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Avoiding burn out and anxiety
How to avoid burn out and what to do when it shows up

Transitions can be some of the most difficult things in life, and transitioning seasons are no exception. With all of the wonderful things the fall season has to offer, such as seasonal holidays, beautiful changing leaves, and cooler weather, we can also experience feelings of the end of summer blues.

For many of us, the fall seasons symbolize the start of something new. These fall months can be heavily associated with the back-to-school season, especially for those of us who are still completing our studies, or who now may have children of their own. However, no matter how many fall transitions we have experienced, it can sometimes still feel abrupt, unwelcomed, or leaving us with feelings of anxiety about the months ahead.

How to know when burnout is coming

In addition to the seasons changing, you might also begin to notice changes in yourself. Burnout can present itself in many different ways, and it can be important to discover what it looks like for you. Burnout can commonly manifest itself in physical, emotional, or behavioural symptoms that start off small but can begin to impact our daily functioning.

Physical Symptoms

Sometimes our bodies know before our brains do that we are feeling a bit run down. Some common physical symptoms of burnout to look out for can include:

  • Unexplained headaches or stomach aches

  • Feeling run down, tired, or fatigued

  • Cycling through sicknesses and flus more than usual

  • Sleeping more or less than usual

  • Eating more or less than usual

Psychological Symptoms

Sometimes we might also notice changes in our mood that could be the result of burnout. Some common psychological symptoms that can be associated with burnout include:

  • Feeling helpless, overwhelmed, or alone

  • Doubting yourself or of feeling like a failure

  • Feeling cynical about the world

  • Lacking motivation

  • No longer feeling satisfied

Behavioural Symptoms

Burnout can also cause us to interact with the world differently, and in ways that feel “unlike ourselves”. Some behavioural symptoms that might suggest you’re burnt out include:

  • Withdrawing or isolating yourself

  • Procrastinating more than usual

  • Noticing a decrease in your work quality

  • Snapping at family, friends, or co-workers

  • An increase in substance use to cope with stress

How to avoid and overcome burnout

So what can we do to prevent burnout, or how can we manage it once it’s arrived?

  1. Recognizing your limits

No matter how many times you have gone through the back-to-school season rush, it can feel just as overwhelming as it did last year. Giving yourself grace, and meeting yourself where you are at can be key. It can be normal to not feel that same boost of energy we did in the summer, especially if the fall months symbolize to your family the end of fun summer activities and the start of “back to reality” responsibilities. Reminding yourself that we don’t have to have it all together overnight can be so important, especially when we believe that it seems everyone else is coping just fine.

  1. Not comparing yourself to others

It can be easy to open our social media apps and see our friends or influencers packing perfectly curated healthy school lunches, going apple picking every other weekend, and decorating their homes with beautiful and intricate fall decor. However, it can be important to take a step back and recognize that social media provides us a highlight reel into the lives of others. What we see on the screen might not always be real, attainable, or necessary to be a good parent, or a happy person.

  1. Seek professional support

If you notice your feelings of burnout evolving from annoying but manageable to debilitating and you aren’t sure how to reel it back in, it may be worth connecting with a mental health professional. This can provide you with resources and strategies that will help you in regaining control of the thoughts, behaviours, and emotions that you feel aren’t quite aligned with your best self.

As the weather continues to change, it’s important to self-reflect and acknowledge whether there are changes within ourselves that might reflect signs we are starting to burn out. Knowing how burnout presents in yourself and finding ways to manage it can be key to a smoother transition between summer and fall. It can also be important to develop a “toolbox” of burnout prevention and management “tools” that works well and that are realistic for you that you can pull out whenever you start to observe those changes in yourself.

For more information about burnout management and prevention book a 15-minute consultation with Stark Wellness Clinic or contact us.

Until next time,

Rotem Stark, Mpsy, RP, Stark Wellness Clinic


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