Feeling Burned Out? Here's How to Ensure You're Perfectly Refreshed for the New Year


With burnout on the rise, CNBC asked the experts about how you can best use the holiday period to ensure you start the new year feeling refreshed.

As uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic continues, with the rapid spread of the omicron variant, it's unsurprising that more people than ever are feeling burned out.



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A recent survey of 1,000 workers in the U.S. by people analytics firm Visier, found that 89% of employees said they had experienced burnout over the past year, reaching what it called "epidemic" levels.

The Christmas holidays, for many, normally offer an opportunity to rest and reset, ready to return to work feeling refreshed, and that downtime is needed more than ever this year.

Experts shared with CNBC some top tips for restoring your energy levels over the holidays.

Identify the type of rest you need

Physician Saundra Dalton-Smith told CNBC via video call that it was first important for people to identify "what kind of tired they are," as this can help them work out what kind of rest they need.

In her book, "Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity," Dalton-Smith identified seven types of rest: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, sensory, social and creative.

If someone is suffering from a deficit in mental rest, Dalton-Smith told CNBC that one restorative exercise might be to do a "brain dump" of writing your thoughts down before going to sleep.

Similarly, she suggested journaling could help people who were feeling emotionally tired. However, she said this didn't have to be a "regimented exercise" and that it could be as simple as noting your feelings on your phone.

Dalton-Smith said that creative rest was one area that people often failed to recognize. She explained that this focused on allowing ourselves to "appreciate beauty," by going for a walk in nature, or attending an art exhibition, the theater or ballet, for example.

Research has shown that spending time in nature can be restorative. For example, a study published in 2015 found that giving a group of students a break of even just 40 seconds to look at a green space, could help sustain concentration.  

Rebecca Zucker, a founding partner at executive coaching firm Next Step Partners, also recommended "engaging in creative pursuits" as a form of rest over the holidays. Crafting, cooking or gardening, were a few examples she offered.

Indeed, experts have said that crafting can help distract from anxious feelings, as well as to keep the brain active, and stimulate the release of "feel good" neurotransmitters like dopamine.

Prioritizing rest

However, Zucker said what people find "restful and rejuvenating" was different for everyone.

In addition, Zucker suggested that people resist feeling the pressure to commit to holiday plans that they feel don't contribute to helping them to rest.

"I would pay attention to when you hear yourself using the word 'should' —  'I should do this, I should do this' — because, particularly over the holiday, when you want to feel rested and relaxed you want to do the things that you want to do," she explained.

Dalton-Smith also recommended that people spend the remainder of this year thinking about what elements of rest they want to prioritize going into 2022.

"Rest is an act of courage because most of our society fights back against it, and so I think someone who actually owns the fact that they understand that a part of living well is when we rest well, that's a courageous person," she explained.

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