“Self-care is how you take your power back.”

~ Lalah Delia

When stress is high self-care gets pushed to the side. The more you do that, the more you risk not just burnout, but pandemic burnout… which is a carry-over version of burnout that infiltrates all areas of work and life.

If you’re interested in learning the difference between regular burnout and pandemic burnout, watch the video below, or read the blog. Then take your power back, and embrace what I call fierce acts of self-care to move from stress to success, especially now as we readjust to our new world of work, and ever-busy lives.

And join me for the next few weeks as I continue to explore the topic of burnout: what is is, how to recognize it, and what to do about it. I’d also be interested to hear your thoughts and questions around it!

In video #1 in my exploration of burnout, I shared a definition of burnout that, while accurate, didn’t feel quite complete.

I shared that burnout is a form of exhaustion caused by feeling overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to keep up with the demands of day-to-day…often related to work. Sounds okay I guess, but in these pandemic-fatigued times, I think we can do better.

Hey, Michelle Cederberg here, sharing why typical burnout isn’t the same as pandemic burnout, and why that matters.

This is how the World Health Organization defines it:

“Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
  • reduced professional efficacy.

Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.

There’s two points I want to make about this.

Firstly, “chronic workplace stress that hasn’t been successfully managed”, suggests that the individual has to shoulder the burnout-blame, despite the fact that the pandemic heaped a whole pile of unwanted stress on our laps and said, “Here, deal with this.

Which brings me to my second point. The WHO definition specifies burnout as work-related and that it shouldn’t be applied to other areas of life. Yet, at the start of the pandemic, the world essentially moved their offices home, or risked their health and lives providing healthcare and essential services… or lost work altogether.

Add to that steep, stressful learning curves adjusting to unprecedented change at home, work and our communities. We homeschooled our children, worried about our aging parents, suffered social isolation, and simple tasks like buying groceries felt stressful. In some cases, we even grieved the loss of loved ones. It’s been A LOT.

Like regular burnout, pandemic burnout brings about feelings of depression, isolation, and anxiety, but during the pandemic, we came to accept that maybe they were just part of the pandemic deal, so we toughed it out, and perhaps didn’t do anything about it. We normalized our stress. Now, we’re carrying that heaviness into our post-pandemic lives.

It’s fair to say that pandemic burnout is unique and different, so, we should address it differently.

Here are three steps to help you reduce pandemic burnout.


If you’re burnt out, you’ll experience physical, mental and emotional fatigue, and each will require different modes of self-care.

Ask yourself, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how am I doing physically? How about emotionally, and mentally? You can even rate how you’re feeling socially or spiritually. It’s all energy that matters.

Then decide what will help you replenish in each of those areas.

If you’re feeling physically drained, maybe you need to prioritize a bit of low-level movement and fresh air, or a nap (yes, naps at work are okay). If you’re feeling emotionally drained, maybe you need to reach out to a friend or your coach or counsellor? If you’re feeling socially drained, maybe you need to give yourself permission to forgo a planned gathering or cancel a visit with a friend?

As you ponder, “What do I need for myself to feel better?” take that information to heart and implement some fierce acts of self-care.


In fact, as you pay attention to what your mind and body need, make a list. When I start to feel the strain of stress, I know I need to prioritize three things: quality sleep, regular movement, and I need to practice saying NO to low-importance tasks and meetings that clog up my schedule. I have other things on my list like dog walks, time with friends, and quiet nights at home doing nothing. And when I’m feeling drained, they’re all important.

What are those things for you? Write them down and unselfishly prioritize your self-care… because you can’t pour from a vessel that is drained.


Finally, take a close look at your schedule and determine what needs to go. Re-schedule any meeting that can wait. Delegate projects that don’t need your full attention. Say NO to that extra-curricular project or after work event. Or push your YES to a later date. Free up space in your day, so you can breathe and refocus.

Give yourself a week or two to focus on just the necessaries and yourself, then see how you feel. If not you, then who?

More on stress and burnout coming up in the next video.

In the meantime, join me on Instagram or subscribe to my YouTube so you know when each new video drops!

And if you’d like to bring me to your organization to talk about this topic or any others related to stress management, resilience and post-pandemic success, pop me an email at hello@michellecederberg.com. I’d love to chat.

Until next time I’m Michelle Cederberg reminding you we’ve got one chance to do this life, I say Dare to Live It Big, and if burnout is creeping in, dare to engage in fierce acts of self-care.

Resources Galore!

♥ Does your workplace need a good dose of Post-Pandemic Burnout Prevention? Ask me about my half and full day Success-Energy Rest sessions to help you regain focus and recharge your health and productivity in this new world of work. Contact me to chat.

♥ Buy my new book via my website and I’ll send you a signed copy!

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Michelle Cederberg, CSP, MKin, BA Psyc


Empowering today’s dreamers, leaders and go-getters to create the life and career they want.


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