more about our solutions, talk to our Sales Support Team or organise a call back. We will be happy to discuss the best solution based on your requirements.