Sarah McGuinness Sarah McGuinness CREDIT: Supplied

Kiwi Wellbeing Expert Diagnosed with Chronic Illness and Burnout: "No-one is immune."

Thursday 29 April 2021, 2:57PM
By RedPR

A New Zealand wellbeing expert is unsurprised by Jarrod Harr’s research out of AUT around the effects of burnout and the need for a systemic approach to address the problem.

One reason she’s unsurprised is that she herself was diagnosed with a chronic illness and burnout earlier this month.

“After doing what so many of us do, and pushing through despite knowing something isn’t right, in early April I was diagnosed with burnout and a chronic illness, fibromyalgia,” she says.

Sarah McGuinness established Revolutionaries of Wellbeing (ROW) last year to develop wellbeing leaders around the world. In a short period of time, ROW has become a community of more than 250 members from 190 organisations all over the globe.

Sarah is now adapting the business so she can take the time she needs to recover.

“Yes, I see the irony of a wellbeing specialist burning out but my view is if we’re going to tell other people to speak up about mental health then we have to be prepared to do it ourselves as wellbeing practitioners. I think it’s also important to share that no one is perfect – and actually we’re all going through something. More often than not it’s personal experience that drives people to work in wellbeing. What my diagnosis tells me is, that now is the time to lean on the shoulders of giants and invite in other corporates who are just as keen to see wellbeing front and centre of how we do business,” she says.

ROW has added a new corporate founding membership option, the ROW Steering Group which gives corporates an opportunity to drive change across industry, be a leading voice and brand in the workplace wellbeing market, at a global level. The Steering Group will help to inform the direction of ROW, the wellbeing issues and challenges it will look to solve and the global market opportunities to sustain success and momentum.

McGuinness says she absolutely agrees with AUT Business School Professor Jarrod Haar, who says more needs to be done to help protect employees’ psychological health and safety, and it must be a systematic approach. ROW has achieved so much in the short time is has been going and growing, and driving change around corporate wellbeing is one of ROWs top priorities.

“A fruit bowl in the office kitchen just doesn’t cut it,” she says. “ROW brings together leading corporate wellbeing experts to drive change and create better workplaces around the globe. And it’s really working. It’s systemic and backed up by research and results. Members of ROW find being a part of a bigger community sharing information and tools that do actually work, is very effective. ROW is dedicated to helping leaders to develop their professional expertise, access practical tools and resources, and network with peers and experts to meaningfully improve wellbeing,” she says.

At its heart, ROW’s vision is to drive change across industry when it comes to wellbeing, and Sarah McGuinness says the ROW community is passionate, committed and dedicated to championing the work that needs to be done.

-Ends-   Sarah McGuinness is available for interview on 021 183 9822

Sarah McGuinness

BSC, BSc(Hons), GradDipPsych, DipPrCoaching, CertIV Training and Assessment Cert III Fitness.

Sarah McGuinness is the founder of Revolutionaries of Wellbeing (ROW), and is committed to helping people taking control and change their lives for the better. She has degrees in psychology and communications, complemented by qualifications in training, coaching and fitness.

Sarah specialises in corporate wellbeing, working with businesses to support their employees in real and effective ways. “A fruit bowl in the staffroom just doesn’t cut it”, she says.

Having spent more than 15 years working in organisations across New Zealand and Australia, Sarah has held senior positions in leadership and capability development, encouraging men and women to become confident leaders and team members.

A busy mother to two equally busy young children, Sarah makes all-important time to enjoy cycling and the great outdoors. She is based in Queenstown after a recent move from Gisborne.



McGuinness, S. M., & Taylor, J. E. (2016). Understanding body image dissatisfaction and disordered eating in midlife adults. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, (45), 1, 4-12.


Additional information:


Stats on fibro: (American stats),Zealanders%20may%20develop%20the%20condition. (NZ stats) – New Zealand Medical Journal article


Impact of burnout:

From AUT: