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Breaking the Burnout Cycle with 10 Effective Diet & Lifestyle Strategies

Updated: Apr 28

Stressed Woman Professional

Did you know that more than 90% of adults in the UK experienced high or extreme levels of pressure or stress in the past year (Mental Health UK, 2024)?  Burnout is a real and pervasive issue affecting countless individuals in the UK and beyond. Contrary to popular belief, burnout is not just limited to our workplaces; it can occur in other dimensions of our day-to-day life as well, such as parenting, caregiving, learning, and even our relationships. However, by recognising the signs, prioritising self-care, and implementing healthy lifestyle habits, it's possible to break free from the cycle of burnout and reclaim your energy and vitality.


In this blog, we'll explore what burnout is, key presenting symptoms, followed by 10 proactive and practical diet & lifestyle strategies to help you manage and prevent burnout.


What is Burnout?

Burnout is more than just feeling tired or stressed; it's a state of chronic physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion, often caused by prolonged stress. It occurs when the demands placed on an individual exceed their ability to cope with them. Key features of burnout include feelings of detachment from work or personal life, exhaustion, and a reduced sense of accomplishment. If left unaddressed, burnout can lead to serious health problems, including depression, anxiety, and cardiovascular conditions like type 2 diabetes, so taking proactive action is crucial.

Recognising the signs:

Burnout manifests differently in each individual, but common symptoms include:

  • Persistent fatigue and lack of energy.

  • Increased irritability and mood swings.

  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.

  • Withdrawal from social activities.

  • Insomnia or disturbed sleep patterns.

  • Physical symptoms like headaches or muscle tension.

  • Decreased satisfaction and productivity at work or in personal life.


10 Diet & Lifestyle Strategies to manage Burnout:


Healthy Salad

#1 - Prioritise a balanced diet

As a nutritional therapist, I feel particularly passionate about using the power of food to support our mental and physical well-being. Let's rethink our approach to food and view each meal as a chance to supply our bodies with the essential nutrients needed to endure busy periods with resilience and tranquility. Aim for a diverse diet including whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, legumes, pulses, and healthy fats.


#2 - Avoid ultra-processed foods, refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine

Even though we frequently turn to these coping mechanisms when times are tough, they can result in energy level fluctuations and mood swings, exacerbating stress and fatigue. Cut back and focus on the good stuff instead. 


#3 - Stay hydrated

Did you know that our body is 70% water? Being dehydrated can be a significant stressor for our body and can worsen feelings of fatigue and impair cognitive function. Aim to drink at least 6-8 glasses  (glass = 250ml) of water a day to keep your body and mind hydrated.

#4 - Get moving

Regular exercise is a powerful antidote to stress and burnout, as exercise releases endorphins which are natural mood boosters! Find activities you enjoy, whether it's yoga, walking, pilates, barre, dancing, and incorporate them into your daily routine.


#5 - Practice Stress Management Techniques

While some find meditation immensely beneficial, others may prefer breath work, journaling, nature walks, or heartfelt conversations with close friends. The goal of stress management techniques is to calm your stress response and activate your 'rest and digest' mode, which is the opposite of the stress response. Ultimately, stress arises from perceiving life as overwhelming or threatening. Consistent practice of these techniques can shift our perception of life's challenges, allowing us to handle them with greater ease over time. You might be thinking, "I'm already swamped—how can I manage this?" It only requires 5-10 minutes each day; prioritise it, and you'll find the time.


2 friends walking in nature

#6 - Prioritise Quality Sleep

Ensuring you get enough sleep isn't just a luxury—it's a necessity. Without sufficient sleep, we become more susceptible to stress, anxiety, and irritability, making it even more challenging to navigate the demands of a hectic and busy lifestyle. Establish a sleep routine and try to go to bed at the same time each day, create a conducive sleep environment, cut back on screen time an hour before bed and aim for at least 7 hours of sleep every day.

A man sleeping

#7 - Prioritise Self-Care

Make yourself a priority and make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine. Engage in activities that bring you joy, whether that’s reading a book, dancing, listening to music, hanging out with a friend, walking your dog, putting on a face mask or running a bath. Take 10-15 minutes out each day to do something which truly calms your mind.


Woman applying face mask

#8 - Disconnect Regularly

Set aside dedicated time each day to disconnect from all electronic devices. Give yourself the permission to not have to respond to every WhatsApp message, text message or email straight-away. Set dedicated time to respond to your friends, family and colleagues.


#9 - Seek Support

Find your tribe and seek support from friends, family, neighbours, colleagues and even experts. As social beings, we thrive on connections. It's crucial to surround yourself with uplifting, supportive individuals who can provide advice, motivation, or simply lend a listening ear.


#10 - Find Purpose

 I cannot emphasise the importance of this enough. Discover what truly matters to you, whether that's in your career, relationships, or personal growth. Align your actions with your core values and passions to bring greater meaning and fulfilment to your life.


Conclusion

Remember, small changes can lead to significant improvements in your mental and physical well-being. So start taking these steps towards a healthier, more balanced life!


If you or your loved one is feeling overwhelmed, struggling with low energy, low moods, and are in need of support from a nutritional therapist, then I would love to talk to you. Please book my complimentary 30 minute health review by clicking here and let's get you back to feeling vibrant and energised!

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