How To Avoid Burnout (7 Types Of Rest You Need)

Project Details: Learning how to avoid burnout by building all 7 types of "rest" into our weekly routines.

Being overworked and overwhelmed is common. But it doesn’t mean it’s normal. In the modern 24/7 society, leaving the office doesn’t mean you’ve left work. You never truly leave anymore, do you? At any moment you’re only one notification away from easy access to work emails in your pocket.

But that’s not all. At any given moment you could be hit with something else: Burnout.

If you haven’t experienced burnout before, consider yourself lucky.

A 2017 paper found that chronic exposure to work-related stress can predict negative consequences for your physical health, mental health and for your professional career. A few highlights for you include; high-cholesterol, diabetes, musculoskeletal pain, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, breathing difficulties, insomnia, depressive-symptoms, job dissatisfaction and increased reliance on medications.

Well this doesn’t take a genius… Just take a break or “stress less” right?

⇢ Get more sleep.
⇢ Book a vacation.
⇢ Exercise more.
⇢ Reduce hours.

But those are only temporary solutions. Sleep might give you more energy, but it hasn’t addressed the underlying issue. Reducing your hours or taking a vacation is great, it gives you temporary relief (if you can switch your mind off). But that workload is waiting for you when you get back.

Exercise no doubt has many health benefits, but often people try to “sweat out” their stress or frustrations. This can actually speed up the exhaustion process because you’ll just run yourself into the ground. You’ll end up injured, sick (or both). Oh good – more stress!!

The answer lies in finding sustainable ways to make sure you’re getting enough rest every week. Not just going 110% until the wheels fall off.

As Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith (Author of Sacred Rest) states, “It takes courage to rest in the midst of an outcome-driven society.

So let’s be courageous. Here’s the 7 types of rest you need.

1. Physical Rest

The most common definition. There are two kinds of physical rest: active and passive.

– Focus on low-intensity activities that help promote good blood circulation and healthy tissues.
– Go for a slow walk, take an online yoga class or treat yourself to a massage.

– When you sleep, you’re recharging your body and mind. If you’re not getting enough quality sleep, you’ll recharge neither.
– Most adults need 7+ hours of sleep every night. Passive rest includes power-naps during the day (if you’re a napper).

2. Mental Rest

Are you an over-thinker? Do you struggle to turn your brain off? (👋 join the club!)

Unfortunately you can’t just turn your thoughts off. But, there are ways to organise your thoughts so they don’t have such a negative impact. Like anything else, it requires time to build the skill. But I promise you – it’s worth it.

On a personal note: The two best tools I’ve used to help quieten my mind are journaling and breathwork.

Breathwork is the most powerful tool you have to influence your own nervous system. It is literally a “stress switch” and with practice you can learn how to flick yours to the OFF position. Journaling on the other hand works in a different way. When your stressful thoughts stay in your head, you’re only looking at them through your fear and emotional parts of your brain. As soon as you write something down you’re waking up the logic centres. Sometimes you can feel immediately better simply after writing down what’s worrying you.

A few other tactics for you to try:

– Organise tomorrow’s “to-do’s” the night before
– Schedule breaks during the day
– Create a shutdown ritual to end the day

3. Social Rest

You’ve noticed this. Whether you’re ready to admit it or not. Some people give you energy and some people suck you dry.

I’m not telling you to never hang out with the latter, but protect your energy if you feel it getting low and set boundaries.

Getting your social recharge:
– Are you introverted? Block out time to spend alone.
– Spend more time with your energiser people.
– Spend less time with your energy drainers.

4. Spiritual Rest

This category does not mean you need to spend your Sunday’s in church. Although it can, if that’s your preference! But spiritual rest is about connecting with some form of purpose that’s bigger than yourself.

Align yourself with a greater purpose:
– Volunteer and give back to community
– Start a charitable side-hustle
– Start a purpose-driven business that benefits others (not just your bank account)

5. Sensory Rest

We’re over-stimulated. We have to make the conscious effort to “unplug”.

Digital detox starter pack:
– Log out of social media.
– Turn off notifications.
– Greyscale your smartphone.
– Spend time in silence.
– Have meals without technology.
– Leave home “phoneless”.

6. Emotional Rest

You know what’s exhausting? Living a life where you’re constantly trying to please everybody else.

HINT: It’s not possible.

– Spend time with people you can express your true feelings to, and be your “authentic” self.
– If you’re struggling, reach out to a therapist, coach or friend. They’ll be glad you did.

7. Creative Rest

Shake things up. Find inspiration by getting away from your regular day-to-day.

– Take a hike in nature.
– Visit a natural museum.
– Read a new book.
– Watch a sunset.
– Swim in the ocean.

Let the creativity come to you.

Project - Due next week. Incorporate multiple forms of rest into your routine for next 7 days.

Let’s talk about how to start building this habit for the next 7 days.

Step 1. Take THIS QUIZ to help figure out where to get started.

This will highlight which areas need the most attention for you right now (you can see my results below).

Step 2. Choose the top 1 or 2 scores from your quiz results.

Here’s what I’d do: Based on my results my targets would be emotional (35) and mental (34).

Step 3. Get out your calendar, diary etc

Here’s what I’d do: I’d open up my appointment booking system Cliniko (this doubles as my calendar/diary)

Step 4. Block out time right now to commit to this for the next 7 days.

Here’s what I’d do: At 6pm each day, I’ve blocked out 15mins to complete my “to-do” list for the following day. This gives me clarity of thought and acts as my shutdown ritual for when I leave the clinic. Also, I’ve blocked 30mins into Sunday afternoon to write down a list of energy givers / takers. During this 30mins I’m going to reach out and organise to spend time with somebody who gives me energy, and lets me be my authentic self (bonus points if we catch up outdoors, and do something active).

Step 5. Decide if this system works for you.

Not every idea we discuss will suit you. At the end of 7 days I want you to reflect on how you felt by putting this into practice for a short period of time.
Now is the time to decide whether it’s worth continuing on with the practice, or letting it go.


See you next week – Matt.

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Every Saturday morning, you’ll get one new tool, skill or method to upgrade your habits & transform your life in less than 7 minutes.