Anna Katharina Schaffner Website

I coach you from   exhaustion to vitality

Anna Katharina Schaffner, PhD

Personal and Executive Coaching


01 how exhaustion can hold you back

I coach you from a state of exhaustion towards a state of vitality, in which your energy is focused on what really matters in life. I help you identify and manage your outer and inner stressors, so that you can direct your energies outwards, rather than wasting them in endless internal or futile external battles. You will achieve a work-life balance that allows you truly to thrive and achieve your goals.

Your current state

Do you live to work, rather than work to live? Do you feel stressed, overstretched, tired all the time, at the brink of or in a state of burnout? Do you feel disengaged and demotivated? Do you constantly question yourself and your accomplishments? Does your inner noise keep you from showing up as you would like to, preventing you from achieving your goals? 


Your desired state

My coaching offer is for you if you want to feel in control of your time and energy and achieve a more joyfilled and liveable work-life balance. I show you how to quiet your inner critic and feel more at peace with yourself, and help you truly to understand your strengths and your unique challenges. Together, we develop strategies so that you can stop wasting your energies in inner-psychological battles, or in external ones that get you nowhere. We will explore techniques for directing your focus outwards, towards the people you love and the projects about which you are truly passionate.

Anna K Schaffner.jpg

02 what are the causes of exhaustion and burnout?


The causes of exhaustion and burnout are often complex. We may work in high-pressure or even toxic work environments. We may be stuck in jobs in which we cannot draw on and develop our strengths. We may, for example, be introverts by temperament and forced constantly to small talk and socialize. We may find it difficult to uphold the boundaries between work, leisure and family time, and have unlearned how to care well for ourselves. 


We may also feel the pressure of the Protestant work ethic that still defines our culture’s basic attitude to work – that is, the constant imperative to perform and be productive and give our all, and more, to our job. Last but not least, there is also the impact of the wider cultural climate, and the many deeply concerning challenges we face in the twenty-first century – above all climate change, but also loneliness, tech addiction, political polarization and rapid economic and political change. Ours are difficult times, marked by great uncertainty.


Exhaustion can also be caused by inner factors. They include inner noise, unkind self-talk, a lack of self-compassion and a predilection to view ourselves overly critical. In some cases, we may waste many of our energies in endlessly looping internal battles and be our own worst enemy –  the tiger to our gazelle. 


03 my blog


Want to see all of my blogs and journalism?


04 why work with me?

I am not just a coach but also a writer and a researcher. I am the author of two internationally acclaimed books, Exhaustion: A History (Columbia University Press, 2016) and The Art of Self-Improvement: Ten Timeless Truths (Yale University Press, 2021). I have also written a novel, various academic works and journalism, and I am editor-in-chief of the Emerge website.


My writing has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian, Psychology Today, PositivePsychology, AEON and PSYCHE. My research has been discussed in national and international media, including by BBC Radio 4 and WBUR, as well as in Vogue, the Atlantic, National Geographic, Philosophie Magazine, the TLS, de Volkskrant and New Republic.


I have always been interested in psychology and the art of self-improvement. I have a range of coaching qualifications (including in ACT, Co-Active Coaching and mBIT). In my coaching practice, I combine state-of-the-art and science-based coaching techniques with tried-and-tested ancient wisdom. While I always adapt my tools and methods to your unique needs, my general focus is the importance of deepening self-knowledge, as well as work on values and character strengths. I also integrate ancient Stoic techniques, with a focus on the circle of control, and on the art of letting go. For new is not always better. Sometimes, it is the ancient models that hold the key to our most urgent present-day problems.


Most importantly, I would love to be the guide who accompanies you on your transformation journey from your burned-out state into a state of vitality because I have been there myself. I know how debilitating stress and exhaustion are, how heavy and hopeless, draining and gray life can feel. I used to be exhausted all the time – not just because I worked in a toxic environment, but also because of an unkind voice in my head, questioning everything I did and achieved, dragging all of my accomplishments into the mud. At first I thought I alone suffered from this. But that bullying inner voice is in fact very common. It has many names – inner critic, cruel superego, internal demon, saboteur, negative self-talk … Whatever we may prefer to call it, the good news is that there are powerful strategies for dramatically reducing its impact, and for developing a more compassionate approach to ourselves. 

Exhaustion Cover.jpf

05 Process and Pricing


I help you to transition from a state of exhaustion into a state of vitality by following a unique five-step program. 


Five Steps towards Thriving

Together, we work on

  • Deepening your self-knowledge (including your natural preferences, values and character strengths);

  • Helping you to understand which sources of your stress are in your control and which are not, and to focus your energy on what you can control;

  • Letting go of unhelpful beliefs and adopting a compassionate and caring self-story;

  • Minimizing internal noise and maximize your ability to direct your energy towards the things that really matter to you;

  • Taking positive action towards achieving your dreams.

I offer a free 20-minute consultation so that you can find out how I can help you transition from a state of exhaustion into a state of energy.


I offer weekly, bi-weekly and fortnightly 1-hour coaching sessions via Zoom. 

06 contact

2 (1).jpg


  • Anna Katharina Schaffner