Three Tips For Avoiding Burn-Out

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There were a lot of things wrong with working practices in the past. If you watched Mad Men, for example, which is set in the offices of Madison Avenue’s advertising agencies in the 1960s, you’ll have noticed most of the employees divide their time pretty evenly between making sexist remarks, having affairs and drinking at their desk.

One thing they definitely got right in those days, however, was that the working day ended when you left the office. Instead of smartphones there were rotary dial phones that you didn’t feel compelled to look at every few minutes, not least because they looked far too annoying to actually use.

It’s getting harder to step away from the office nowadays, with people working longer hours and the unspoken expectation that you’ll answer emails at any time. Personal trainer Lawrence Price ( knows the demands of today’s always-on culture as well as anyone, because as well as training clients for eight hours a day he has to maintain a social media presence at all hours as part of his professional life.

To highlight the importance of taking a mental break from the internet, Price recently took part in a 24-hour social media blackout as part of a Bupa campaign, an experience he says he enjoyed.

“It was great – incredibly liberating. It allowed me to look at life through my own immediate experience as opposed to through a phone screen. That leads to a mental clarity, devoid of the clutter that can build up if you spend every day with your head buried in a phone screen looking at all the information out there.”

As a personal trainer Price is well acquainted with the value of rest days to allow for physical recovery after tough sessions, but he also believes building in time for mental recovery is just as important. Here are three of his tips for avoiding burn-out.

1. Leave The Smartphone Behind

No matter how resolved you are to take a break from the internet, if you have your smartphone with you the temptation to briefly check in with Twitter or Instagram is likely to be too much. Don’t be afraid to ditch your phone entirely at times.

“On Sundays I’ll turn my phone off, put in a drawer and leave it for the day,” says Price. “I’ll spend time with my friends and family, and generally switch off.

“Not having constant notifications or little reminders that there’s something that can be done is massively useful. It allows me to remain sharp during the working week.”

2. Listen To Your Body And Rest Up When Needed

When you feel tired, try to get an early night. It’s simple advice but something many of us ignore. One good night’s rest can revitalise you physically and mentally, especially at the end of the working week.

“There is always something to do, whether that’s online or offline, and it builds up over the week,” says Price.

“By Friday evening there’s a mental and physical fatigue that should not be ignored. Your body needs the rest. I don’t battle against it when my body says a good night’s sleep is in order. Come Friday I often go to bed early and get my eight hours. I wake up on Saturday feeling refreshed and energised. That allows me to do more of what I want to do more often.”

3. Don’t Look For Short-Term Fixes

Both your mental and physical fitness should be long-term projects, with a focus on staying healthy and happy for many years to come. Rather than going in all guns blazing on a seven-day fitness blast that leaves you physically broken and mentally knackered, view your training within the context of how it will help you maintain good health for decades.

“We live in an age where people are interested in quick fixes,” says Price. “We need to think of active longevity as a primary goal. The recovery and training we do now should result in benefits for many years to come.”

The Bupa UK campaign is highlighting the importance of taking time out to rest, recover and repair. Bupa offer a range of pay-as-you-go products that can also help. Visit for more information

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.