Best Guided Meditations for Burnout, Anxiety, and Overwhelm - man sitting cross legged on ground meditating

Best Guided Meditations for Burnout, Anxiety, and Overwhelm

Kristen Peairs
July 27, 2022
October 9, 2022

This blog post was written by Kristen Peairs, Nutritionist and Meditation Guru at Nivati. You can see more of their content on the Nivati platform and on the Nivati blog. If you want to learn more about Nivati, click here

Rapid heartbeat, jittery nerves, and restlessness accompanied by feelings of fear and worry are all signs of anxiety. For some people, the symptoms of anxiety ebb and flow within the regular rhythm of life, while for others, the symptoms persist into overwhelm and make it challenging to focus on anything beyond the mental and physical nature of the symptoms. When symptoms persist into long-term overwhelm, burnout is usually the result.

I’ve been in that place of anxiety and overwhelm. Worrying about too much to do and not having enough time to do it all in tends to put me right into the danger zone for symptoms. Over the years, I’ve had to learn and practice new strategies to keep myself feeling like a compassionate human rather than a stressed-out bundle of nerves. One of my favorite strategies is meditation.

Statistics estimate that approximately 31.1% of adults in the US will deal with at least one anxiety disorder in their lifetime. That’s nearly one-third of the population! According to the Mayo clinic, medication and therapy are the most common treatments for anxiety. While effective, both options typically require financial investment and scheduled appointments to access the benefits. That gap in time can leave people feeling stuck and unsupported.

Unfortunately, many strategies to beat anxiety and overwhelm depend upon resources that are not readily available when needed. That’s why we are going to talk about meditation.

Meditation is self-regulated. It neither requires a prescription nor a financial investment to learn, practice, and enjoy results. Meditation only requires a desire to have a different experience and the willingness to practice.

Today, we will focus on meditation for anxiety, meditation for feeling overwhelmed, and meditation for burnout. All of these conditions—anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout—tend to be rooted in overstimulation that has created a pattern of elevation and upset in the mind and body. Meditation helps interrupt the pattern so internal change can happen. Practicing meditation makes it possible to experience peace, ease, relaxation, and focus even when chaos occurs in the external environment.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to feel at ease and peaceful amid life’s mayhem?

Let’s look at some different types of meditation that can help stop the cycle of anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout. We’ll also talk about the characteristics that make each meditation particularly effective.

Please note that all the recommended meditations are merely suggestions of what might be helpful. Meditation is a very diverse field of experiential learning, so don’t be afraid to keep experimenting with new meditations until you find your favorites.

Anxiety, Overwhelm, and Meditation

Anxiety and overwhelm both share symptoms of racing heart and inability to focus on tasks. The feelings that go with these symptoms include an abundance of fear, worry, and guilt.

We can know that anxiety and overwhelm are an experience created by the brain and body in response to pieces of life they regard as stressful, yet, anxiety and overwhelm can feel all-consuming.

To shift the situation from within, one action you can immediately take to feel relief is to direct your attention toward your breath.

When you choose to direct your attention to your breath and tune into the simple sound of your inhale and exhale, you’ll begin releasing your focus away from the thoughts, feelings, and physical symptoms contributing to the anxiety and overwhelm.

Interrupting the physiological cycle of thought, to feeling, to physical symptoms, and back to mind by focusing on your breath can change your whole experience.

The key is to focus on something tangible and dependable in your body. Your breath is a good option because it is always there. It comes and goes on its own without direction from you.

Related: Breathing Exercises for Workplace Stress Relief

Meditation for Feeling Overwhelmed or Anxious

A meditation for returning to calm amidst overwhelm and anxiety can be as simple as the following:

Best Guided Meditations for Burnout, Anxiety, and Overwhelm - man sitting cross legged on ground meditating
  1. Place your hand on your belly and inhale for a slow count of four.
  3. Feel your belly expand as the air comes in.
  5. Pause your breathing for a slow count of four.
  7. Exhale for a slow count of eight.
  9. Feel your belly flatten as the air releases.
  11. Continue repeating the process for at least 2-3 minutes.

This type of meditation can be done anywhere and at any time. For the most benefits, choose to practice at least once a day.

If you’d like a guided meditation to help release feeling overwhelmed with work and daily tasks, try this “I’ve Done Enough” meditation.

Meditation and Burnout

Burnout is a term used to describe a time in life typically preceded by many months or years of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm. Symptoms of burnout include profound fatigue, frequent illness, apathy, headaches, emotional outbursts, and negativity.

When considering how to recover from burnout, it’s important to start with small thoughts and actions that are simple, easy, life-giving, and pleasurable. At this point of burnout, the nervous system has been stressed for a long time, which lends it to higher sensitivity to all of life, so less is more, even when considering meditation.

For me, when I’m feeling burnt out and decide to meditate, I start by closing my eyes and listening to the sounds of my environment. Taking 2-3 minutes to listen to the sounds around me tends to settle my mind. After those first few minutes, I tune into the sound of my breath. Then I listen to see if I can hear my heart beating. After about 5 minutes, I notice that I’m more relaxed, and my body feels better.

Meditations for Burnout

Here is another meditation that can help you cope with anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout.

Listening to Your Environment Meditation

  1. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of your environment for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Then, tune into the sound of your breath for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Finally, listen to see if you can hear your heartbeat for a minute or two.
  7. To close this meditation, gently open and close your hands, slowly open your eyes, and tell yourself, “Good job.”

Ocean Waves Meditation

If you’d like a guided meditation to facilitate your experience, try the Ocean Wave Meditation.

Here are a few articles to check out if you’d like to learn other ways to relieve anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout.


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Kristen Peairs
Kristen Peairs
Kristen Peairs is a Registered Dietitian, Licensed Massage Therapist, and Professional Educator. Throughout her 20-year career, she has worked with many people suffering from a diversity of chronic health conditions. Understanding how food affects the brain and the whole body has been a key factor in the success of her healing strategies. At Nivati, she has researched, written, and filmed over 100 health and wellness videos for their content library. Kristen is currently writing a cookbook for people living with food allergies and intolerances.