On 27 October, Wingu Wellness hosted a webinar with Dr Serahni Symington, counsellor and and Play Therapist on the subject: “Finding Work/School Life Harmony in an Online World”. This tied in with Mental Health Awareness Month. Topics discussed included burnout, staying active and how to create harmony in an online environment.


“It is quite sneaky.  You don’t always see it coming.  Burnout is an emotional response to life stresses becoming all consuming,” says Dr Symington. According to psychologytoday.com it is defined as a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress. Though it’s most often caused by problems at work, it can also appear in other areas of life, such as parenting and caretaking. Physical and mental exhaustion, a sense of dread about work, and frequent feelings of cynicism, anger, or irritability are key signs of burnout.

How is burnout different to depression?

It is quite easy to experience both at the same time, but burnout often comes with not feeling anything or “numb”, whereas depression is when you constantly feel sad all the time.

Watch out for the following behavioural changes:

  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Changes is eating and sleeping habits
  • Extreme irritability or agitation, and even
  • Psychosomatic or irrational behaviour

Both must be experienced over a prolonged period of between 6 – 12 months to be classified as a disorder or syndrome.

Avoiding burnout

According to Dr Symington, the best way to avoid burnout is by planning.  “The key here is to alleviate feeling overwhelmed through self-regulation.”

Things you can do include:

  • Talking to someone you trust
  • Reframe the way you look at your responsibilities
  • Reevaluate your priorities
  • Make time to exercise

Being physically active in an online world

“It is so important to be intentional about being physically active as it affects both your emotional and physical well-being. Our bodies need the active sensory input. This doesn’t mean you always have to sweat it off in the gym, but it does require working it into your daily schedule. Even if it’s just taking a break from your desk and taking a stroll in the garden,” says Dr Symington.

 Finding harmony

“To me that simply means finding a space where things work that incorporates you feeling happy, motivated and content.  This means that you look at your responsibilities as an extension of you where you shift the narrative to a positive outlook.”

“Pride, joy and loyalty are the 3 best emotions, for teenagers especially, to strive towards.  It’s about enjoying the moment in the here and now,” Dr Symington concludes.

Wingu Wellness Hub

Wingu’s Wellness Hub has many resources and skilled professionals that can assist in these and other mental health issues. Also, be on the lookout for webinars hosted in months to come by Wingu Wellness to address relevant matters.

“At Wingu Academy our learners are so dedicate and hard-working, but it’s just as important to work on your mental health well-being, not just for our learners, but for our parents as well and we are here to serve you in any capacity possible,” says Ian Strydom – Managing Director of Wingu Academy.