Inside: These self-care ideas for when you’re feeling burned out will help to refresh your mind, body, and spirit.

In a world where constant hustle is the norm, falling into the trap is easier than ever. These days, there is constant pressure to take on more projects, accept more responsibilities, and earn more money. This can come at the detriment of your health and personal needs.

Simply put, a healthy work-life balance feels more like a luxury than the norm for most people. As a result, many experience stress and anxiety and have very little time left to do things they enjoy.

Today, we’re going to explore some ways to practice self-care if you’re feeling exhausted. While self-care alone won’t necessarily “cure” burnout, it does help alleviate stress. Practicing self-care regularly can help prevent burnout in the future as well.


To clarify, I’m using the term burnout to refer to exhaustion from overworking or lack of work-life balance. Those in a more severe situation should seek professional help as self-care alone may not be sufficient.

self-care ideas when you're burned out

Self-Care Day Ideas For When You’re Feeling Burned Out

When the demands of life get to be too much, use these self-care ideas when you’re feeling burned out to help you get a break and restore your physical, mental, and emotional health.

1. Take a moment

If you’re overloaded with work and can’t take a prolonged break, stop for a few minutes and take deep breaths. The simple act of slowing yourself down can help you to feel much calmer.

This tip is especially helpful in an unusually busy week or stressful time. Deep breathing helps you to center yourself and calms your body.

2. Prioritize your physical health

Nothing – I repeat, nothing – is ever as urgent as it may feel. No matter how hectic the week may get, it’s important to take care of yourself. Prioritizing work over your physical health can have terrible results in the long run.

When life gets busy, make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, drinking enough water, and moving your body. If you don’t have much time for exercising, even just a 15-minute walk around your neighborhood is beneficial.

woman holding cellphone

3. Avoid screens during your breaks

There’s nothing wrong with watching Netflix during your free time. However, if you work on a computer and are having a particularly busy week, a screen-free break is better.

Taking tech breaks (no matter how small) is extremely important even when your to-do list feels never-ending. Taking pauses from a screen only to jump onto another one can be very counterproductive.

Instead of using your breaks to scroll through social media, try going for a walk or meditating instead!

4. Set boundaries

One of the reasons you may feel extremely drained could be due to other people’s demands. If you’re currently overloaded with work, it may not make a lot of sense to agree to look after your neighbor’s kids or to pick your friend up at the airport at 2 AM.

It’s okay to say no and to prioritize your own well-being. If you’re often agreeing to things you don’t have the time or energy for, you need to create boundaries around your schedule.

Saying “no” doesn’t make you a bad person and anyone in your life who truly values you will completely understand.

If you’re overworked on a regular basis, you might be taking on more than you are physically able to manage. In that case, it may be time to have a serious talk with your boss (or yourself if you freelance or have your own business).

Decide what your non-negotiables are in advance and stick to your boundaries.

self-care ideas when you're burned out

5. Get outside

Take regular breaks (even if they’re short) and get outside. Go on a short walk, take your dog for a quick stroll, or just sit at an outdoor coffee shop.

There are so many benefits to getting outdoors more and it’s an easy (and free) thing to do.

6. Ask for help

This is hard if you’re used to being super independent, but it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. 

A huge part of relationships is being there for others, so asking a loved one for help is not only a way to take a load off you, but also a path to strengthen relationships.

We previously discussed the importance of setting boundaries and learning how to say “no”, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help our loved ones when we have enough resources for it. Your friends or family members may be able to lend a hand and help you get the break you need!

7. Schedule self-care time

A great way to get things done is by scheduling your day. While your current calendar may be filled up with responsibilities, make sure you also allot at least a short amount of time to practice self-care.

This can look like taking regular breaks to get outside, spending a short time with a friend, practicing a hobby, journaling, or just about anything that comes to mind. Choose whatever activities you feel you need most right now.

coffee with a friend

8. Give yourself something to look forward to

Challenging situations can feel overwhelming when we’re not able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Find, or create, something to look forward to.

That way, when you have stressful circumstances arise, like a big project you need to work on, you have something positive to focus on after it’s done.

It’s a great way to keep you inspired to tackle those tasks like a pro. Having a reward at the end gives you the motivation to complete the work. This can look like a vacation, tickets to an event, or even just a day trip or simply trying a new restaurant in your area.

9. Detox from technology

Cell phones have greatly influenced our lives and increased how much we use technology. When your device fits in your pocket and goes everywhere with you, it’s easy to become addicted to it.

If you’re using your phone more than you’d like or have noticed it negatively impacting your life, consider doing a digital detox.

You don’t need to get rid of your phone altogether, but busier times are the perfect opportunity to become more mindful of how you use your phone.

Limiting your social media and phone usage will help you to concentrate on the tasks that you need to complete. You’ll finish them faster and be able to do higher-quality work when you’re able to focus without the constant distractions.

self-care ideas when you're burned out

What are your favorite self-care ideas for when you’re burned out? Share them in the comments!

No matter how much you love your work and want to reach your career goals, nothing will be worth it if it means having to compromise your health and mental wellbeing in the process.

If your workload and responsibilities have become constant sources of stress and anxiety, evaluate your situation and consider how you could improve it. If changing jobs isn’t an option, determine which self-care ideas you could incorporate when you’re feeling burned out.

Allowing yourself to rest and recharge will boost your focus, creativity levels, and energy, which in turn will help you get more done once you’re back at work.

Self-care is non-negotiable nourishment that will not only keep your health in check but will actually make you better at your job. Self-care isn’t a waste of time – it’s a must!

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