This vol was sent to subscribers on June 27th. Want the newsletter sent to your inbox? Sign up here —> Human Behavior <> Marketing

Hey ya’ll, 
I started reading up on burnout last December, and what I learned then has helped me navigate and regulate through–well…2020. So, I thought I’d share this study with you, and hopefully, it’ll help you create balance for the 2nd of half of 2020 and whatever it brings. 

The Study:

Narratives of Burnout and Recovery from an Agency Perspective: A Two-year Longitudinal Study 

The Hypothesis:

Once burnout occurs, how do you recover? And how do you prevent it from happening?

The Method:

The study was conducted in Finland. They studied four people who were currently in rehab for burnout. They did two interviews and a questionnaire over the course of two years.

Rehab is 70 hours- 11 hours of individual therapy and tests and 59 hours of group exercise, nutrition, and group therapy. The scientists wanted to see what aspects led to an individual’s recovery. 

The Results: 

While people usually attribute burnout only to job stress, the study found that it’s most likely from a storm of events that happen all at once; job stress, divorce, sick family member, etc. In one of the participants, burnout seemed to happen overnight. But healing and recovery from burnout is possible when the participants changed parts of their lives.

Human Behavior < > Marketing

While there isn’t a marketing takeaway per se, this study has some good info we can all use. 

Like most conditions, burnout has symptoms. 
1. Exhaustion
In laymen’s terms exhaustion is the kind of tired you don’t recover from after a few nights of good sleep, or a weekend chilling on the couch. Exhaustion becomes a mental state, not just a physical experience. 

2. Cynicism
I wrote about the impact of cynicism in my first newsletter, but it’s important to note that if you find yourself constantly seeing the negative in things, you may be showing signs of burnout. 

3. Reduced Professional Efficacy
This means that your job performance is suffering. You’re making small mistakes or forgetting things you normally wouldn’t forget. 

The four participants found themselves in complete burnout and in rehab because they “couldn’t manage it anymore” and they “weren’t able to cope”.
 Noticing these symptoms in yourself early-on is a good way to help prevent burnout. 

As much as we like to compartmentalize our lives, our bodies, our thoughts- it’s impossible to do so. An unsupportive and stressful work environment will impact your home and personal life and vice versa. 

How Do You Heal From Burnout?

The participants in this study were all a part of a rehabilitation program, but most of them didn’t attribute the rehab to what helped them the most. Everyone’s path to recovery is different, but there are common themes:


The rehab served as a time out. A time to reflect on their own needs, and learn how to meet them best. This could be accomplished in multiple ways including therapy, a long vacation, or in 2020, a social media unplug for an extended period of time.

2. Supportive supervisor 

One of the participants had a supervisor and work situation that was very supportive of her recovery. The other three had to quit or retire from their positions. Work is incredibly important to our mental health. If you are in a toxic work environment and trying to recover from burnout, your health must take priority, and you likely won’t heal in that environment. 

3. A mindset shift in how they approach work.

One participant said that before her burnout episode, she would see tasks that didn’t get completed and stacks of papers that needed to be worked on, and she would see failure. She thought she didn’t succeed that day because there were still things left to do. After her burnout, she focused on the things she did accomplish. And was comfortable with letting the work sit there until the next workday. 

I hope this newsletter finds you well. But if you’re not well, and today’s newsletter hit a little too close to home, I hope you can take the steps to heal. As someone who has had to recover from another physical manifestation of burnout (adrenal fatigue) the road to recovery is one that will require you to look at your life differently, but it’s so worth the healing.