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Business people with stress and worries in office

Head: Burnout cases tripled since before the pandemic – here’s how to beat it

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion.

  • Fitness, wellness and nutrition expert Penny Weston ( reports a shocking three-fold increase in people coming to see her with burnout.
  • Penny reveals signs of burnout and offers tips to beat it

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion. It’s usually caused by excessive stress over a prolonged period of time as well as feeling overwhelmed and drained.

‘Although it isn’t a diagnosable psychological disorder it is, from my experience, becoming increasingly more common and needs to be taken seriously,’ explains Penny Weston, of (  ‘In fact, nearly everyone coming through the doors in Made at the moment are suffering from burnout or a related complaint from lockdown. Worryingly, the number of people we are seeing with burnout has tripled!’


Signs of burnout

There are a number of signs that someone is experiencing a burnout, and these tend to be both physical and mental and include, headaches, stomach aches, lack of energy, intestinal issues, feeling depressed, exhaustion, cynicism, feeling unable to do your job or to cope, feeling powerless.


How to overcome it

‘I’m a firm believer that regular exercise is the key to staying both physically and mentally fit, healthy and happy,’ explains Penny Weston. ‘When we exercise the body releases chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine which boost our sense of well-being and supress hormones that cause anxiety.’

Fortunately there are now a bigger range of exercise classes and sports out there than ever before. So whether you prefer a low intensity pilates class, an aqua aerobics session or a heavy weights session, there’s something for everyone.

‘The important thing is don’t be put off if you’ve never done it before, it’s never too late to start a new fitness class,’ says Penny. ‘It’s usually a good idea just to check with your GP before embarking on something new.’


‘This year has really taught us the importance of finding joy in life, and the same can be said for exercise too.’


‘Fortunately there are so many choices when it comes to exercise that the key to sticking at it is finding an exercise that you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be running for hours or lifting huge weights at a gym, the key is experimenting until you find something you enjoy and is a suitable level for you. That way it won’t feel like a chore to do and you’ll want to do it more as a result. And don’t forget that it doesn’t have to be what’s considered ‘traditional’ forms of exercise. Nowadays there really are so many options available from trampolining to boxing to Zumba to freshwater swimming, all of which release chemicals into the body to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and calm the mind.’


Penny gives her tops tips to avoiding burnout:

Create a morning ritual

Set yourself up for success by starting the morning with a

ritual that lets you hit the ground running, make the most of your day, and

stay positive and in control.

All of our rituals are different, just like we are all

different. But the key is that by setting them we are taking control of our

morning, and therefore our lives. It can be as small as setting your alarm for

a certain time and then jumping straight in the shower before having your

breakfast, or doing a short yoga practise before you get dressed.


Write yourself notes

Not just any old notes mind you! Gratitude notes have been used

for years to help affirm positive thinking and they really work. Write down

three things that you’re grateful for on a piece of paper and stick them to

your mirror or somewhere where you’ll see them a lot. Gradually they really

will sink in and help you to feel positive and grateful.


Get some fresh air

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Fresh air has been shown to help digest food more effectively,

improve blood pressure and heart rate, strengthen the immune system and a whole

wealth of other benefits, so it’s not surprise that being out in the fresh

makes the mind feel better too. Try and get out in the fresh air each day in

order to help feel invigorated, energised and ready to face the world again.


Prioritise self-care

Lockdown has been a tale of two extremes, with some people being

on furlough and at home with more time for self-care than ever, and others

juggling working from home with looking after children and taking on all the

household roles. Whichever camp you fell into, going forward it’s important

that you prioritise your own self-care. I was listening to an interview with

Kate Garraway on the radio recently and she said something along the lines of

that you can’t captain a difficult ship if you’re not well fed, rested and

looked after yourself. That encapsulates perfectly why self-care is so

important. Schedule a few hours a week to go to bed early for example, or to

read a book or put on a face mask. It will help to maintain your physical and

mental wellbeing when life begins to return to normal.



Resilience meditation

Focus on your wellbeing from a positive point of view by looking

at ways that can build resilience. Focus on character building activities like

yoga and meditation. These can help you learn to adapt to change and be strong

for all that is coming. I have resilience meditations on on demand, perfect for improving

our emotional intelligence.


Write down lessons

Don’t forget everything you’ve learnt about yourself during

lockdown. Avoid going back to the hamster wheel of your old life. Lockdown has

been long and has given us the time to realise what is important. Whether

that’s working more or less, spending more time on your own, travelling, or

exercising more, the list of possibilities is endless. Write down the things

that you’ve learnt and things that you want to do to hold onto and use this as

a gentle reminder of what’s important and the lessons that this time has taught


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