Burnout Symptoms - Nothing I'm Doing Is Working! - Vesna Hrsto

Burnout Symptoms – Nothing I’m Doing Is Working!

Are you plagued by burnout symptoms? Doing all the right things but nothing is working?

I know it's really frustrating. And the thing with this is you start to doubt yourself that you don't have the willpower. It becomes so frustrating you think that it's you, because we're so used to blaming ourselves for things. But it's not you. I want to show you exactly what's going on here.

Maybe you've been told to go Paleo, to fast, to cut out carbohydrates, to do the ketogenic diet, to exercise more, do a cleanse, take more supplements, meditate under a tree in the moonlight: whatever it is, you've probably been told one of those things or a number of those things. There's nothing wrong with those things. It's not that they're bad. It's just that they're not addressing the underlying problem so they're not going to make a difference.

when you address the real problem, the myriad of other problems disappear

When you address the real problem, the myriad of other problems disappear. The reason why we don't get results is that we haven't addressed the real problem. You may be wondering why does this even matter? If you're doing the right things, if you're eating well, sleeping, exercising, etc. why does it even matter if you're not addressing the real problem? The reason is that you won't lose weight, you won't get your spark back, you won't feel happier, you won't get on top of things, because the real problem is the reason you feel the way that you do. So instead of spending lots of time in trialling and testing different things and getting frustrated and taking five years like me, address the real problem.


Burnout was recently recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a medical condition, resulting from chronic stress that has not been successfully managed.

This is the real problem in the simplest way to explain it. Look at these three as dominos of your burnout symptoms…the first domino we have is a root cause.


real cause of fatigue


That stress over time, over six months, 12 months, or  two years, knocks down the second domino causing a breakdown of key systems in the body. Kind of like how a computer crashes, that's what's happening inside our body. We get a system crash, and no longer have full functionality.

When those systems crash, that's when we get our burnout symptoms. The symptoms are the Big 5. This is how, the way you feel today, this is the process that your body has gone through.

The Big 5 burnout symptoms are fatigue, anxiety, weight gain, low mood or depression, and female hormonal problems like PMS or PMT.

Now, these symptoms also look very much like Hashimoto's or low thyroid function, because, as I've shared before (here), adrenal fatigue is very much linked with the thyroid.

Often I will see clients who have Hashimoto's who have had adrenal fatigue for a number of years that hasn't been treated. Then it's kind of like that domino effect. First, the adrenals go down, then the thyroid, then we have more metabolic issues, reproductive issues and more. So the dominoes keep falling until we repair this problem. The root cause is always some form of stress. 80% of our stress is mental and emotional. There's also other stress like environmental stress, toxicity and hormones in our environment, but most of our stress, 80% is mental and emotional. The key systems that break down are our hormones, our gut, and our liver. The hormones are the adrenal hormones, the thyroid hormones, progesterone which is for natural anti-anxiety, a natural anti-depressant, but also insulin is affected causing insulin resistance. Other systems are the gut and liver which are also important for our mood and our metabolism. Our gut is our second brain. If you've got anxiety and depression, it's a big one to look at.

burnout symptoms


The reason why we do the right things and they don't make a difference is that we start at the wrong end. Not because it's our fault, it's because, generally, it's what's been given to us. You know you're tired so you naturally will end up drinking more coffee and maybe having more sugar to pep you up through the day. Having more biscuits or salty foods, whatever it is, to push you along. And if you're anxious or depressed most likely you'll go for wine. A lot of women I see in my practice drink wine at night. A bottle of wine is not uncommon. Or maybe doing things like meditation. There's nothing wrong with that, but again it's not going to address the heart of the problem here. And obviously for weight loss, we get told to basically eat less and exercise more, or cut out major food groups. I call this the magic pill approach. Because when we start at that end, when we start at just addressing the Big 5 symptoms, we've missed the whole point. The tip of the iceberg is our symptoms. And underneath is that big mass. Underneath is our real problem, and we're not addressing it when we try the magic pill approach, as I call it. If the real problem is not addressed, then our diet and exercise and sleep will not make a difference. You can go carb free. You can go to the gym every day. You won't lose the weight, you won't get more energy until these systems and the real problem is repaired. I have women coming to me all the time that are doing the right thing. They say “I don't know why I'm not losing weight.” “I eat really well.” “I exercise.” “I do all the right things.” and they really struggle with the weight. The weight just creeps up, and this is why. When you address the real problem the other problems disappear because your self-healing systems are switched back on.

