Stress and Burnout

Matthew Powell

by Matthew Powell

A Body Aware Specialist

The link between stress and burnout is a linear one - stress can exist without burnout but burnout cannot exist without stress. Stress therefore, is the precursor, the forerunner if you will.

When we are stressed our body is, in effect, on high alert and our senses over-engaged. It results in us becoming tunnel visioned and our ability to deal with multiple tasks is lost. This is a manageable, almost a symptomatic byproduct of our day and age, but if there is never any break to this stress, if it is prolonged and incessant, it will lead to burnout.

Burnout leaves us “zombified” - we are unable to see any light at the end of any tunnel, we become disengaged, helpless and hopeless, and the damage to the physical becomes instead entrenched in the emotional.

In a nutshell, if stress is “AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH”, burnout is “meh”; but I may be over-simplifying there. So how do we recognise the symptoms of burnout, and how can we stop it even getting that far?

Well, the road to burnout is littered with signs. If every day is a bad day, if running on the vapours of empty is a way of life, if one has given up on almost all aspects of home and work, and if we have stopped looking for a way out then STOP.

This RECOGNITION is the first step to redressing the balance.

Once recognised, a coping strategy of REVERSING the damage can begin but this must always be with the help and support of others if it is to succeed. It could be a family member or work colleague able to shoulder the workload, it may be necessary to take leave from work or a vacation from the home, or it may even need the professional help of someone to talk to.

Lastly then is RESILIENCE. Once able to take stock and gain perspective, it is of the utmost importance that we are able to identify the causes so as to put in place an action plan for its future prevention.

Here are my first steps towards the righteous path of stress-free serenity…

Burnout Prevention:

  • Start as you mean to go on: Clear your diary of anything that isn’t life or death and, instead of leaping out of bed, flustered and frazzled, running for coffee and a snack on the go, chill. Reading, stretching or simply gazing into a daydream will all set the tone for the day.
  • Eat well, Sleep well, Exercise a little: Yup, those of you who have read my previous posts will be amazed that I am advocating the need for healthy eating, physical activity and that all important recovery called sleep. This leopard isn’t for changing his spots, oh no.
  • Disconnect: Phone off, laptop off, and switch off for a few hours each day.
  • Say “No”: One of the most important things a yes person can learn is no.
  • Ask the Question: “Does it really Matter?”



If you would like to read more about stress and its effect on our weight, our inability to shift unwanted fat, and its effect on our mood then please click here:



Matthew Powell

Matthew has managed health and fitness teams and operations in 5 star resorts in the Caribbean and Middle East, run a personal training business for over 15 years and currently owns a fitness consultancy in South Wales and the West. He has worked with celebrities and some of the wealthiest men in the world whilst still keeping his hand in group exercise, teaching Indoor Cycle, Circuits, Fitness Yoga and combat based classes. Follow Matthew on twitter @mattypowell. www.quantumphysiques.co.uk
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