Hands in a heart shape holding an infinity rainbox. Underneath the words Sandra Bell ND Coach
#20 ND Burnout

·        What is ND burnout?

·        How do you know if you or someone else is in ND burnout? 

·        What can you do to get out of ND burnout?

What is ND burnout?


ND Burnout is when you get to the point where you are physically and mentally exhausted just doing the day-to-day things of your life. There are nuances to ND burnout based on whether it is coming from being autistic or ADHD or some other aspect of being part of the neurominority. But all ND burnout is characterised by both physical and mental exhaustion – that feeling of wading through mud and a head full of cotton wool, along with a reduced ability to cope with stress and life in general. ND burnout happens because the demands of living in a world set up for the neuromajority slowly wears down those in the neurominority until they have nothing left. And yes, anyone can experience burnout, but that is because they are taking on too much, whereas ND burnout can happen when you are just doing a “normal” load in an environment that isn’t set up to support your neurotype.

How do you know if you or someone else is in ND burnout?


When you are ND it is important to have a system – be it ongoing self-monitoring or a support system to help you know if you are in ND Burnout. From the inside it can be hard to tell when you have reached burnout. That’s why it is important to set up an easy-to-use system to monitor how your signs of burnout are going, which could include having a trusted loved one – friend, partner, parent – who gently points out when they see the signs.

So what are the signs? They can be different for everyone so it is good to think about what yours are ahead of time, but some common signs to look out for are:

o   you’re generally more irritable

o   self care drops off or feels like it takes more effort than before

o   your senses are becoming overwhelmed more easily than usual – everyone seems to be talking too loud or making too much noise all the time, you have stronger emotional reactions to smells you don’t like, etc…

o   you can’t see the purpose in what you do anymore – be it work, or study or caring for others

o   you wonder if the world would be better off without you.

What can you do to get out of ND burnout?


The most important thing you can do is to reduce demands, the more you can reduce the better.

Focus on changing your environment, as that is what has led to your burnout. Nope, you don’t need CBT or it’s ilk to change your thoughts. No self-gaslighting needed here. It’s the environment you’ve been existing within that is wearing you down. You don’t need to change you, you need to alter your environment.

Is there any way you can reduce your work/study or care load? Can you take a leave of absence or defer your studies? If you can’t reduce this aspect of your life, what about day-to-day things like food prep, can others take some of this load? It’s OK to cocoon when you can and say no to friends and family when they want to catch up. Now is the time to do more of what helps you decompress, maybe it’s listening to a favourite song on repeat, re-watching a favourite movie or TV series, doing puzzles, spending time in nature, or spending a day in bed. What helps you decompress? Is there a way to do more of these for a while?

 #NDburnout #ADHDburnout #autisticburnout


What are your signs you are heading towards ND burnout? What helps you decompress? 

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Please note all information and strategies shared as part of the blog are for information and educational purposes only and do not constitute advice for any particular individual or circumstances.