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5 Ways to Recover from Burnout and Reignite Your Spark

By Sarah Isaacs
from Natural Health Focus

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 burnout[1]. 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. For most people a diet rich in unprocessed wholefoods with plenty of fruit and vegetables is advised. Adequate protein and healthy oils also help nourish the nervous system. It is best to eat local, organically grown foods to avoid toxins that can impact negatively on the health. If you are uncertain what to eat, check the ATMS website for a nutritionist who can support you on your journey back to health.

Herbs for Healing

While there are many different herbal treatments to choose from, adaptogens usually form the main part of your therapy. These are herbs that help the body get back into balance and are usually be taken over a long period of time.[2]

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 insomnia[3].

  • Schisandra berry ( Schisandra chinensis)

Schisandra or Wu Wei Zi is used in Chinese medicine to soothe irritability, and help with sleep and palpitations[4]. 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.[5] 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.

Safety Caution

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.

  1. 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 sleep [6][7].

Yoga nidra 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.[8] While there are yoga nidra audios available on the internet, joining a gentle yoga class will enable you to get the most value from this and other yoga practices.

  1. Massage

A weekly massage session helps soothe muscular aches and pains and reduces tension in the body. Studies show that it also reduces cortisol, a hormone released when we are stressed, and increases the feel – good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.[9] Often calming essential oils such as lavender or geranium oil are used to bring us back down to a state of complete relaxation.

  1. 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]

After Burnout

Burnout can be a wakeup 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.



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

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

[4]    Chinese Herbal Chmelik, Stefan Simon & Schuster Australia ISBN 0 7318 08401

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

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

[7]              Cocchiara 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.


[9]              Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Diego M, Schanberg S, Kuhn C. Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci. 2005 Oct;115(10):1397-413. doi: 10.1080/00207450590956459. PMID: 16162447

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

More about the author

Sarah Isaacs
Sarah Isaacs
– Natural Health Focus

Sarah Isaacs is a naturopath, herbalist and nutritionist with degrees in medicine and neuroscience. She is also a trained mindfulness and meditation teacher and habit change facilitator.

Sarah is the owner/ manager of Natural Health Focus, a holistic wellness service whose mission is to nourish people's mental, physical and emotional health. Wellness & nutritional consultations plus health programmes are available online including:

Mindful Eating Programmes-  how to eat in a way that brings joy and health.

Stress Less Programmes-  how to cope better with stress and have a calmer life.

''My passion is to share simple, natural ways of healing- and living- with others. Whatever health challenges we face, it is always possible to feel better by supporting our own body's ability to heal.”