Fitness, wellness, and nutrition expert Penny Weston

Feeling burnt out? You’re not alone. Reported cases of burnout have tripled since before the pandemic. Fitness, wellness, and nutrition expert Penny Weston reveals the signs of burnout, plus tips on how to beat burnout through exercise and wellness rituals…

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion. It’s usually caused by excessive stress over a prolonged period of time as well as feeling overwhelmed and drained. Penny Weston, Director of wellness centre, Made, explains: ‘Although it isn’t a diagnosable psychological disorder it is, from my experience, becoming increasingly more common and needs to be taken seriously. In fact, nearly everyone coming through the doors in Made at the moment are suffering from burnout or a related complaint from lockdown. Worryingly, the number of people we are seeing with burnout has tripled!’


Signs of burnout

There are a number of signs that someone is experiencing burnout, and these tend to be both physical and mental. Signs can include:

  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Lack of energy
  • Intestinal issues
  • Feeling depressed
  • Exhaustion
  • Cynicism
  • Feeling unable to do your job or to cope
  • Feeling powerless

How to beat burnout through exercise and wellness rituals

Penny reveals she is a firm believer that regular exercise is the key to staying both physically and mentally fit: ‘When we exercise, the body releases chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine which boost our sense of well-being and suppress hormones that cause anxiety.’

beat burnout through exercise

Penny is a fitness expert who believes regular exercise is the key to good mental and physical health

Here are Penny’s top tips on how to beat burnout through exercise and wellness rituals…


1. Join a fitness class

There is now a bigger range of exercise classes and sports out there than ever before. Whether you prefer a low-intensity pilates class, an aqua aerobics session or a heavy weights session, there’s something for everyone!

Penny explains: ‘The important thing is don’t be put off if you’ve never done it before, it’s never too late to start a new fitness class,’ says Penny, ‘this year has really taught us the importance of finding joy in life, and the same can be said for exercise too.’


2. Experiment to find an exercise you enjoy

As Penny explains: ‘There are so many choices when it comes to exercise that the key to sticking at it is finding an exercise that you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be running for hours or lifting huge weights at a gym, the key is experimenting until you find something you enjoy and is a suitable level for you. That way it won’t feel like a chore to do and you’ll want to do it more as a result. And don’t forget that it doesn’t have to be what’s considered ‘traditional’ forms of exercise. Nowadays there really are so many options available from trampolining to boxing to Zumba to freshwater swimming, all of which release chemicals into the body to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and calm the mind.’

beat burnout through exercise

Penny is a wellness guru, and the director at a wellness centre, Made

3. Create a morning ritual

A consistent morning ritual is the perfect way to start the day. Penny shares: ‘Set yourself up for success by starting the morning with a ritual that lets you hit the ground running, make the most of your day, and stay positive and in control.’

‘All of our rituals are different, just like we are all different. But the key is that by setting them we are taking control of our morning, and therefore our lives. It can be as small as setting your alarm for a certain time and then jumping straight in the shower before having your breakfast, or doing a short yoga practice before you get dressed.’

4. Write yourself gratitude notes

Penny explains how gratitude notes can work to affirm positive thinking: ‘Write down three things that you’re grateful for on a piece of paper and stick them to your mirror or somewhere where you’ll see them a lot. Gradually they really will sink in and help you to feel positive and grateful!’

beat burnout

Find more wellness advice on demand at Penny’s website, Made Online

5. Get some fresh air

‘Fresh air has been shown to help digest food more effectively, improve blood pressure and heart rate, strengthen the immune system and a whole wealth of other benefits, so it’s no surprise that being out in the fresh air makes the mind feel better too,’ Penny explains. ‘Try and get out in the fresh air each day in order to help feel invigorated, energised, and ready to face the world again.’

6. Prioritise self-care

Lockdown has been tricky for everyone, and many of us forgot to look after ourselves along the way. Penny observes: ‘Lockdown has been a tale of two extremes, with some people being on furlough and at home with more time for self-care than ever, and others juggling working from home with looking after children and taking on all the household roles. Whichever camp you fell into, going forward it’s important that you prioritise your own self-care.

‘I was listening to an interview with Kate Garraway on the radio recently and she said something along the lines of that you can’t captain a difficult ship if you’re not well-fed, rested and looked after yourself. That encapsulates perfectly why self-care is so important. Schedule a few hours a week to go to bed early for example, or to read a book or put on a face mask. It will help to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing when life begins to return to normal.’

7. Resilience meditation

‘Focus on your wellbeing from a positive point of view by looking at ways that can build resilience. Focus on character building activities like yoga and meditation. These can help you learn to adapt to change and be strong for all that is coming.’ Check out Made Online on demand, where you’ll find a range of resilience meditations, perfect for improving emotional intelligence.

8. Write down lessons

Lastly, Penny shares why writing down the life lessons you’ve learnt is so important: ‘Don’t forget everything you’ve learnt about yourself during lockdown. Avoid going back to the hamster wheel of your old life. Lockdown has been long and has given us the time to realise what is important. Whether that’s working more or less, spending more time on your own, travelling, or exercising more, the list of possibilities is endless. Write down the things that you’ve learnt and things that you want to do to hold onto and use this as a gentle reminder of what’s important and the lessons that this time has taught you.’

Find more advice on how to beat burnout through exercise and wellness rituals at Made Online.


Click here to discover the best workouts for keeping your mind (and body!) active…