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How Can Using Your Strengths Combat Burnout?

Written by: Trudy Bateman, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Stress is something that everyone experiences, as a natural reaction to pressure or feeling threatened. It usually happens when we’re in a situation that we feel we cannot manage or control. Whilst a little stress can sometimes help us, too much can lead to burnout and impact our well-being.

A person hand holds a burning, human head shaped, paper sheet on a crowded street.

What is burnout?

Burnout occurs at the point of physical and mental exhaustion. It is far more than feeling a little stressed, as it generally happens over a prolonged period. This could be the result of a drastically increased workload or being unable to take a break away from a constant source of stress.

Burnout is commonly talked about as an issue in the workplace, but it can occur in our social and home life too.

Signs of burnout

Burnout can present itself in different ways, some people may experience a whole range of symptoms, whilst others may have only a few. Some of the most well-recognised signs of burnout include:

  • Feeling helpless or defeated

  • Feeling drained most of the time (no matter how much sleep you get)

  • Frequent headaches

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Taking longer to get even small tasks done

How to recover from burnout using strengths

Using our draining Learned Behaviours regularly can add to burnout as these are tasks or activities which we are good at but don’t enjoy. Unfortunately, we often mistake these for our strengths, so we keep doing them. We also want to keep getting recognised for a good job so we may not want to give these activities up, especially if our colleagues rely on us for these Learned Behaviours.

Likewise, if we are trying too often to overcome our Weaknesses, we will experience a lack of achievement and energy, bringing on further burnout.

Taking a strengths-based approach to everyday tasks can help to combat burnout, especially when you call on a range of your Realised and Unrealised Strengths to help you achieve them. Start by mapping out your Unrealised Strengths (the things you love but don’t do often) to the tasks you don’t enjoy. This will help you to approach them differently and with renewed energy.

When we are stressed, we tend to focus on what’s going wrong, rather than what’s going right. Strengths can help us to reframe our perspective. Try reflecting on the positive things you’ve achieved this week. Think about what made you feel good, or what sparked joy, and consider which strengths you used.

Try using these strengths more in everyday life to bring back some of your energy. The more we use our strengths, the more we will benefit from their impact leading to greater self-esteem and goal achievement. What have you put off due to lack of energy that you would love to start doing again or try for the first time? Discover those Unrealised Strengths waiting to be unlocked.

Jot down your strengths use over the week. Perhaps you organised a meal out with friends, a business meeting that was successful. Think about how this made you feel and think about ways you can draw on that strength again.

By understanding our strengths and putting them to use in our everyday lives, we will be able to increase our outputs, whilst having more energy and enjoyment getting things done.

If you’d like to learn more about your own strengths and how to apply them, take a look at our Introductory and Expert Profiles.

You can also find out more about how we’ve helped individuals, organisations, and coaches to take a strengths-based approach to their own everyday tasks and development.

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Trudy Bateman, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Trudy Bateman is an expert in strengths and their applications. As Director of Strengths Profile, Trudy works with coaches, organizations, and universities to help them understand the strengths of their people, so they can develop them – ensuring not just a successful career, but one they love. Having led the team responsible for the implementation of successful product strategy and delivery of strengths-based assessments for over 13 years, Trudy has delivered thousands of strengths solutions through coaching, facilitating, and consulting, including the accreditation of over 3,000 Strengths Profile practitioners. She is a key speaker, author of The Strengths Profile Book, and resident expert in strengths.


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