A holiday didn’t fix your burnout? There’s a reason why.

If you were feeling burnt out at the end of last year, maybe you thought taking a break over the holidays might help.

But if you are burnt out, why don’t you feel different after taking a short break?

The reason is burnout can develop over a long period and result in significant physical and cognitive changes which can be difficult to undo quickly.

Some of the key signs of burnout include waking up feeling exhausted no matter how much rest you have.

Burnout saps your energy, both physical and mental.

You might have difficulty focusing. Research including the Sydney Burnout Study finds one-third of people with burnout have trouble concentrating and cognitive difficulties, as chronic stress impacts how your brain functions.

You feel like you are always on edge and can’t wind down.

Watch: How to spot and combat burnout. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

Burnout can play havoc with your autonomic nervous system. 

You can feel stuck in 'fight or flight' with your heart rate and blood pressure going up or down. 

You feel like you’re not making a difference anymore or that your efforts aren’t recognised.


You've lost joy for what you used to love doing or might start to doubt your own abilities.

Burnout isn’t a personal failing. It can be caused by overwhelming work demands, a toxic work culture, a lack of support or autonomy or poor leadership.

Psychological factors which can increase your risk of burnout can include perfectionism, people-pleasing and problems setting boundaries.

But you can recover and prevent it from happening again!

Ask for support, do a brain dump to identify your stressors and set boundaries so work doesn’t crowd into your family or personal life.

Ask yourself: what do you have control over that you can ditch, delegate or delay?

You can read my burnout recovery story here.

Research finds that self-compassion helps you recover from burnout.

Habits such as meditation, mindful movement and connecting with people who love you boost your ‘window of tolerance’ to stress.

Researchers from the University of Washington say a sense of control is crucial to overcoming burnout. 

Employees must feel empowered to take control of their decisions.

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure leaders recognise the causes of burnout, to prevent it in the first place. 

This article was originally posted on Sophie Scott's LinkedIn and has been republished here with full permission. Read more on her website and follow her on Instagram.

Feature image: Canva. 

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