Ask SheCanCode Anything: “I think I’m burning out”

Ask SheCanCode Anything think I am burning out


This week, we’re talking about burnout - from recognising the signs to approaching your manager.

o help us answer tackle this is career coach, Natalie Trice.

Natalie Trice, Career Coach for PR professionals, PR Mentor and Trainer for Small Business Owners, and a Guest Lecturer for UK Universities.

Natalie is a Career Coach for PR professionals, PR Mentor and Trainer for Small Business Owners, and a Guest Lecturer for UK Universities.  

Before adding ICF accredited training to her portfolio of first class services, Natalie has worked for some of the biggest global brands, most dynamic UK businesses, and some pretty exceptional entrepreneurs.  

For 23 years MS&L, Cartoon Network, CNN, Discovery Channel, Epson, Animal Planet, Earthwatch, Betty Crocker, TM Lewin, Sense, and the Talented Ladies Club were just some of the brands Natalie had the privilege to work with and represent, and she loved her work. 

From Tom and Jerry launches on Red Square, to James Cameron premieres in Amsterdam, and touring Europe with a team of animators and hanging out at media parts across the world with some amazing contacts, Natalie’s been there, done that, got the t-shirts, as well as the awards and the coverage.  

Natalie Trice LOGO



Hi SheCanCode,

Help – I think I’m burning out! 

2023 has not got off to a great start for me. I came back from our annual Christmas leave, tired and feeling incredibly overwhelmed. At first I put this down to the January blues and just generally getting back into the swing of things.

But I feel like it’s just getting worse. I feel so exhausted all the time and I have a general lack of motivation, with both work and home life. I can’t focus on anything – my attention span is all over the place. I’m also finding simple tasks a struggle, like brushing my teeth or getting to the gym.

How can I tell if I’m burnt out or just really stressed? And if it is burnout how can I approach my manager with this?

Weary Woman


Thank you so much for contacting us and for sharing what I am sure is a difficult situation to navigate, especially if you are doing this alone.

It sounds as if you have given yourself time to see if this January blues but are self-aware enough to recognise that the fog isn’t lifting and that there could be more to this than simply feeling a bit off.

Burnout is a very real issue and while people talked about it before the pandemic, it’s something that more and more clients are coming to me about and an issue that we see in the press a lot because it is alive and kicking.

If you can, it would be a good idea to have an honest conversation with a family member or friend you trust as this could help you feel more alone. You never know, they might have noticed that you are quieter than normal and could be worried about you, so opening up may not be a surprise but could be the release you need to get back on your feet.

You might also want to book in and see your GP. Yes, it might be burnout, but you also mention that you are exhausted all the time and find even the simplest task tough, so they may well want to do some blood tests and it’s always worth making sure all avenues are checked. I am not sure of your age but as women approach perimenopause they can also feel tried, have a lack of focus and suffer with low mood, so this is another reason to speak to your doctor.

Once you have done this you will have a better idea of what is happening and what actions can be put into place to start feeling brighter, stronger and more energised, but this will take time so be kind to yourself. Setting time aside for rest is key to recovery – and this doesn’t mean sitting on the sofa scrolling! A gentle walk in the fresh air, meeting friends for a smoothie and catch up, journaling, meditating and even just sitting somewhere quiet and reflecting or reading a good book can all help you to relax and reset, but it takes time so don’t think one walk will sort it all out. If you don’t want to go to the gym, don’t beat yourself up about it but instead think about what you do enjoy, maybe yoga or swimming, and use that to get those feel-good endorphins back into your body.

The Calm app is a brilliant way to start to meditate, Psychologies magazine is a great resource packed with advice and expert content and you might find Dr Julie Smith’s book, Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?, and her Instagram helpful. Don’t underestimate the power of sleep, good food and plenty of water, they aren’t going to fix things and I don’t want to diminish your situation, but all of us can be so busy looking after everyone else and worrying about what might happen, that we forget to look after ourselves.

With regards to work, if you need a few days off sick, this wouldn’t be the end of the world and it might be that your GP suggests this. I would look at what your work schedule looks like and where you can get any support. Maybe there is an under-utilised admin assistant who could help with some of your workload, or you could work from home a couple of days a week to take away the commuting pressure.

If you feel like you can talk to your boss, or HR, then I would hope that they would be understanding and appreciate your honesty and courage to speak up. Work isn’t there to make life harder and I am sure you have given a lot to your career in the past, so if you need time to step back, reduce your hours or even consider a less stressful role, that’s something to consider.

I wish you luck and urge you to seek the help you need at a time when things feel hard so that you can get back to feeling good about life, work and yourself.




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