How To Avoid Festive Burnout

The term ‘burnout’ was first coined by American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger in the 1970s. Although originally referring to the loss of motivation that he observed among mental health staff volunteering at a free clinic, over the years, the phrase has evolved in meaning and grown in significance. Burnout is now recognised as a legitimate medical disorder with its own ICD-10 code

ICD code Z730 – Burnout: Occupational burnout or job burnout is characterized by exhaustion, lack of enthusiasm and motivation, feelings of ineffectiveness, and also may have the dimension of frustration or cynicism, and as a result reduced efficacy within the workplace.’

In a recent study, analytics company Gallup found that 28% of full-time employees often feel burned out at work. Yet, not everybody who experiences burnout is seized by work-related stress. Feeling overwhelmed and emotionally drained may be the result of relationship or parenting pressures, and for some, could be a response to a specific time of the year. 


What Is A Festive Burnout?

Festive burnouts are a negative reaction to the stress of the holidays. Christmas conjures up images of smiling children and carol singers, but as we age, its uplifting effect can fade. A study carried out by YouGov found that over a third of adults aged 45 – 54 felt worse over the festive period when compared to the rest of the year. 

Bank balances stretching to purchase expensive gifts and extra food, combined with a perceived loss of time, are the main contributors to festive burnout. The stress of crowds, ceaseless Christmas songs and a bombardment of targeted advertising also add to the helpless feeling of exhaustion.  


Signs You Are Experiencing A Festive Burnout

It is important to differentiate between normal feelings of stress and a total burnout. Small amounts of stress are healthy and can actually help us to complete tasks. For example, feeling a degree of pressure to complete your Christmas shopping on time may help you to become better focused. It is only when prolonged periods of excessive stress cause a decline in our physical and mental well-being that we are considered to be experiencing a burnout. However, they are notoriously difficult to detect as symptoms build up gradually.  


Keep an eye out for the following signs.


Disrupted Sleep

Regularly getting less than 6 hours of sleep is one of the best predictors of a burnout. Stress can adversely affect sleep patterns and a lack of sleep can cause stress levels to spike. This cycle can be challenging to break. 


Feeling Overwhelmed

If you feel as though your to-do list is never-ending and small tasks are taking up too much mental space, you may be experiencing a burnout. When we feel emotionally overwhelmed, we may act irrationally and feel unable to manage our daily lives. 



A lack of sleep and mental overload both contribute to the characteristic feeling of exhaustion associated with a burnout. You may feel both physically and mentally drained and this can cause reduced efficiency in both your professional and personal affairs. 


Reduced Feelings Of Joy

As tiredness tightens its grip and you notice that you are underperforming, a loss of joy is the next natural step. This lack of happiness may feel particularly exaggerated around Christmas time as the pressure to feel cheery and sociable increases.  


How To Deal With A Festive Burnout

The first step in dealing with a festive burnout is identifying that there is a problem. The second is deciding to take action. Healthcare professionals such as Dr. Jan C. Wulff are highly trained in coaching individuals through periods of extreme burnout. 

With a background in medicine and over 15 years experience as a life coach, Dr. Jan offers a holistic approach to stress management. His unique Five-Step BrainTuning® System begins with self-discovery, giving you insight into the way you view the world and encouraging you to identify negative thought patterns. 

With weekly sessions over a minimum of 12 weeks, Dr. Jan seeks to restore your passion for life by developing mindfulness techniques and establishing new ways of thinking. Unlike other forms of therapy, mindset coaching goes beyond alleviating the symptoms of a current burnout, by preventing future episodes. 


Book A Discovery Call

If you have experienced a festive burnout in the past, you are more likely to spiral into exhaustion and prolonged emotional stress for a second time. Before your mental health reaches this critical point, make a change. 

Book a Discovery Call with Dr. Jan to discuss your stress management for 20 minutes, free of charge. During this time, Dr. Jan will equip you with actionable strategies that you can implement immediately and offer more extensive help by booking you in for your first BrainTuning® session.  

Complete the online form to schedule your call and feel uplifted this festive season. 

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