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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.