Micro Recovery: Sustaining Your Energy Through the Workday

With exhaustion being a defining feature of burnout, the most direct approach to preventing burnout rests on sustaining your energy throughout your workday. The challenge is doing so while maintaining your focus and effectiveness on the work.


Unless you are doing hard physical labor, you are unlikely to encounter physical exhaustion at work. However, there are physical symptoms of exhaustion for office or service work. People vary in how they experience exhaustion due to their type of work or their physical vulnerabilities. There is value in paying attention to determine your early warning signs. They may include:

• Headaches

• Lower back aches

• Shoulder tension

• Sore knees

• Aching feet

• Poor concentration

• Being easily distracted

• Feeling generally irritated

The list goes on.

The value of attending to these cues is using them to prompt a micro recovery sequence. These are small, unobtrusive breaks. They interrupt the cycle of activity and help you to restore your sense of balance.

The central idea with micro recovery is that it takes much less effort to maintain your energy level than to recover from exhaustion. It is a key element to resiliency at work.

What To Do

• Watch Your Breathing

• Stretch Your Neck Muscles

• Get Up and Walk Around

• Drink Some Water

Yes, you’re right: There is nothing fancy here but they all work.

A future post will consider how difficult it is to work these things into your life along with ways to address those very difficulties.

Previous posts in this series:

Preventing Burnout

Preventing Burnout: Monitoring

Preventing Burnout: Pacing

Preventing Burnout: Job Crafting

Preventing Burnout: Community

Preventing Burnout: Core Values Conflicts

What Managers Can Do

More on What Managers Can Do

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