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Beating burnout

Natural ways to combat stress and anxiety

Stress, anxiety and burnout have become all too common in our fast-paced world. As we juggle the demands of work, family and financial pressures, many people find themselves becoming overwhelmed. Don't let stress affect your health: take note of our expert tips and strategies to bring more calm and balance to your life.

"Burnout happens when we've been stuck in our fight or flight stress response for too long," explains psychotherapist and author Tasha Bailey ( and Instagram: @realtalk.therapist). "Fight or flight is our body's survival mode for dealing with stress and danger. It leads to increased heart rate and increased adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormone) to get us moving in high alert and hypervigilance in moments of need.

In the ideal scenario, we get the opportunity to unwind and recover after the stressor has been completed, so that we can take our nervous system back to steady and stable again. But with the modern stresses of today's society, a lot of us are living in our survival mode for longer periods than we should. We are often holding multiple stresses at one time, and it can feel like we are constantly putting out fires in our lives. When this happens, our bodies are carrying so much cortisol and adrenaline that we end up feeling wired, tired and completely burned out."

So what can we do to tackle stress and burnout?

Eat nourishing foods

The food you eat can have an effect on the way you feel, so it's important to fuel your body with nutrient-rich foods that support mental and emotional wellbeing. "Incorporate whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into your diet to nourish your body from the inside out," says Claudia Dumond, holistic health coach and founder of Minimondo ( "Experiment with mood-boosting superfoods like dark leafy greens, omega-3-rich fish and antioxidant-packed berries to support brain health and reduce inflammation."

Listen to your body

"Start listening to your body more," says Tasha Bailey. "One way to do this is to create more pauses in your day so that you can begin to listen in on what your body is doing and what it needs from you. Check in to see how often you are in fight or flight mode. Lean into practices that will slow down your nervous system. Move your body from fight or flight to 'rest and digest' mode by surrounding yourself with things that help you unwind. This could include journalling, yoga or adding more no-device breaks into your working day."

Create sacred spaces

"Designate sacred spaces in your home where you can retreat and recharge," says Claudia Dumond. "Create cosy corners for reading, meditation or quiet reflection. Surround yourself with elements that bring you joy and peace, such as plants, candles or soothing music. Carve out time each day to connect with your sacred space and replenish your energy reserves."

Try some natural remedies

Here are some natural remedies that may help to soothe stress, anxiety, fatigue and sleep issues:

• Passionflower: The Passiflora plant has been traditionally used over the centuries for several health purposes. Passionflower is particularly effective in treating nervousness, anxiety and sleep difficulties.

• Oat: Oat is known as a 'superfood' for its many health benefits such as lowering cholesterol levels and treating exhaustion and sleep issues.

• Valerian Zinc Salt: The zinc salt contains valerian, which helps against nervousness and sleep disturbances without causing drowsiness.

• Coffee Plant: The caffeine in coffee is not only known to improve moods. It also increases serotonin levels in the brain which can reduce depressive tendencies and relax us, therefore helps against insomnia.

For more information, visit

Pause and breathe

"In the midst of chaos, it's essential to carve out moments of stillness and silence," says Claudia Dumond. "A simple yet powerful tool I come back to time and time again is box breathing (also known as square breathing or four-square breathing). It involves taking slow, deep breaths in a structured pattern, typically following a four-count rhythm.

Here is how to practise four-square breathing:

• Inhale deeply through your nose while counting to four.

• Visualize drawing the breath into your abdomen, allowing it to expand fully.

• Hold your breath for a count of four. Keep your lungs comfortably filled but avoid straining.

• Slowly exhale through your mouth, counting to four as you release the breath.

• Empty your lungs completely.

• Pause for another count of four before beginning the next breath cycle.

• Repeat this pattern for several minutes, focusing on the rhythm of your breath and allowing your mind to relax with each exhalation.

Is it time for a change?

"The only real cure for burnout is change," says Tasha Bailey. "In order to stop burnout from happening, you need to start to understand what are the instigators making it happen? Is it the environment of your workplace? Childcare demands? Or is it you? A lot of the time, burnout is a result of our own unhealthy patterns around self-worth, rest and work, so it's a good idea to unpack what beliefs you have that are maintaining the cycle. Make sense of what boundaries are currently missing from your life and slowly start to make changes. Boundaries are about protecting your peace. Without them, burnout will continue – potentially with damaging consequences."

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 13 to 19 May, with the theme being Movement: Moving More for our Mental Health. Visit and follow #MomentsForMovement on social media.

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