Our self-healing systems is what actually heals our body. When we follow diet, supplements and exercise and all those things, what we're really doing is removing the blocks to healing, because our body is a self-healing auto-correcting being. For example, when we cut our finger it's not something that we have to actively focus on. When we cut our finger, our body mobilizes the white blood cells, forms a clot, grows new skin. The body does that by itself. The same processes happen within the body, and we're not conscious of it, and we don't control it, and they are our self-healing systems. They detect viruses, bacteria, protein breaks, inflammation, when we've got excessive weight, when our brain chemistry's out of balance; all of that stuff happens with our self-healing systems when they are switched on. Self-healing systems, or our self-healing ability, has been proven to be more effective than medication, so we know through the placebo effect. The placebo effect proves the fact that we have self-healing systems. Recently more and more studies have been done with antidepressants and placebo, and they found that placebo is more effective than antidepressants. That shows you the power of the body to heal itself. The reason being is because your body is so intelligent.

It's more intelligent than any medicine than we can put in the body. It knows exactly what it needs, in what doses, and how to repair itself when our self-healing systems are switched back on our body will auto-correct itself. When we have burnout symptoms those systems are shut down. Our self-healing systems are shut off, so our body gains weight, our body gets more inflammation, our hormones go to out of balance, we get all those symptoms because the body doesn't have the ability to correct itself. When we are relaxed we turn those systems back on. When we heal the real problem, we turn our self-healing systems back on. We want them back on, because self-healing systems protect us from every disease, condition imaginable; it is our body's defence mechanism. I want to give you an example in terms of weight and metabolism. It's a really clear example that when we're stressed, when those systems have broken down, our body will not burn body fat for fuel. Because in order for our body to burn body fat, we need to be relaxed. So when we're stressed and we have adrenal fatigue and those systems are broken down, our body is not using fat for fuel.

burnout symptoms

We want to use fat for fuel, not just for weight loss, but body fat gives us a high amount of energy that lasts all day long. That's where we want to be operating from. But when we're in adrenal fatigue,  our body's is breaking down muscle tissue in order to give us energy. When this happens over time,  our body shape starts to change. We get more cellulite. We lose muscle. Muscle is an indicator of longevity and health. The more muscle that we have, the healthier we will be. When those self-healing systems are shut down, when we're in adrenal fatigue, our body is not using our body fat for fuel, it's using muscle. So it's really changing our metabolism and our body shape. When your systems are back on when you're relaxed, your body needs to be relaxed in order to burn fat, it will burn that body fat, it will generate lots of energy for us to use all day long, and it's a high source of energy.

CASE STUDY – Working mum loses 13kg while eating more than ever

A really good example is my client Lin who was eating pretty well but just couldn't lose weight. She lost 13 kilos while eating more food, enjoying more food, because her metabolism was repaired, because her adrenals were reset, and her body felt safe to lose the weight.

I have another client is Kylie, who I helped eased 22 years of anxiety. She just figured she was a really high-stress person. She'd felt anxious since she was in her early adulthood, but she had adrenal fatigue. Addressing that, resetting her adrenals, she was able to feel more on top of things. She was a busy mom, busy studio director, so this was super key for her and gave her some breathing space. She was able to take a day off. She was able to have time for herself. I know for a lot of women the biggest reason they tell me that they can't do things is that they're time poor. And I totally get it; we're busy women. But everything that I'm showing you here is for busy women. It's designed to naturally weave into a busy day. It's not about adding more stress to your plate. We're trying to remove the stress.

Address the real problem and you save time, money and frustration in trialling and testing and you will also activate your self-healing systems, and that's what we want. Do you feel lethargic often? Like you really have to push yourself through the day? Maybe you might wake up and you feel achy and sore. There's muscle tension. I have clients say to me they feel like they're 100 years old when they wake up. Maybe you go through the day feeling like you haven't had enough sleep. There's always that feeling of fatigue that you have to push through. And you come home, maybe you just want to collapse on the couch, but you can't; you've got other things to do. So you're just kind of dragging yourself through the day. But intermittently having these periods of rush and urgency and overwhelm and anxiety. You kind of know there are things to do, but there's that element of the urgency behind it. So you're feeling rushed. Maybe you're flustered, overwhelmed. Maybe your mental to-do list is waking you up in the morning and getting you going, and you're kind of waking up in a rush.

You're kind of waking up kind of feeling like you're behind the eight ball already. And maybe you notice the negative thinking. Maybe you notice you're not so optimistic as you used to be. Instead of seeing the glass half full, you see it half empty when it's not like you; you're normally a positive person, but at the moment you're filled with worry – these are all burnout symptoms and all of them are fixable.

Here's some extra reading if you want to learn more about burnout symptoms.

Women Who Hit The Bottom When They Reach The Top

Perfectionism Is Not Your Best

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms: How To Tell If You've Got Them

If you want to find out more about correcting your burnout symptoms, sign up for my next online workshop. 

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