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10 Secrets that really will help you avoid burnout

burnout man with laptop on head


Jim Schroeder - published on 06/14/23

As a psychologist, I've found that the real solutions aren't often explored. But they are easy enough to put into practice.

Many of us are at a constant risk of emotional, social, physical, and even spiritual burnout.  Even when we recognize that we are endowed with many gifts and blessings, we can still find ourselves drained in ways that leave us with little to give others.

Over the past two decades, through my own challenges, curiosity, and scientific and theological research, I have discovered that unfortunately, the effective keys to confronting this threat are not widely available, integrated, and explored across religious and secular wisdom. 

While no one desires burnout, many of the solutions proposed only provide temporary relief, and don’t get to the core with an approach that we can adopt for our whole lives. 

There are keys that work, both short-term and long-term.

When we come to embrace these keys, and become excited about the potential they have to create greater resiliency and capacity, the possibility of burnout significantly lessens as does the fear associated with burnout (which often is just as bad).

Below you will find what I believe are the top 10 most important steps to help you avoid burnout.

While each deserves a book (or podcast) to flesh out the details, there is little doubt that starting with these 10 areas of focus provides a framework to pursue flourishing as God would intend.

Top 10 keys to avoiding burnout

1. Sleep is one of the greatest assets to prevent burnout.  When we do not make sleep one of the primary priorities of our life, we are inviting in the demons of our days.

2. Eating healthy: Most people who think they eat healthy actually do not. When we come to learn how God truly ordains nutrition in our bodies and minds, we will discover a capacity that was previously unseen.

3. The devices designed to bring convenience and access to our lives will drain us unless we learn to control them, and not allow them to control us. Sometimes this means foregoing them altogether.  

4. Human beings were designed to move about regularly not just to survive, but to thrive. We should not treat regular activity as something optional.

5. All prayer has purpose and promise beyond our ability to comprehend.  But praying while in movement provides opportunities that sedentary prayer does not.

6. Openness to discomfort: In order to experience God’s love fully, we must be ready to experience discomfort and deprivation.  If we don’t, we will struggle to experience the grace and gratitude the can be found in the extraordinary posing as the mundane.

7. Silence: We need silence to come to know ourselves as children of God, and God as our Father. Nothing — not even the best spiritual direction — will ever substitute for coming to know ourselves and God in the quietness of our souls.

8. Embrace life as an adventure: Life is an adventure to be lived one second at a time. Everyone, in any vocation, must understand and embrace this. Otherwise, despair will always remain a step away.  The lows of life are replete with opportunity for meaning and growth, but only when we see life as the adventure it is.

9. Depend on God: The people in our lives are one of the greatest gifts God will ever give us. But we cannot depend on them, nor should they depend on us, for what we need and desire. Only when we continually look to God and his entire creation will we free ourselves to love fully and live wholly.

10. Clear identity: I am achild of God first and foremost. No role, no calling, will ever rival this truth. Being a pastor, a parent, a family member, friend, or worker may be my calling and my vocation. But it is not my being. At my core, I am a child of God.

Health and WellnessMental HealthMindfulnessSpiritual Life
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