"I avoided burnout by being really boring - wearing same outfit every day and eating from paper plates"

3 months ago
A burnout coach has revealed how she avoided burnout by "being really boring" - by wearing the same outfit every day and eating meals with paper plates.

Gabriela Flax, 28, suffered from burnout after beginning to lose interest in her "dream" product management job.

After recovering from her burnout a "lack of resources and practical help" within the industry led Gabriela to become a burnout coach.

Burnout is a state of chronic overwhelm accumulated over time.

A combination of self-inflicted pressure in a stressful workplace and feeling the need to always say yes left Gabriela suffering from migraines, panic attacks and constant exhaustion.

She says her burnout even made her feel like she didn't deserve downtime - and she would refuse to nap or allow herself to watch TV as it "wasn't productive."

While navigating her burnout, Gabriela came up with the 'boring list' - full of ways to simplify every day activities to reduce the early symptoms of burnout and gain some energy back.

This included having a clean basket as well as a dirty basket for laundry and creating a 'focus mode' on her phone to only see important notifications.

She also added a favourite dish to her Deliveroo app for ease and bought three sets of an outfit she felt comfortable in - to take away the pressure of having to choose what to wear.

Now working as a full-time burnout coach, Gabriela helps others overcome their burnout by using the list alongside other methods - inlcuding NLP - a way of changing somsones thoughts and behavuoirs to acheive a desired outcome.

Gabriela, originally from Baltimore, Maryland, US, but now living in Marylebone, London, said: "The boring list is for people who have just acknowledged burnout - it's a mental reprieve.

"It's going to be tough but it's about focusing on small changes that can be made to your daily life.

"It's not a cure to burnout, but these are things you can do in the early stages to let some steam out.

"It allows someone to win back bite-size pieces of energy and put it into their reserves.

"If you are in a position to have a meal delivered and you can remove the stress and time pressure you are experiencing through decision fatigue then let's just remove that entire experience."

At the top of Gabriela's 'boring list' is having a clean basket as well as a dirty laundry basket.

She said: "Everyone has a dirty wash basket but we don't often have a clean basket.

"Most of us have a clean chair, but anything that creates chaos through mess makes us feel worse.

"The clean basket allows you to keep the space tidy but if you don't want to open your closet because of decision fatigue - don't bother with it, go to the clean basket, you know it's clean. No decision needed."

Gabriela also recommends anyone suffering from decision fatigue invests in multiple sets of the same outfit.

"It's something you want to feel comfortable in and something you feel good in", she said.