The First Step To Healing From Burnout

How to start your journey out of burnout, and towards growth

Sally Clarke
2 min readApr 5, 2022


Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Burnout can leave you feeling helpless and isolated. Reaching out to others and acknowledging what is happening is essential. In fact, it forms the first step in your healing journey: Talk.

You cannot change what you deny or ignore. By talking about burnout, you reclaim your power.

Being honest about burnout creates a sliver of the objectivity you need for change. As your mind, body and soul heal and evolve, your objectivity grows. Insights abound. When you act on these insights, the process becomes empowering and even transformative.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou

Talk is not simply about being around other people or scrolling through your socials. We can feel profoundly lonely in a crowd and social media generally leaves us feeling less, rather than more, connected. As trauma researcher Bessel van der Kolk frames it in The Body Keeps the Score, “For our physiology to calm down, heal and grow we need a visceral feeling of safety.” That’s what this step is all about.

You don’t have to heal alone. In fact, you cannot heal alone

When you are in burnout, seeking connection with others can feel risky or counterintuitive. Shame, exhaustion and cynicism make it hard for us to open our hearts to genuine and vulnerable connection.

To compound matters, when twentieth century psychologists were formulating theories about human development, they came to the general conclusion that depending on others is immature and healthy psychological adulthood means independence. In addition, many societies place a heavy focus on the virtues of individualism, a tendency that has increased in recent decades.

Yet this narrative of independence and individualism goes against our basic human nature. We are deeply interdependent beings. Forming and fostering strong bonds is critical to meeting our basic need to feel seen and heard. When we suppress this need, we hurt ourselves and others.

Feeling connected to other people fosters your sense of being safe in the world. There is no way around it: Human connection is essential to your healing.

This first step, Talk, has four aspects:

1. Acknowledging burnout to yourself

2. Enlisting the support of people you trust

3. Talking to a professional

4. Setting boundaries with people in your work sphere

“We are deeply interdependent beings.”

Curious to know more? Pick up my latest book, Relight Your Spark: How to Heal and Evolve after Burnout (just US$3.99 right now!). It delves into the four steps of Talk — as well as everything else you need to heal, evolve and transform out of burnout.



Sally Clarke

Co Director of Human Leaders. Wellbeing & burnout author, expert, coach, writer & speaker. Global adventurer. she/her