Effective Strategies: How to Help Someone with Burnout

Burnout is a serious issue that can affect anyone who is overwhelmed with too much stress. It can lead to decreased productivity, loss of enthusiasm, and even depression. If you suspect someone you know may be suffering from burnout, it's important to take steps to help them regain their sense of balance and well-being. 

A tired woman struggling with life in a post about how to help someone with burnout

What is Burnout?

Burnout is the result of a prolonged stress response, often brought about by relentless working and/or personal pressures. It's characterized by mental and emotional exhaustion caused, by decreased motivation, catastrophic thinking disorder, lack of pleasure from activities usually enjoyed, self-doubt, guilt, and even physical symptoms such as headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and other stress-related problems like anxiety, anxiousness, nervousness, depression, as well as other mental health issues.[1]

And if you're an introvert struggling with this, try out our other blog Introvert Burnout: How To Recharge And Care For Your Needs.

Recognizing the Signs of Burnout 

Burnout can manifest in many different ways, so it’s important to pay attention to the signs. Some common burnout symptoms include: 

A man struggling to work in a post about how to help someone with burnout

Understanding the Causes of Burnout 

The first step in helping someone with burnout is to understand the root cause. Stress is typically a major factor, especially when it goes unmanaged for a long period. Other common causes include:

A man trying focus in a post about how to help someone with burnout

Helpful Tips To Help Someone With Burnout

Burnout is a serious issue that can have lasting effects if not addressed. It’s important to recognize the signs and take steps to help someone with burnout before their situation becomes worse. Here are some helpful tips on how to help someone with burnout:

Understand How They Feel:

The first step in helping someone overcome burnout is to understand how they’re feeling. Try to get an idea of their struggles and ask questions about what’s going on to gain insight into their situation.

It's important to be a good listener, always make eye contact, and let them know you're there for them without judging or trying to fix the problem.


Active Listening: When the person expresses their struggles, keep eye contact and remain attentive. Try your best not to offer solutions or judgments during this time - just be there for them and give them your full attention.

Empathy: Take a moment to imagine what it must feel like for the person in their current state. How can you be understanding and compassionate of their struggles to provide the best support possible? Show them that you care deeply about their well-being and do your best to validate their feelings.

Provide Positive Reassurance:

It’s essential to provide positive reinforcement and remind them that they can make it through their current situation. Encourage them to take small steps each day and stay focused on the positives rather than getting overwhelmed by all the negatives.

Encourage the person to keep trying and remind them that they have the strength to overcome their current situation. Show your support and offer reassuring compliments, such as acknowledging their hard work or praising them for dealing with their stress. Reassurance is one of the most effective tools in helping someone cope with burnout, so be sure to let them know that you are there and they’re not alone.

Here are some ways to provide positive reassurance:

• Acknowledge their hard work

• Give compliments on their handling of difficult situations

• Let them know you appreciate everything they do

• Offer words of affirmation and support

• Remind them they are strong and capable

• Help them recognize positive experiences and achievements

In addition to providing reassurance, it is important to create a safe environment where they can freely express their feelings. This allows you to understand the root cause of their burnout and find ways to help. Make sure that they know you will listen without judgment and make them feel comfortable talking about the issue.

Offer Support:

It’s important to provide your support by offering practical help such as helping with errands, giving them space to rest, or providing words of encouragement. Practical assistance can ease their stress and make things easier for them.

Here are some ideas on how you can offer support:

Encourage Self-Care:

It's important to encourage them to practice self-care and take time for themselves so that they can recharge their energy levels. Suggest activities such as going for a walk, practicing meditation, or getting enough sleep.

Prioritize Positive Thinking:

Positive thinking is key when dealing with burnout as negative energy can easily lead to a downward spiral. Encourage the burned-out person to think positively and focus on their successes and strengths. Positive thinking can help lift their mood, increase motivation, and restore energy levels.

Here are some ways to encourage positive thinking:

Offer Emotional Support:

Most importantly, offer emotional support and understanding to the person struggling with burnout. Be bold and talk openly and honestly about their struggles; provide an open, safe environment where they feel comfortable discussing their feelings. Let them know that you are there for them no matter what, and encourage them to practice self-care strategies such as meditation, yoga, mindfulness, and journaling. Offer to take on some of their tasks or responsibilities to lighten the load and allow them more time to rest.

Here are a few additional tips for helping someone with burnout:

Employees working together in a post about how to help someone with burnout

Seek Professional Help:

If the person is struggling with severe burnout, it might be beneficial to suggest they seek professional help. Burnout can be a difficult issue to manage on your own, so they must get the right support and guidance so that they can tackle the issue head-on.

For example, they could receive cognitive behavioral therapy which helps people identify patterns in their thinking that could be causing them to feel overwhelmed and develop strategies for dealing with their stress.


"Burnout prevention is an incredibly challenging experience, but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. With the right support and understanding from those around them, people can learn how to manage their burnout and find ways to move forward with hope and resilience.

By being mindful of the signs of burnout and taking proactive steps to help someone with burnout prevention, you can play a key role in their recovery and make the journey back to well-being a little easier.[2]


How To Help Someone With Burnout?

To help someone with burnout, it is important to be understanding and compassionate. Establish a safe space where they can openly talk about their feelings and concerns and provide emotional support. Suggest activities that can help them relax, take a break from their responsibilities, and practice self-care. Encourage them to seek professional help if necessary.

What Does Professional Help Involve? 

Professional help involves working with a therapist or counselor who can provide valuable support during times of stress & burnout. They will work on understanding why the individual is feeling burned out & assist them in developing strategies & solutions aimed at reducing stress & increasing well-being through evidence-based therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), crippling anxiety & mindfulness approaches as well as lifestyle interventions depending on each person's needs & preferences.


  1. mentalhealth-uk: Burnout
  2. helpguide: Burnout Prevention and Treatment