Guest Blog Post: Carolyn Warren
Peace or Burnout—You Decide
Have you ever reached a point when you had difficulty staying motivated? A time when you felt sapped of all your energy. Have you recently felt overwhelmed with daily activities? Or has your ability to cope negatively impacted your job performance and relationships?
We all have bad days...when even the most straightforward task requires us to engage all our limited reserves or when we’re irritated, apathetic, and have a short fuse. Who hasn’t had a time when they felt like running away from it all?
With the demands of our modern-day lifestyle, we are challenged to manage our stress levels and balance work and home responsibilities.
Usually, the bad days pass, and we recharge and return to feeling like our usual selves. But if that bad day turns into a week, a month, or even a year or more?
If the occasional bad day has become the norm rather than the exception, it might indicate burnout. So let’s define what burnout is.
Burnout is a state of emotional, psychological, and physical exhaustion that results from enduring chronic and long-term stress. To understand burnout, we’ll dig deeper into its symptoms and look at ways to prevent it.
According to Association for Psychological Science, there are five different types of burnout:
1) Overload is the frenetic, hair-on-fire work ethic of giving it all you’ve got until there’s nothing left to give.
2) Overload burnout makes people feel their goals and ambitions are out of their hands and that they are at the mercy of outside factors such as unrealistic expectations, demanding bosses, or office hierarchy.
3) Under-load is the absence of challenging opportunities to engage you. Lack of opportunity for personal growth and development can lead to disinterest and poor performance, negatively impacting morale.
4) Under-challenged, we tend to become cynical and manage stress by withdrawing from life. Sometimes burnout results from being bored.
5) Worn-out is when a person is emotionally fatigued from dealing with stressors, and instead of choosing ‘fight or flight,’ they give up. They may still want to achieve a goal but lack the motivation to push through the necessary obstacles.
Regardless of the stress or challenge you face, burnout is not inevitable. With a few simple mindset adjustments and behavior changes, you can prevent burnout AND get more done.
In the Self-Care Journal for Successful Women, I introduce the reader to the Rate Your Sparkle Tool. This tool allows you to measure your well-being on a scale of one to five. Five means you're glowing, growing, and excited about the future. One means your spark is fading, you're overwhelmed, and you need to be refreshed and energized.
This assessment puts you in the driver's seat and is a preventative measure to identify and address deficiencies and self-correct. Daily action allows you to make minor adjustments in your lifestyle, mental attitude, and spiritual needs and continue growing. But more importantly, it shifts your mindset from overwhelmed, out-of-control thinking to finding the balance that leads to wholeness, well-being, and peace.
The initial strategy to address burnout is to submit our life circumstances to prayer. In the Prayer Journal for Women, I encourage women to prioritize their spiritual needs and spiritually recharge daily. And meditating on scripture is a great way to begin healing from life’s pressures.
My go-to scripture when life is overwhelming my ability to cope is Philippians 4:6-7.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV).
Once we are in spiritual alignment, we can implement practical strategies to enhance our well-being.
Many of us take on more responsibilities than we can realistically perform. An excellent idea to address this is pruning your calendar. Could your calendar use some pruning to make your efforts more fruitful?
Any farmer worth their salt prunes his apple tree branches or out-of-control grape vines to ensure a more productive crop. Similarly, thinning out your calendar can help make you more productive while, at the same time, putting you back in charge of your time.
Another suggestion is to pursue a hobby. Hobbies give the brain and body time to unplug from the stress of responsibilities while restoring energy.
What pastime do you enjoy but have been absent from your life? Is it time to dust off that knitting needle, paintbrush, or tennis racket?
How do you rate your job satisfaction? Ask yourself, “Do I enjoy my job?" Is your job the source of your elevated stress? If so, make a plan to leave. Now is a great time to update your resume and pursue additional training in your area.
Considering your options can feel empowering if you dread going to work.
Whether you choose to leave your job or not, having a ‘Plan B’ is a reminder that you’re ultimately in charge of your destiny. And if the day arrives when you’re ready to move on, you’re prepared.
The last tip is prioritizing your well-being by including downtime on your daily to-do list. Self-care is not optional; it’s a necessity. It could be as simple as getting a massage or walking in nature, or it may require more effort, like planning a getaway, vacation, or even a staycation—whatever fits your budget.
No strategy will prevent us from experiencing the occasional bad day. But by incorporating one or more of these behavior changes into our day-to-day lives, we can learn to avoid burnout.
When we’re proactive, set realistic expectations, manage commitments, and take excellent care of ourselves, we reduce the chances of burnout. Implementing these strategies also allows us to enjoy achieving our goals, support our families, and serve our communities. You’ve got this.
Also, check out my Self-Care Journal for Successful Women on Amazon for additional self-care tips. To order, click the link: https://amzn.to/3MW1hDY.
JOIN US MARCH 14th, 2023, at 6:30 pm on the BEACON OF LIGHT PODCAST for a deeper dive!