The Spiritual Effects of Job Related Burnout
Updated: Aug 29
Have you ever woken up in the morning and laid in bed staring at the ceiling and wondering how you are going to make it through one more day? You find yourself thinking about a whole list of things (work meetings, laundry, family responsibilities, doctor's appointments, etc.) that subsequently weigh you down and make you want to run away somewhere and hide. This isn't life. This is not what God created you for.
If you are experiencing this level of stress, chances are you have hit burnout. We all know what burnout is, but often we don't recognize it when we get there in our own lives. We just chalk that feeling of malaise up to the daily grind and we keep on keeping on. We say things to our self like "adulting stinks" and start to fantasize about an earlier less stressful time in our life. As we do this, we start slowly detaching from reality and we are no longer living in the present, we are just existing.
God did not create us to simply exist, he created us to thrive!
If you are experiencing burnout, the first thing you need to do is diagnose it and look at the possible causes. In this article, we are going to look at three reasons you might be experiencing burnout and how you can make some simple changes that will have a lasting impact on your life.
Too much on your plate
Many of us have trouble saying no. We want to be everything to everyone. Not saying no serves a purpose. When we agree to take on a task, we don't have to experience the anxiety of feeling like we have let someone down. Unfortunately, we take on a different type of anxiety. Have you ever accepted a new commitment and then felt that pulling sensation in your gut, followed by that little flutter in your chest area that tells you without a doubt that you are in over your head? I know I have. You immediately start scrolling through your schedule in your head trying to figure out where on earth you are going to fit this new commitment in. You realize that you are going to have to cut something and usually the first thing to go is sleep (such a bad idea).
Each of us are given 24 hours in a day, what we choose to put in those hours makes up our life. Take a few minutes and write a list of the things you value most in life.
Are the things you value most front in center in your time spent each day? Or, is something taking away from those things? If so, what is it? Can you eliminate it or reduce the time spent doing it? Is it a task you can delegate?
You aren't being challenged enough
I know this sounds counterintuitive. You are thinking, I'm experiencing burnout because I'm overchallenged, not because I'm not challenged enough. The truth is, most of us experience burnout because we are not spending our time engaged in activities that spark our passion. As human beings we have a drive to learn, create, and develop our potential. For a lot of us, this need is not met in our daily lives.
Are you an artist, who isn't creating? Are you a singer, who isn't singing? Are you a math whiz, working in a field that doesn't utilize numbers? What talent do you have that isn't getting nurtured? What can you do about it?
I used to watch an artist on YouTube, not because I'm an artist (I can't draw a stick figure), I just liked his commentary. In one video he talked about his background. He said he had been groomed for corporate America. He went to college, did the internships, got the "dream job" and was miserable. He did everything right, but he wasn't using his God Given talent. He ended up leaving the corporate world behind and doing art for a living and he appears to be living his best life in his videos. This isn't to say his life is easy now, he still has challenges, which he talks about in his videos as a way of helping others with similar challenges.
Lack of Self-Care
In order to reduce your load, first you need to add to it. Hear me out. Often when we have a lot on our plates, we make cuts in the area of self-care. You may stop exercising, eat out more often, stop engaging in activities you enjoy, essentially stop being you. These cuts will happen so slowly and naturally that you won’t even see the changes that are happening in your life.
The best way to introduce self-care back into your life is to do it gradually. Add 10 minutes of reading here, 10 minutes of exercise there, and before long you'll start to feel a growing sense of satisfaction in your life. Of course, you can adjust what you do in your moments of self-care to suit you and your unique talents and desires.
If anything in this article resonated with you, examine your life. Where can you trim the fat, so to speak, to make room for what is truly meaningful to you? Are you challenged enough or is God calling you to do more? What can you do to take care of yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)