Why rest is key to healing from burnout — and how to get it

It might not always look like a hammock in the sun — still, rest is key to healing from burnout. Here’s how to get it.

Sally Clarke
5 min readJun 27, 2022


woman lying in a hammock in the sun
If you needed a sign to go buy a hammock, this is it.

For many of us, sleep is characterized as the enemy. It lurks at the bottom of our to do lists:

“I’ll sleep once this deadline has passed.”

“I’ll take a weekend off when this project finishes.”

The idea prevails that sleeping less makes you more productive. In the mid to long term, the opposite is true. Healthy sleep and rest are key to ongoing health and sustainable growth. By avoiding sleep and rest, you do yourself severe damage and move further away from your goals.

After burnout, when you are looking to heal your body and relight your Spark, you need to rest and restore your physical and physiological systems to allow your parasympathetic nervous system to restore optimal functioning. This means building rest into daily life, so it’s not a once-off, but a continual, ongoing practice.

Let’s look at two ways to get more rest: Prioritizing Sleep, and Building Restful Habits.

Make Sleep Your Priority

As you become vigilant about sleep, you start to loosen the tight grip of exhaustion and tension caused by chronic stress. Here are some key ways to create healthy sleeping habits.

  1. Make your sleeping space cozy, welcoming, screen-free and dark.
  2. Have a fixed bedtime hour and a fixed time to wake up. Our bodies tend to respond best to continuity and routine. Aim for eight to nine hours each night as you heal from burnout.
  3. Many people benefit from a pre-bedtime ritual. You might start by turning off all devices. Then, do things like straighten the kitchen, brush your teeth, put on your pajamas, do a meditation, write in a gratitude journal — whatever works for you. Doing these kinds of things in a set order gives your body and brain the message that it is time to slow down and rest.
  4. If you find yourself reaching for your phone in the middle of the night, remove temptation and leave it turned off in another room (if you use your phone as an…



Sally Clarke

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