Many of my clients have asked me for a handout on burnout and to discuss it further. We can all relate to life happening too quickly as we get piles of snail mail, too many e-mails in our in-box, non-stop technology coming at us with cell phones, computers, IPad, passwords, usernames, etc. We then must add paying bills, making ends meet, being pulled in every direction, running the kids here and there, and being everything to everybody but us. Wow!
Definition: Burnout is defined as, “fatigue, frustration, and apathy from prolonged stress, not enough rest, overwork, and lack of, or poor, self-care.” It consists of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion.
Symptoms and warning signs of burnout are:
- Feeling that nothing you do makes a difference
- A sense of apathy and not caring
- No time for church or prayer life
- Feeling like you have nothing more to give
- Feeling like every day is a bad day
- Scattered mind
- Feeling overwhelmed that you will never get caught up
- Loss of motivation, ideas and hope
- Too many responsibilities
- Too little sleep
- Minimal, or no, social life/friends
- Too hard to get out of bed
- Not feeling well more often, body aches, stomach aches and headaches
- You over-react, snap and are short and angry
Solutions: When was the last time you took time off of work or took a vacation? When was the last time you did something just for you? When was the last time you quietly rested and read scripture?
You must carve time out that is your own personal time to relax, recharge and put your feet up. You could start with 15 minutes of silence each day, just being still and present, not in bed. It could be with your morning cup of tea just overlooking your garden. It could be a daily walk with no head phones plugged in. It could be a yoga or stretch class or learning how to practice meditation.
Improve your sleep hygiene (I help clients with this). I also have clients work with me regarding daily and weekly demands, prioritizing them and looking at what is on their plate. We also do reality therapy: learning to accept where you are at any given moment without judging it or having to do something about it. I also teach mindfulness, with “thought stopping” and staying in the now. Make sure you are peaceful and quiet each day for no less than 15 minutes.
Limit dwelling on the past. Learn from it and let it go. Walk away from worry, judgment, resentment, fear, regret and anger. Silence the harsh, angry, judgmental voice in your head.
Treatment: Together we build a “wellness plan” that consists of positive steps to eliminate burnout and life stressors. It is taken from the “wellness model”. These are often lifestyle changes that bring balance and healthy living back into your life.
- Peace with yourself
- Feeling rested as you celebrate the gift of rest
- Mastering daily goal-setting
- Greater sense of self-regulation
- Experiencing life’s daily gifts
- Mastering patience and pacing
- Accumulating gratitudes/blessings daily
- New direction in life
- Having a valued life
- A greater personal relationship with God
- Direction and clarity for your future from scripture
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
You can have the peace you are looking for. There is a way to balance your life and not burn out. It takes thirty minutes to create a wellness plan together. You are worth it!