How to Avoid Burnout
Remember the story of the burning bush? It burned, but it didn’t burn out. Some people who once burned for God have burned out. Loyal workers in the church for years, suddenly they vanish. Herbert J. Freudenberger, a psychologist, describes burnout as ‘fatigue brought about by devotion to a cause that failed to produce the expected reward.’ So how can you avoid burnout? First, seek God’s input. ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault...’ (James 1:5 NIV) God is an expert; consult Him. Second, realign your priorities. Too many jobs at once mean none of them gets adequate attention. Learn to say no. Your family will appreciate it, even if others don’t. Third, practise the art of thanksgiving. Freudenberger says, ‘Get into the habit of noticing—and nurturing—the unspectacular good things that happen to you.’ Next, learn the art of physical relaxation. Take ten or twenty minutes at the end of the day to sit in a comfortable place and enjoy a good stretch. Train your body and mind to relax. Maybe just sit and watch the sunset. How about exercising? It’s one of the best ways to avoid burnout. But pick what works for you, not what stresses you. You could develop your own activities; take a walk; read a good book; try a little creative drawing or writing. Finally, find someone to share with. Shutting yourself off increases the problem rather than solving it. Find someone you trust to talk with.