top of page

Preventing Burnout with Your Personalised 'Balance Blueprint'

Updated: Jun 26

I have been finding that recently, most of my clients and new connections are all caught in the juggling act of balancing multiple roles, pressures and responsibilities. From managing careers and children to handling finances, personal wellbeing, and household duties, the to-do list is literally endless. There are constant demands of running a household, managing financial struggles, raising children, driving them to countless activities and parties, all while trying to take care of ourselves. Meanwhile, at work, we find ourselves in back-to-back meetings, navigating expectations and pressures from senior management and dealing with diverse personalities.

This never-ending balancing act often leads to stress and, if not managed, overwhelm, leaving us feeling exhausted and on the brink of burnout. It's a narrative shared among so many of my clients and peers, as we all try  to excel in various areas of life, only to find ourselves completely drained and frazzled. 

Reflecting back to my corporate days, I lacked a supportive ‘Balance Blueprint’ or self-care plan to navigate the myriad of stressors in my life. Balancing a demanding job filled with deadlines, pressures, budgets, and challenging (and sometimes toxic) personalities would completely fire up my nervous system. I was in a constant state of anxiety at work and then I’d walk in the door at home and use alcohol and junk food to relieve that feeling. I had no idea how to regulate my nervous system in healthy ways, I was stuck on the hamster wheel of stress and overwhelm and this destructive cycle persisted for far too long, and no surprises, lead to burnout and rock bottom. At the time, I didn’t recognise the extent of my distress and didn't realise that perpetual anxiety was not only abnormal but also detrimental to my wellbeing. Thankfully, I transformed my life and now support people with how to do the same. 

Just like elite athletes we too require intervals of rest, recovery, and growth. It's essential to integrate balance into our lives and prioritise wellbeing to prevent burnout from taking hold.

So What is Burnout?

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. High achievers, in particular, are susceptible to burnout as they frequently lean on their strengths, such as resilience or intense focus, while disregarding the body's signals indicating the necessity for rest and recovery.

It was first defined by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger in the 1970s. According to Freudenberger, burnout is characterised by three main components:

  1. Emotional Exhaustion: Feeling drained and overwhelmed

  2. Depersonalisation: Developing a cynical attitude towards work and people around you

  3. Reduced Personal Accomplishment: Feeling ineffective and lacking a sense of achievement

The role of stress and how it can lead to burnout  

To understand burnout we must understand stress which is the body's response to any demand or challenge because when stress is chronic and unmanaged, it can lead to burnout. Stress originates from a thought, often interpreted as fear by the amygdala, the emotional centre of the brain. When triggered, the amygdala signals the hypothalamus, initiating the fight or flight response, evolutionary vital for human survival (running from a tiger etc). However, in today's world, the interpretation of survival and fear response has evolved. Even feelings of embarrassment, shame, guilt, or fear can trigger this response. While fear can be motivational in certain situations (saving us from being hit by a car). 

Stress is a normal aspect of life, and in moderation, it can actually enhance mental wellbeing by increasing productivity, alertness, and energy levels, such as when working towards a deadline.

However, when stress becomes prolonged, it can lead to overwhelm—a heightened state of stress marked by emotional and cognitive intensity to the point of feeling unable to function. We all recognise that sensation of being swept away by uncertainty, unsure of what to do next. When this level of stress is unmanaged and the stress cycle remains incomplete, it can lead to burnout. 

The stress cycle involves a beginning (the stressor), a middle (the stress response), and an end (resolution). However, many people fail to complete this cycle, allowing stress to accumulate which is what leads to overwhelm and burnout.

There exist three primary types of stress:

  1. Acute stress: characterised by brief events like negative feedback at work or running late for a meeting 

  2. Acute episodic stress: which involves frequent acute events such as job hunting and the interview process 

  3. Chronic stress: a persistent state resulting from ongoing challenges like bullying at work, the ending of a relationship or struggling with finances 

Both acute and chronic stressors elicit the body's "fight-or-flight" response. While acute stress typically subsides quickly, hormone levels returning to normal, the repeated activation of the fight-or-flight response in acute episodic and chronic stress leads to a sustained elevation of hormones. This prolonged hormonal imbalance poses a risk for various health issues and also what leads us to overwhelm and then burnout. 

Emily and Amelia Nagoski write in their powerful book Burnout, “The stress itself will kill you faster than the stressor, unless you do something to complete the stress response cycle. While you’re managing the day's stressors, your body is managing the day's stress. It’s absolutely essential to your wellbeing that you give your body the resources it needs to complete the cycle that has been activated.” 

Burnout is a type of exhaustion resulting from prolonged emotional, physical, and mental stress. While it often relates to one's job, burnout can occur in any aspect of life and impact overall health. While stress involves excessive mental and physical pressure with numerous demands. Burnout is characterised by a lack of emotion, motivation, and care. Stress makes you feel overwhelmed, whereas burnout leaves you feeling depleted and drained. 

How to know whether you’re on the brink of burnout 

Recognising the signs of impending burnout is crucial. Look out for:

  • Persistent fatigue and feeling drained even after rest

  • Increased irritability and frustration

  • A sense of detachment or cynicism towards work and life

  • Difficulty concentrating and reduced productivity

  • Physical symptoms like headaches, digestive issues, or changes in sleep patterns

Everyone’s stressors and stress responses are wired differently 

Research shows that individuals respond to stress differently due to various factors such as genetics, personality, life traumas and experiences and exactly what makes us stressed. 

Understanding our unique stressors and responses plus how to complete our own stress cycles  is key to managing stress effectively. Studies indicate that when we personalise our stress management strategies can significantly improve their effectiveness.

Why creating our own 'Balance Blueprint' is important

A 'Balance Blueprint' is something I assist my clients and workplace teams in creating and is essentially a  personalised self-care and burnout prevention plan tailored to your specific needs, triggers and lifestyle. Here’s why a personalised approach it's essential:

  1. Customised Approach: What works for one person might not work for another. Your blueprint considers your unique stressors, preferences, and circumstances.

  2. Proactive Management: It helps you proactively manage stress rather than reacting to it, reducing the risk of burnout.

  3. Sustainable Practices: By incorporating activities and practices that you enjoy and find meaningful, you’re more likely to stick with them long-term.

June 19, 20 & 21: 12.30 - 1.15pm AEST 

To guide you through creating your own 'Balance Blueprint,' I’m offering a FREE 3-day workshop series. In this workshop series we will be covering the following: 

Understand Stress, Overwhelm, and Burnout

  • Recognize the symptoms and causes of stress and burnout to take proactive steps in your personal and professional life

Self-Evaluation and Awareness

  • Conduct a thorough self-assessment to gain clarity on specific stressors and unsupportive habits in your life

Practical Strategies + Craft Your Personalised Balance Blueprint

  • Learn practical strategies to reduce stress, manage anxiety, and replace negative habits. Create a personalised plan for a balanced, healthier lifestyle, improved well-being, and peak performance

With increasing demands on women and rising burnout rates, it’s crucial to learn how to manage stress effectively and create a balanced life. This workshop offers the tools and knowledge needed to break the cycle of stress and build a sustainable path to wellbeing and peak performance. Prioritising this workshop series means investing in your long-term health, happiness, and performance. 

Follow me on Instagram: @lucyquick_ 

27 views0 comments


bottom of page