Recovery from Burnout

Is it easy to recover?

Burnout is complex. Factors that contribute to burnout aren’t only personal ones, such as what we perceive as stressful or striving for perfection at all costs for example, but also job-related or organisation-related factors too.

However, the good news is that mild burnout can be relatively easy to recover from, particularly if you can spot burnout symptoms (see my earlier blog post on this topic) early and you take action to restore your well-being.

To recover from mild burnout, you might only need to take some time off, rest and recharge and do some other self-care activities.

You might also need to talk to your manager to obtain some work-related support or try and reduce your workload for example. It may only take a few weeks for you to feel like your usual self again.

Recovery from Burnout when it’s Severe  

Severe work-related burnout is more difficult, but it is still possible to bounce back from it. It’s a process that requires more to recover and so it takes longer.

Recovering from severe burnout doesn’t automatically mean you need to quit your job, particularly if you’re able to make the personal changes you need to, and if you feel your job, and the organisation, is still a good “fit” for you. If not, it may mean leaving, for the sake of your well-being.  

The 5 Keys to Burnout Recovery

Through my personal and professional experience, and studying the most up-to-date published research on burnout, I’ve discovered there are five main keys to burnout recovery. These are: –

  1. Raise Your Awareness – e.g., What led to your burnout?
  2. Restore Your Body – By restoring your body you have the energy to tackle the other strategies.
  3. Be True to Yourself – Including meeting your unmet needs and living your values.
  4. Be Kind to Yourself – e.g., Cultivating self-compassion aids recovery, especially for those who are self-critical and prone to perfectionism.
  5. Make Your Heart Sing – Pro-actively cultivating positive emotions, like gratitude and joy, improve resilience and boost burnout recovery.

The above can be a very useful practical guide to burnout recovery. However, it may take a more personal tailor-made recovery programme, as each person’s experience of burnout is unique.


Buchan, C. (2021). The 5 Keys to Burnout Recovery. The Agile Leader Limited.