“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” ~ Lou Holtz

Stress is an inevitable part of life, but it’s not meant to be so heavy that we get crushed under the weight of it. When that happens you’ve likely allowed chronic stress to turn to burnout, and that’s not a good thing.

When you can recognize the signs of stress and burnout, you can better equip yourself to properly carry the load, and a lot of that comes down to rest and recovery.

As I continue my exploration of stress and burnout, this week I’m highlighting the differences between the two, and sharing four ways to mitigate workday stress. Watch the video below, or read the transcript that follows.

Hey, Michelle Cederberg here, keeping it somewhat short and sweet this week as I explain the difference between stress and burnout.

Some people use the terms interchangeably, and while they operate on the same spectrum there are some notable differences.

Stress increases when our mental, physical or emotional reserves are strained beyond our comfort level. This can happen when you’re pushing to meet a challenging deadline, or when you’re doing something positive like pushing through a challenging workout. Stress like this that’s temporary or tied to a particular event is a normal part of life that we all experience now and again.

Burnout, on the other hand occurs following extreme exposure to stress and leaves you mentally and physically drained, cynical, detached and less effective as a result.

Let’s explore the differences:

STRESS                                                                         BURNOUT

Over-reactive and irritable                                      Disengaged and numb
Worried and anxious                                                Apathetic and cynical
Frantically trying to fix things                                   Discouraged and unmotivated
Edgy, amped, wired & tired                                     Physically & mentally exhausted
Mind racing                                                                 Brain fog, decreased cognitive function
Insomnia or waking up too early                             Excessive sleep, waking up not refreshed


With burnout the predominant state is lack of energy, motivation and purpose, and feeling like it won’t change.

Burnout is a big, bad deal, and as I mentioned in video 1 of this series, 35% of Canadian workers are experiencing it.

To mitigate stress, and keep burnout at bay, recognize these signs. If you start to notice them creeping in, don’t ignore them…and implement one or more of these ideas:

Take time off if you can, to rest, refocus and recover. I know that’s not always possible, but if you can, do it! And if you can’t take time off, then at least take your breaks!

Ask for help. Please ask for help. You’re not alone in this, and there are people in your life who want to help you, whether you realize it or not. So do the courageous act of asking for help. If you don’t know who to ask, reach out to me, and I will have a conversation with you.

Find time to DO, just for YOU! Even if you feel too busy to stop, give yourself small doses of ME time. Focus on hobbies and interests that make you feel good; a funny show, some good music, a page-turning book, a hot bath… anything that’s going to nurture in a healthy way and to help you feel better.

Look for ways to make your work more meaningful. You may not be able to overhaul your whole job but focus on the small things you can change. It can never hurt to ask. Talk with your boss about projects that excite you, and remind them where your strengths lie. It can’t hurt to ask, because if you’re happier and engaged, everyone wins!

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 dare to do FOR YOU when burnout is bearing down.

Don’t forget to join me on Instagram or subscribe to my YouTube so you don’t miss a video!

And if you’d like to bring me in 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.

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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