Healing from Burnout

Healing and Redemption
Healing and Redemption

Photo by Ian Britton

So, you are burned out, and now you want to know what to do about it right? Well, if you have read my articles, Signs of Burnout, and Ramifications of Burnout, You know exactly where you are and what’s going on, if you haven’t read those, I suggest you check them out.

Now that you know what the signs of burnout are, and what the results or ramifications can be if you don’t get help, you are probably asking, how do I recover? How do I heal from being burned out? Well, not to say that its easy, but there are several easy steps to recovering from burnout. One of the main parts is simply recognizing that you are burned out. It’s amazing that many people simply don’t realize that the reason for their depression and disinterest in life is because of being burned out. So now that you know that you are burned out, you are already on your way to recovery! Isn’t that good news? Now, let’s start getting deeper.

To start healing, follow the 13 steps listed below. Take time to think about how you will do each one. Ask God to help you as you heal. It is important to remember that He will be the one to heal you, but following these 13 steps will be a great guide along the way.

(if you feel like 13 steps is just to overwhelming at this time, you can skip down and look out the 4 essential keys to remember.)

The 13 comprehensive steps to healing from stress and burnout:

  1. Spend time alone with God each morning, or any specific time you can consistently set aside for alone time. During this time read the Bible and write in a journal, pray for the day’s activities and tell God what’s on your mind. This is one if not the most important step you can take to both recover from and prevent burnout and stress. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to daily spend time with God.
  2. Balance and invigorate your life by exercising regularly. Good physical conditioning strengthens the body’s immune system and increases endorphins that are the brain’s natural tranquilizers. Plus you get, and stay, in great shape.
  3. Get enough rest. Allow adequate time for sleep. Contrary to what was taught in a previous generation, most people need more sleep than they get. Adrenal arousal reduces one’s need for sleep. But this is a trap, and people ultimately pay the penalty for it. Aim for somewhere around 7 hours a night; just make sure it’s enough that you feel rested for the next day.
  4. Learn to be flexible. Only the gospel is unchanging. One’s ideas and priorities may need to change. Flexibility reduces the likelihood of frustration. When things come up, try to work with them instead of letting them ruin your day.
  5. Slow down and enjoy life. Remember, God is never in a hurry. Hurriedness is a human characteristic caused by inadequate planning and poor time management. Hurry speeds up the wear and tear of one’s body and mind and increases the production of destructive adrenaline.
  6. Learn constructive ways of dealing with anger. The gospel is a gospel of forgiveness. Dispense forgiveness liberally to those who hurt you. Remember, anger is a signal that something is wrong with one’s environment, or it is evidence that one is in a fight-or-flight mode. Identify the source and confront it assertively.
  7. Pay attention to little hassles; they are more likely to kill you than the big ones. The everyday, minor irritations are the deadliest. Keep them to a minimum.
  8. Develop the ability to be empathetic as you care for others and keep sympathy under control. Understand your own neurotic needs and do not allow them to affect the way you pastor.
  9. Focus your ministry on essentials. Reduce redundancies, eliminate unnecessary activities, avoid demands that will stretch you too thin, and learn how to say no kindly, without giving offense and without experiencing a sense of guilt.
  10. Stay in touch with reality. One’s ambitions must not outrun the limits of his capabilities. Seek honest feedback from trusted friends on your talents, then, pray for wisdom and set your sights accordingly. Aiming too high at unrealistic goals to satisfy an unsanctified ambition will only lead to burnout.
  11. Avoid states of helplessness by taking control and implementing a coping strategy no matter how minor. Helplessness is often an erroneous belief that a person is trapped and no solutions are possible. Exercise faith, believe that solutions are possible, and break out of the helplessness cycle.
  12. If you cannot resolve a major conflict in your life, leave it and move on if necessary. Notions of being superhuman often keep people in severe conflict situations. People believe they should be able to master every circumstance, and this can lead to a destructive persistence. Even Jesus was hindered in what He could do (Matthew 13:58) and had to move on. Why not you?
  13. Finally, be willing to seek help and support from friends or family, or even an online source, such as LeaderCast.com. You don’t need to go through this alone, get some support     and prayer from others.

These are the steps, now go back and if you haven’t already, think of ways to apply each of the steps in your own life. How are you going to change in order to recover from burnout?

In order to help you remember the basic keys to recovery, here are the four keys to remember to help you recover and heal from burnout.

