Spotting and avoiding a burnout

elevate, burnout

Ruth Tongue and Lucy Faulks set up Elevate, a company which helps businesses improve the mental health and wellbeing of their workforce, as they had both experienced burnout.

Burnout in women is a condition less talked about than in men, but equally as debilitating.

Qualified nutritionist and sports scientist Ruth Tongue outlines the signs of burnout in women: “Physical signs of stress include digestive issues, skin conditions, frequent infections or illnesses, weight loss or gain, loss of libido and changes in menstrual cycle. Behavioral signs might include lack of sleep or oversleeping, being moody or irritable, having trouble focusing, detaching from social situations, eating or loss of appetite, loss of motivation/apathy, lack of self-care – or at worst risky behavior (drugs/alcohol).”

Elevate run workshops to help individuals spot their own personal signs and limit taking on too much before demands spiral into something bigger.

Ruth suggests: “, Start by setting boundaries around working hours and say no to non-essential commitments (both in work and personal life). Create a clear and practical plan which will put you back in control and relieve feelings of overwhelm and panic. Take time for self-care (whether that means hitting the gym or hitting the snooze button) – or even just taking a break to walk around the block and breathe.”

Looking after your body from inside out is also vital, Ruth adds “, eating foods that will provide you with nutrients, lasting energy and nourishment. Avoid the foods and drinks that leave you feeling dissatisfied and affect your energy levels and sleep, such as too many refined carbs, caffeine and alcohol).”

Communication is another essential. “, Share how you’re feeling with your line manager and team mates or friends and family – talking is essential for reducing feelings of anxiety and also means that others will become aware that you may need a bit of extra help. Challenge negative thinking traps. Often getting caught in spiraling negative thought patterns can send us down the path to self-destruction. Try naming and reframing when you find yourself catastrophising, fortune-telling, mind reading or playing the victim.”

It might sound obvious but doing the things you love will genuinely refuel and energise you, rather than drain and deplete you.

And finally: Make sleep a priority. Ruth advises “Make sure you’re switching off your phone at least two hours before bed, even better – charge it downstairs. The blue light emitted from iPads and iPhones affects melatonin levels – the hormone that tells you it’s time to go to sleep. By charging the phone downstairs, it removes the temptation to lie awake at night or first thing in the morning checking emails and mindlessly browsing.”


Elevate offer workshops and consultancy around physical, mental and emotional wellbeing to businesses across the UK and Europe. This includes mindfulness, tech-life balance and productivity workshops, plus drop-in meditation sessions. For more information contact [email protected] www.elevateyourhealth.co.uk.

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