Burnout: What Is It and What To Do.

I’m resurrecting the blog! Why? Because I genuinely like writing. I’m not necessarily super good at it. I change tenses, will occasionally have a typo, and write conversationally, rather than formally.

But a podcast reminded me to quit listening to “the jerk.”

“The jerk” is the voice in my head saying, “don’t do it.”

Will I only get one – or maybe a handful of readers? Probably yes.

Is it all stuff you could read somewhere else or that you’ve heard before? Also, probably yes.

But it’s my blog. I like writing, and so I am.

When we left off, I had written about what burnout might look like. It doesn’t always look like a moral failure or something earth-shatteringly dramatic. Sometimes it looks normal until…BAM!

Didn’t see that coming!

I saw some warning signs with my son this summer and then one night…BAM!

He collapsed due to fatigue and dehydration, passed out for 5-8 minutes and we were on our way to the ER.

He’s fine now, and we were able to squeeze in a few fun things (would you like to go to the hospital via ambulance or via ferry boat on a sunny day?)

Within 24-hours of him collapsing and being taken to the ER, he was back on stage.

So today, I’m not going to give you all of the warning signs of burnout. When I tell you “how” to recognize it, the first thing I’ll do is tell you to surround yourself with people who will speak truth into your life.

My youngest son sometimes says, “Mom, put down your phone and talk to your family.” So, I do.

My youngest daughter sits in the front seat next to me in the car and when I’m tempted to check my phone at while at a red light, she stops me.

I’ve ceded control of my phone while in the car to whoever is riding with me.

Those may seem like small, minor things. But to our family, they make a big difference.

We’ve been operating in this mode for a few months – I’ve seen a difference.

Let me stop here and say that I have read – and I believe – that balance is a myth. I’m either growing or dying. Healthy things grow. Inactivity is stagnation. Stagnant things are dying.

However, I do believe in sabbath rest.

So, here are the ways I get there – and I’m able to do it on my busiest days when my “to-do” list seems endless:

  1. Surround yourself with the right people. I’ve already told you about my two youngest children. They are rock stars. My husband is awesome and so are my two oldest children. They tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.
  2. Set some hardline boundaries. I have about a 36 hour window each week that I absolutely will not work (at my primary job).
  3. Limit the side hustles for a season. If you’re truly on the brink of burnout, limit the side hustles. Focus only on your primary job for awhile. Another tactic: don’t accept any side hustles without first talking to your boss about how it may impact your work. If you’re not rested or your family is suffering, your work suffers. So if your side hustles mean you’re not truly resting and investing in your family, they’ll eventually impact your work. Limit them if needed.
  4. Look at hours, not days. If the thought of an entire day off seems like too much, take hours at a time.
  5. Compartmentalize your duties. There are aspects of my job that I don’t love. It’s why it’s called, ‘work’ and it’s why they pay me. I do those things during office hours only. There are other aspects of my job that I love. They are genuinely fun. Sometimes more fun than whatever sport my fantastic family is watching on t.v.. I’ll do those things at home. For fun.
  6. Add rest to your “to-do” list. Just yesterday, I added ‘read a book,’ and ‘take a nap’ to my to-do list.
  7. Use YouVersion. I’m in a YouVersion devotional with a few friends. Do this regularly to make sure you stay in God’s word.
  8. Make friends outside of church. Some of my best friends do not attend our church. Some of them work for other churches, some have other careers.
  9. Is it your church or your job? Before I started working at our church, I told my boss that my family had to be “all in.” We visited and they loved it from the start. My husband said, “THAT was a breath of fresh air.” My kids loved it, too. I know that even if I didn’t work there, our family would attend there and I’d likely serve the church by doing exactly what I’m doing now. If it’s only a job to you, I’ll be blunt: consider looking for another job.
  10. Remember the words of Romans 8:28. God works all things for good. Not some things. All things. Even crazy schedules and long to-do lists.

If you’re anything like me, the to-do list can grow out of control sometimes. It’s a challenge to keep it under control. But I also know God has called me to this crazy thing called “ministry” and I cannot imagine doing anything other than what I do.

It’s a weird cycle. I’m not defined by what I do – I know that first and foremost I’m a child of God. Don’t miss that. But I also know how God has designed me and wired me. I know my purpose.

I also know I’m in it for the long-haul, not the short-term so I have to find ways and times to rest, invest in my own relationship with God, and stay healthy, without falling into laziness or making excuses for things not getting done.

Hopefully this has helped you – even a little bit – if you’re struggling with boundaries or burn-out, send me a message. I’d love to talk to you.

For now, I’m preparing for next week and beyond.

New content coming each week: process, progress, assimilation, sustainability, forms, church management software, family, and whatever else comes to mind.

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