Recently, I’ve been having conversations about how I feel burnout. It feels like these days, everyone is dealing with burnout. Some are dealing with stress from school, unemployment, sickness, being single, marital conflict, demanding jobs, or dealing with loss. How about you? Are you experiencing burnout? I cried more easily, my focus dwindled, and I quickly became irritated at others. I feel excessive tension in my neck and back. What about you? As a mom, homemaker, and content creator, I reached a new level of mental and physical exhaustion. I’m focused on doing a great job, getting through my to-do list, and building my brand. I learned that it is easy to experience burnout. I reached a breaking point that reminded me of the importance of self-care.
Sometimes, burnout can stem from the misunderstanding of what it means to let go of control. Burnout is a heart trying to use work to earn favors and rewards. Too often, we believe that the work must be done perfectly or we will fail. We can easily buy into the idea that we must be perfect in everything, leading to excessive burnout. We lack faith when we see our work as a duty rather than a delight unto the Lord. We can delight in our work yet be mindful that God designed us as finite beings. God has shown us in scripture the need for work and rest, which can seem hard to balance. But not impossible.
Ultimately, I was forced to think about what is essential to life and how to support my mental and physical well-being.
Here are 4 self-care lessons I learned to recover from burnout.
Embrace the quiet moments
We are constantly entertained and distracted by noise and entertainment. When stimulation is taken away, sitting still can feel uncomfortable. Quiet time is a moment to check in with ourselves. I noticed moments throughout my day when I had nothing to do but pause. It’s easy to find something to do rather than embrace the quiet moment, like scrolling or shopping online. God will allow these quiet moments to occur so I can engage in quiet time. Try it! Notice if there is a calm moment in your day, and take a few minutes to rest. How do you feel? Do you notice any tension? Tune into the body.
When we are stressed or anxious, our heartbeat is racing, and our breathing is shallow. Sometimes, we use technology as a distraction, but it can make us unaware of our body signals. Tension, aches, and soreness is the body’s way of communicating it needs to rest. Our body needs time to recover. Take 5-10 minutes daily to unplug, slow your heartbeat, focus on breathing, and relax your mind and body. This habit doesn’t come naturally, but we can be intentional. Sitting in my car, by a window, or on the porch helps me slow down. Try to focus on nature.
Unsubscribe from negative thoughts
We need to take care of our mental health. Our thoughts can affect our lifestyle and self-image. I started this practice of unsubscribing to constant negative thoughts. I paid close attention to what I was actually thinking about. Bring awareness to the forefront of your mind. What are you thinking about? I was constantly feeding on ideas, suggestions, and information that I needed time to process. We can easily fall into a comparison trap as we scroll through social media or become angry at the news.
It will serve us better to find somewhere to unload the weight of our thoughts. Consider writing them in a journal (or notebook). Allow the paper to take the weight of your thoughts and unload the burden. A journal helps to map out your thoughts and feelings. Plus, you can see exactly what thoughts are taking up the most space in your mind and pinpoint the reason for those thought patterns. If you dislike writing, record your thoughts as an audio file or talk to someone. Find what works for you. Unsubscribe from the negative thoughts that are holding you hostage.
- At this moment, what is echoing in my mind?
- How do I feel? What is my heart telling me?
- Why? (Sometimes, writing out our thoughts will lead us to our why.)
- What was difficult today?
- What made you smile today?
- What is something new you experienced? How did it make you feel?
Writing is a relationship that develops over time. I struggled to put my feelings and thoughts into words. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about discovering yourself. Go at your own pace.
Practice daily meditation
Meditation is quite the trend these days. Daily meditation begins to nurture a positive outlook on life, enhance self-awareness, and improve clarity of thinking. I really enjoy using the Abide app for meditation. This has been a game-changer. Daily meditation helps alleviate stress and renew our minds while listening to the scriptures. Scripture reminds us of God’s character, promises, and a guide to living.
You can meditate anywhere, anytime. Meditation empowers the mind and heart to look at life through the lens of Christ. We will discover peace and purpose as we filter our thoughts through God’s Word. At the start of each week, I select a verse from the bible to meditate on daily. I memorize the scripture and seek the Lord’s wisdom and guidance for daily living. I don’t know what awaits me each day, but I know God will help me get through the day. Need inspiration? Click here for a free meditation guide.
Revisit old passions
Recall or revisit your old passions that allow for creative and therapeutic expressions. As a new mom, wife, and homemaker, I quickly got caught up in life. I put parts of me on the back burner to focus primarily on family and home. Recently, I talked to my husband about the things I missed doing to support self-care. He encouraged me to revisit them again. Not everyone is a writer or an artist, but we each have something that sparks our creativity.
Open your mind to the idea that you can be creative. It’s not necessarily about waiting for creativity to strike. Look at your everyday surroundings as if seeing them for the first time. You may recall how much you enjoy singing, dancing, drawing, painting, building, organizing, writing, etc. It may be simple, like coloring in a coloring book, completing a puzzle, or listening to a book. I discovered my creative passion is reading to inspire new ideas and learn new vocabulary. There are so many creative outlets to choose from. You may have put aside your passions, but this post may help you to remember them. When you’re engrossed in something you love to do creatively, there is a natural flow and sense of peace. Time to rediscover who you are.
When we learn to cultivate the time and space to enjoy life, we can balance work and rest in a new way. All it takes is learning to slow down, take things off your plate (to-do list), and not use social media to drain your mental and emotional energy. While we learn to address the root cause of burnout, we can make tiny improvements to our health. We will start feeling more patient and calm while motivated to work productively and efficiently.
It will take time for us to find the right balance. We must tread carefully to recover from burnout to prevent slipping back into the old patterns. Habits are hard to break, after all, aren’t they? I’ve felt more inspired to share the life lessons and lifestyle changes I’ve learned over the past few weeks and months. If you’ve been on a similar path of burnout, chronic stress, or overwhelmed, I feel you. We can learn together to engage in self-care to love and serve God and others better.
Give yourself permission to slow down and practice self-care.
About the Author: Tiffany Lee is a wife, stay-at-home mom, and former educator learning to embrace simplicity and slow living. She writes at Truth and Beauty Co., a lifestyle blog about living simply, well, and mindful to help others experience more peace and joy.