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As well as taking time out and seeking appropriate psychological and medical support, there are natural ways to help bring you back to a place of balance and joy.

5 Ways To Recover From Burnout & Reignite Your Spark

You wake up tired, dreading another day at work. Exhausted, you find it impossible to focus and feel irritated with everyone and everything. You are totally burnt out.

If this sounds like you, you are not alone. A recent survey reported that nearly 50% of employees in Australia considered themselves to be experiencing burnout1.

The people thought to be most at risk are in the caring professions, such as aged care workers, nurses, doctors, paramedics and other health professionals – but it can happen to anyone.

Ways to Reignite Your Spark

As well as taking time out and seeking appropriate psychological and medical support, there are natural ways to help bring you back to a place of balance.

Nourish Yourself

Eating nutritious food helps our bodies relax and recover. The CSIRO Healthy Diet Score survey2 has just been released. This studied the diets of over 235,000 adults from 2015 to 2023, and showed that most of us eat far too much junk food and sugary treats - and not enough fruit and vegetables.

Health tip: To increase the quality of your diet, eat three to four different types of vegetables with your main meal and drink plenty of water during the day to keep hydrated.

Herbs for Healing

While there are many different herbal treatments to choose from, adaptogens usually form the main part of the traditional herbal treatment for burnout. These are herbs that help the body get back into balance and are usually taken over a long period of time.3

Some of my favourites include:

  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

This is an Ayurvedic herb rich in antioxidants and iron, often used for convalescence and to build up strength. This is also reputed to improve the memory and help insomnia4.

  • Schisandra berry ( Schisandra chinensis)

Schisandra or Wu Wei Zi is used in Chinese medicine to soothe irritability, and help with sleep and palpitations5. It is a good source of vitamin C and balances the endocrine system.

  • Siberian Ginseng ( Eleuthococcus senticosus)

This was taken by Russian Olympic athletes in the 1970s and 1980s as part of their training regime.6 It is used for improving stamina and for support when under mental and physical stress. In Chinese medicine it is also known as Ci Wu Jia.

Health Tip: Herbal medicines, while generally of low toxicity, often come with some safety cautions. So it is best to see a naturopath or herbalist to get expert advice before taking a herbal remedy. This is especially true if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, are on prescribed medications or other supplements, and/or have any chronic diseases.

3. Yoga for Relaxation & Restorative Sleep

Yoga improves our posture and balance. It also encourages deep and effective breathing, increasing oxygen levels and easing stress. This calming down of the nervous system helps us relax so we can enjoy a full and refreshing night's sleep78.

Yoga nidra or deep relaxation is a special type of yogic meditation. Done while lying down, the attention is gently guided from the outside world to the inner feelings, emotions and thoughts. It is claimed that one hour of yoga nidra can give the same benefit as four hours of sleep.9

Health Tip: While there are yoga nidra audios available on the internet, joining a gentle yoga or relaxation class will enable you to get the most value from this practice.

4. Mindfulness & Positive Thinking

Focusing on the present moment with an attitude of acceptance and self-compassion can be both deeply healing and restorative. We spend so much time and energy judging ourselves and others. Reframing this self talk to a kinder, more positive way of interacting with life opens us up to the joys that life has to offer.

Health Tip: You might like to stop now and take a few breaths. Now gently bring your attention back to where you are. What can you hear around you? What can you see? Spend a few moments observing these and then you might like to take this sense of gentle awareness with you throughout your day.

5. Forest Bathing & Connecting with Nature

Also known as Shinrin – yoku, forest bathing is about reconnecting with nature to bring ourselves back into the present. It involves walking mindfully among trees and may be done with a forest guide or on your own. Forest therapy has been proven to increase relaxation by balancing the autonomic system and to reduce both stress, anxiety and depression. 10

Health Tip: Take time each day to go for a slow walk for five to ten minutes, preferably in nature. As you walk, focus on your surroundings, what you can see, hear, smell and touch.

After Burnout

Burnout can be a wake up call. By slowly and steadily choosing new, healthier ways of living, recovery is possible. Then afterwards this simple and and more joyful way of living can help keep you well and prevent burnout reoccurring.



3Adaptogens. Petito, Melissa R.D.2020 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.ISBN: 978-0-7858-3847-0.

4Principles & Practices of Phytotherapy Mills, Simon & Bone, Kerry. Churchill Livingstone ISBN 0 443 0601609

5Chinese Herbal Chmelik, Stefan Simon & Schuster Australia ISBN 0 7318 08401

6Principles & Practices of Phytotherapy Mills, Simon & Bone, Kerry. Churchill Livingstone ISBN 0 443 0601609

7Live Better Yoga, Fraser, Tara Duncan Baird Publishers, UK ISBN 13:978-1-904292-46-3

8Cocchiara RA, Peruzzo M, Mannocci A, Ottolenghi L, Villari P, Polimeni A, Guerra F, La Torre G. The Use of Yoga to Manage Stress and Burnout in Healthcare Workers: A Systematic Review. J Clin Med. 2019 Feb 26;8(3):284. doi: 10.3390/jcm8030284. PMID: 30813641; PMCID: PMC6462946.


10Shinrin-yoku, Prof.Yoshifumi Miyazaki, Octopus Publishing, UK 2018.

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Sarah Isaacs, Naturopath

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Special Interests

  • Naturopathy & Nutritional Medicine
  • Mindfulness and Wellbeing
  • Detoxification
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If you have any medical conditions, are taking prescription drugs or are feeling unwell, please consult a health care professional before taking any of the advice on this website. This advice does not replace medical treatment.
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