by Cheryl Pope


Noisy hard drive. Too many applications or windows open. Corrupted files. The spinning hourglass or the dreaded blue screen of death. Anyone who has used a computer has likely experienced one of these warning signs that the computer is in danger of crashing.

The good news is that most of the time, the solution is simple. Closing some windows or rebooting the system can immediately increase performance.

But what about the most complex machine operated by everyone daily, the human body? Just like a computer, our bodies can get overloaded and crash. Being aware of the warning signs and taking proactive measures to beat burnout is more important now than ever.

Stress is the main cause of burnout and is a normal human reaction that happens to everyone. Much like machines, the human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. This can take both physical and mental forms when faced with change or challenges.


“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

                                                                                                                                             – Anne Lamott


The real problem occurs when the stress becomes excessive. The continued use of the body’s stress responses causes wear and tear on the body and can result in physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms. Like a computer needing to reboot, the human body needs time to rest and recover. Without that much-needed break, people can become short in their responses, thus impacting relationships or, even worse, face physical injury.

Harvard Business School did a study to see if the habits of winning athletes could be applied to a business setting. They found that the answer is yes!

Top athletes excel because they understand the importance of rest and recovery after a period of exertion, a.k.a. stress. Doing the same thing over and over will not produce any improvements, and too much stress increases the risk of overtraining, exhaustion and backsliding.

For athletes, recovery is relaxing the body and the mind. This lesson can be applied to anything that’s challenging, including work.


To be successful, today’s workers need to focus on industry and job-related skills and overall well-being. Here are some quick and easy tips for improving your overall mental and physical well-being:

  • Strategically schedule breaks during the day
  • Step away from the work for a few minutes
  • Call a friend
  • Dance
  • Watch a short video
  • Laugh
  • Build time into the day to account for the unexpected
  • Get up and move by doing stretches or taking a walk
  • Pay it forward by doing something nice for someone else
  • Drink water
  • Create a gratitude journal and list things to be grateful for
  • Tell someone else what you are grateful for about them
  • Breathe
  • Use an app such as Calm or Happify to practice mindfulness
  • Meditate
  • Use food to fuel your body
  • Think about the meaning behind your work
  • Listen to music
  • Visualize the positive
  • Envision the life you want to create
  • Pay attention to alcohol and substance use
  • Avoid unnecessary stress
  • Analyze and prioritize daily tasks
  • Focus on what can be done instead of what can’t be done
  • Think about things that bring you joy


While these may seem like small or easy actions to take, it requires effort and intention. Become a winning athlete by exercising rest and recovery to avoid burnout and crashing.