How can I avoid burnout and handle stress better?

MBB stress Worklife
Anonymous A asked on Feb 23, 2019

I recently started at MBB a couple of months ago, and I find it extremely stressful. Although stress is mainly internally generated, due to the fact that I am still trying to adjust to the pace of work and to catch up to more tenured colleagues, I can feel the external pressure and expectations to meet if I am to move forward. There hasn't been a day that I have had my mind off work completely. Even on the weekends when I am supposedly not expected to work (which I have worked quite a few of them), the dread of it is on my mind all the time. The pressure is so much that it is affecting the quality of the work that I do and/or my interactions with seniors and clients... To the extent that I am sure if I do not learn how to get out of this kind of mindset, I will get up-or-outed. Any tips that might help me to have that click or "A-Ha! moment" in mindset would be overly appreciated.

on Feb 25, 2019
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on Feb 25, 2019
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Hi Anonymous,

this is a great question, and doesn’t apply just to the stressful consulting lifestyle. I personally experimented a lot of stress during my time at BCG, as an entrepreneur when we risked to run out of money and shut down the company, when the relationship with significant others took a downward spiral. Several times I put too much pressure on myself, which resulted in useless stressful situations and strained relationships.

Until I discovered the importance of a morning routine.

Following a morning routine completely changed my life, my vision of what is really important for me and my attitude towards other people. It allowed me to accomplish more and decrease consistently the level of stress I was feeling. It taught me how to wake up early regularly, feel in great shape and understand what I really wanted to achieve in my life. And this is something you can do even if you have a very limited amount of time in the morning.

A good book on the topic is The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, which includes a description of all the key steps for a great morning routine. If you feel stressed, I strongly recommend you read it and start to apply it. It is really key that you do this regularly though – even if you can dedicate just a few minutes every day (the book also explains how to do a morning routine in 6 minutes).

Some of the most important things you can include in your morning routine are the following:

  • Write a diary
  • Meditate
  • Experiment gratitude
  • Visualize your goals
  • Exercise

If you start performing a regular morning routine, I can guarantee you will not only release stress but understand a lot better who you are and what is your true goal and meaning in this world.

Hope this helps,


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That' s absolutely normal for the first weeks / months.

  • The best advice I can give - sleep as much as possible.
  • Recharge on the weekends - anything related to nature - hiking, etc

But my biggest A-ha moment was when I started to love people around me. You should change your mindset and understand that people are really good by nature and they all want to optimize their lives. It is systems and situations that are driving people to make good or bad decisions. But people themselves are great. And the best you can do is to help the people around you doing the job better. Switch the focus to "Giving" and your perception will change!


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Many of us struggle with this at one point or another, so what you are going through is normal. Francesco & Vlad already offered a good list of options / solution.

I want to second the meditation one in particular. It doesn't have to be religious at all (though that is ok if you are so inclined). I have tried it personally but just couldn't stick with it. Many many people around me or people I respect & follow absolutely swear by it however.

For myself, the solution has historically been to really differentiate between what I can and cannot control. I will worry about what I can control, and basically just accept what I cannot. This seems to help me quite a bit. The problem isn't that your work is stressful, or that there's a lot of it - the problem is that you are not protecting yourself and start taking personally things that just aren't in your control. Take a step back.

PS: It's just a job. Do your best, because this is who you are as a person - but the job... there'll be another one after this one.

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Francesco gave the best answer


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