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How to recover from burnout

These useful techniques will help you recover from burnout, and get back on track.

David Chorlton
David Chorlton
Guest Author
June 30, 2021
5 min read

Have you been feeling stressed or fatigued of late? Burnout is prolonged periods of stress. Additional stress from COVID-19 and a lack of external releases has caused us all to feel more out of sync with our usual way of being.

In organisational psychology research has shown that burn out can form a vicious cycle comprising of exhaustion, cynicism and reduced self-efficacy within the work place.

No matter where you are today, there is hope and a brighter future ahead if you follow some simple yet powerful steps.  

Techniques to help you recover from burnout

1. Connect to your values

We often chase rainbows and enter the pursuit of happiness. We rarely take time to pause and realise that happiness comes within the journey and not at the top of the mountain. If we live in alignment with our values each day then we can begin to live a meaningful life that is personal and rewarding for us. 

Finding your Ikigai can be a great start to explore this idea. Living in this manner allows us to understand which direction to take, like a lighthouse guiding a ship. We partake in such activities for the sheer enjoyment of them and not for a specific end point. This philosophy can help prevent burnout and also aid your recovery as you act with clarity, consciousness and partake in activities that naturally energise you. 

2. Breathwork

How often are you aware of your breathing? Is it deep or shallow? Clinical Hypnotherapist Gail Marra says that conscious or mindful breathing allows us to slow down and breathe deeper and slower. This process delivers more oxygen to our cells and organs. Breathing into your upper chest can place you in ‘emergency mode,’ whereby you are primed for action or ‘fight or flight’ mode. 

Find a quiet space each morning and evening to practice conscious breathing. Breath in through your nose, gently and count to seven, taking the breath deep into the abdomen. Then breath out from your mouth in a very controlled manner and slowly. Try this for around five minutes. This state of relaxation will help reduce stress levels and help you think more clearly. 

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3. Self-compassion

Self-acceptance is about accepting ourselves as human and as we are. Self-compassion is a process working with self-acceptance whereby we form a more compassionate relationship with the self. It is important that we learn to be kind to ourselves when we make mistakes in life, and sometimes we cannot be at our best, but we can at least show up and try. 

It is often our appraisal of events in life that determine whether or not they are good or bad. This appraisal then creates a broader story and becomes a memory, which can often be partial truth. We all have two lenses in which to view the world; a positive and a negative lens, and they are always present to us. Next time you make a mistake, or someone criticises you, place your hand on your heart and accept you are only human. Be kind and compassionate towards yourself and look for learnings and growth and avoid rumination. 

4. Quality sleep

According to Dr Sophie Bostock, a lack of quality sleep can affect our levels of self-control, learning and memory, and emotional balance. A good quality sleep and regular sleep-wake patterns can also reduce the risk of heart disease. There is a big notion in today’s society about waking up very early to seize the day and to be successful. A good morning routine and using time wisely is particularly good for our health, but sleep is extremely important, and a healthy balance must be struck. 

A bedtime routine can be extremely helpful. When we go to sleep our minds often create an admixture of our day. It is important that we try to resolve any worries or forms of rumination before we go to bed, otherwise such worries can act as a marinade as we sleep and result in further anxiety the following day. Avoid negative news and social media scrolling 30 minutes before you go to bed. Practice gratitude, self-compassion and breath work or some form of meditation before going to bed. 

Takeaway thoughts

We rarely get time in this busy world to stand still. When we do, we realise that our health, our relationships and our mindful attention on present moment enjoyment are what brings us much of our happiness. Practice enjoying the learned process of your goals, create quality time for self-care, practice self-compassion, connect to your values and incorporate breath work and a good bed time routine to help you avoid burnout. 

Wishing you health and well-being. 

About the author

David Chorlton is a Positive Psychology Practitioner and the founder of online wellness platform Meaningful Paths. David also volunteers to work with communities in developing countries and creates compassion and gratitude educational courses for children in addition to resilience trainings and more for teenagers and adults. 

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The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of We like to allow our guest posters freedom in the products they mention, and in the way they approach ideas.

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