One, Slow down your life. Take a break from things, go on a vacation, say no to requests from people and try to do the tasks you already have better. If you are really swamped with the things you are doing, try passing some on to others.  Ask a friend if they will take over certain areas or tasks for a little while.

Two, Get support. Share your feelings and thoughts with a close friend or family member. Make it known that you are taking a short break from things to rest and evaluate life.

Three, Reevaluate your goals, dreams, activities, and job. Spend time thinking about where you are in life and what your goals for life are. It might be time to forget some dreams and even come up with new ones.

And Four, Seek God and ask for his support, guidance and healing. You are burned out probably because you were doing too much. Now it’s time to stop, and ask God for direction and assistance with life. We are not meant to live life on our own. God wants to be a part of it and help and support us along the way.

Now, it is time for action! Start following these steps today, don’t brush it off or claim to be to busy. Go make a plan, create a schedule and then stick to it. The main thing you need to do now is act.

Come back soon to learn how to prevent burnout and live in your strengths.

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Ramifications of Burnout

The Ramifications of Burnout

The Ramifications of Burnout

Photo by Adam Fick

What are the Ramifications of Burnout?

Now that you know what burnout is, and what the signs of stress and burnout are, it’s important to learn what the ramifications of burnout could be if left unchecked. Stress can start off small, but then grow to impact how we act, think, speak and even live. It can cause huge problems in relationships with people, and even God. Here are some of the ways stress impacts people’s lives:

(Stress impacts lives in a dramatic way)

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  • About one half of Americans say that stress has a negative impact on both their personal and professional lives.
  • About one-third (31%) of employed adults have difficulty managing work and family responsibilities.
  • Over one third (35%) cite jobs interfering with their family or personal time as a significant source of stress.
  • Stress causes more than half of Americans (54 percent) to fight with people close to them.
  • One in four people report that they have been alienated from a friend or family member because of stress.
  • 8% connect stress to divorce or separation.
    Source: American Psychological Association study, 2007. www.helpguide.org

When you think about it, this information is astounding! Fully 8% of Americans attribute stress as a reason for their divorce! That is hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. Along with that, stress also causes huge relationship problems for more than half of all Americans. How have you felt stress in your life recently? Have you been drifting away or avoiding close friends? Are you having other relationship problems? Take a minute and think about what kinds of ramifications in your own life have been the results of stress or burnout.

Now, you might be trying to figure out if you are stressed or burned out, because they do sound like the same thing, but they do have certain differences that you should know. Below is a chart showing the differences, results, and ramifications of stress and burnout.

Stress vs. Burnout

Stress

Burnout

· Characterized by over engagement

· Characterized by disengagement

· Emotions are over reactive

· Emotions are blunted

· Produces urgency and hyperactivity

· Produces helplessness and hopelessness

· Loss of energy

· Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope

· Leads to anxiety disorders

· Leads to detachment and depression

· Primary damage is physical

· Primary damage is emotional

· May kill you prematurely

· May make life seem not worth living

Source: www.helpguide.org

Now you might be thinking that stress and burnout only affect you and your life, well they do in a huge way, but they also affect others such as your family, friends, coworkers and church members. Here are a few statistics about stress in people’s lives:

  • Workplace stress costs more than $300 billion each year in health care, missed work and stress-reduction (American Institute of Stress, NY).
  • Workers who report that they are stressed incur health care costs that are 46 percent higher, or an average of $600 more per person, than other employees (Steven L. Sauter, chief of the Organizational Science and Human Factors Branch of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
  • Workers in the United States already put in more than 1,800 hours on the job a year: 350 hours more than the Germans and slightly more than the Japanese (International Labor Office).
  • More than 30 percent of workers say they are “always” or “often” under stress at work. A quarter of those surveyed in 2002 said there often were not enough co-workers to get the job done (National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago).

Clearly, workplace stress and anxiety can cost millions or even billions of dollars each year. And that’s just with health care, what about in your personal life? What has it cost you personally? Well, as shown by some of the other statistics, stress and burnout also have significant effects on personal relationships.

So stress does have ramifications in both yours, and the lives of others around you. It is not something to be ignored, and if you ever have, or are experiencing stress or burnout, you know just how serious it is.

Maybe take a minute now to think about what is going on in your life and ponder how your stress level or burnout is affecting those who are close to you.

Since you now know what the signs of burnout are, and what the ramifications can be if left unchecked, it’s time to learn what the steps to healing are. The next article will help you by giving you the 13 steps to healing from burnout.