Here are 5 tips to get you started on the road to recovery from burnout:

Step 1: Get sufficient sleep

Virtually all areas of our health are impacted by lack of sleep. It’s not just the hours of sleep we get, but when we go to sleep, that matters. Getting to bed by 10pm is best as it aligns with our circadian rhythm, which affects our appetite hormones, our ability to handle stress, energy production and our recovery. Having eight to nine hours of sleep a night is the sweet spot for optimal performance.

Be wary of devices before bed as they will prevent a proper restorative sleep; the kind you wake up from feeling refreshed. Devices before bed reduce our sleep hormone, melatonin, by 25 per cent. Instead, wind down 30 minutes before bed, and be off your smartphone, computer or Netflix. People who are at the top of peak performance master sleep.

Step 2: Taking time off helps, but it’s not the cure

There can be underlying (often hidden) reasons why we end up with burnout that taking a break won’t resolve. Research into burnout has found a common trait amongst burnout casualties: a drive to prove ourselves. Commitment to our work is great but it’s the desire to prove yourself and your worth that predisposes you to burnout.

Step 3: A nutrition do-over

When we’re stressed and tired, we often don’t make the best food choices. Sugar, caffeine and refined carbs can provide a quick energy hit and then an energy crash afterwards. Being time-poor can lead to more Uber-eats or meals eaten outside the home. Increased fast food consumption is related to burnout, and healthy eating is protective.

The side effects of chronic stress are imbalances in our gut and microbiome, detoxification systems and hormones. When these systems are impacted, it drives more fatigue, mood changes and brain fog, and we feel worse. An easy way to boost your nutrition for energy and mental clarity is to cook your meals at home to ensure you’re having healthy ingredients. Avoid foods that are rich in sugar as they disrupt blood glucose levels, which will cause our energy and mood to be all over the place.

Step 4: Reduce mental stress

Burnout has a lot to do with the psychological stress we carry. The worry, concern and pressures of work can keep us on an emotional rollercoaster. How many hours of the day is your mind quiet, calm and at peace? Chronic mental stress, or a mind that is busy overthinking and overanalysing, filled with worry and negative thoughts, will have an impact on your energy, metabolism and recovery. Limit mental stress through journalling at the end of the day, talking to a friend, and practicing breathing exercises or yoga.  Even going for a walk in nature can be helpful to relax the mind. Also make time to move your body or exercise regularly.

Step 5: Listen to your gut

Chronic stress often affects our gut; the most common symptom is bloating or reflux. In order to absorb nutrients from our food for energy and recovery, we need to support gut health. The gut-brain axis is the communication between the gut and the brain and vice versa, which impacts our mood and mental wellbeing. Support the gut through a healthy diet of vegetables to feed the microbiome. Avoid inflammatory foods like sugar, processed foods and alcohol.