20 ways to recover from burnout

Posted: 5th March 2024

According to the World Health Organization’s 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), “Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

In Canada, 57 percent of the population has experienced burnout. Are you part of this statistic? If so, here are 20 ways you can recover from burnout.

Talk to your family doctor

If you think you’re experiencing burnout, one of the first things you should do is see your family doctor. After diagnosing you, he or she may prescribe medication, like an antidepressant, sleeping pills, or anti-anxiety medication. Your doctor may also refer you to a specialist or therapist.

See a psychologist

For mild to moderate symptoms, cognitive-behaviour therapy with a psychologist who specializes in CBT is often the best way to recover from burnout. For many, this form of psychological treatment is effective enough to avoid taking medication.

Praise mindfulness meditation

Have you heard of mindfulness meditation? It’s a meditation technique that doesn’t require any equipment and simply involves sitting in a calm, quiet place in the same position for up to 10 minutes while focusing solely on your breathing.

With practice, mindfulness meditation can reduce stress and fatigue and help alleviate the negative effects of depression.

Do yoga

Yoga is especially useful for people seeking to recover from burnout. According to one meta-analysis, people who practise yoga on a regular basis have seen some of their symptoms decrease. They were, for example, less stressed and slept better.

Get a massage

Promoting higher self-esteem, less anxiety and stress, better-quality sleep, massage therapy can help combat many of the symptoms of burnout. A massage leaves you relaxed and calm, which can help you get back on your feet.

Just be sure to choose a massage therapist with a background in treating burnout.

Practise art therapy

Whether or not you see yourself as artistic, you can benefit from art therapy. Creating art with a therapist is known to have a positive effect on anxiety, depression, addiction, sleep, and trauma. When you make art, you take time to relax and get back into your natural, internal rhythm.

Try acupuncture

In addition to relieving pain, acupuncture has a relaxing and harmonizing effect on the body. If burnout has caused you a lot of stress, anxiety, and trouble sleeping, this form of Chinese medicine may help you recover faster.


In addition to preventing the onset of employee burnout, physical activity is good for anyone already experiencing burnout. By decreasing stress, boosting self-esteem, and helping you get a good night’s sleep, exercising on a regular basis, over time, will help you get back on your feet faster.

Get support from loved ones

Your friends and family members can often help you recover from burnout—as long as they listen well and won’t judge you.

They could offer to help with childcare or household chores. If you feel their offer comes with no strings attached (they expect nothing from you in return), don’t think twice about accepting their help.

Take time for yourself, guilt-free

Relearn how to listen to your inner voice, the one you may have muted shortly before you hit burnout, and take time for yourself, just for you.

Watch a movie, play video games, draw or listen to your favourite album on repeat. In short, do what you didn’t do before. Just don’t make to-do lists or set deadlines for your relaxation time, as this could stress you out even more.

Work part-time

If you can afford it, ask your employer to reduce your work hours to, perhaps, just four days a week. One study shows that employees who work four days a week are more productive, feel less stressed, and have a better work-life balance.

Get to the root of the problem

Work-life imbalance, unclear job expectations, a toxic workplace, and a heavy workload are just some of the many causes of burnout. Before you go back to work, be sure to address the source(s) of your burnout by having a frank discussion with your boss or HR manager.

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