"When you burn both ends of a candle, it may produce twice as much light, but the candle burns out twice as fast,” writes Myron Rush in his book, Burnout. “People experiencing burnout suddenly discover that all of their mental, emotional and physical energies have been consumed." This was true for me. I managed my family of two teenagers and developed my company into a million dollar endeavor, yet felt like a walking dead person.
"I've fried my brain,” I said. “I'll never be the same." Yet I’m a grateful burnout survivor—along with others who have learned to stop burning the candle at both ends. How’d we do it?
This post is #4 in a four week blog series on BURNOUT.
I'm curious: Do you think that BURNOUT really happens? And who do you think tends to be susceptible?
(This blog series is adapted from a series of short online articles that I wrote for Genius Ave.)
In a few days, I'll post the 4th blog in the BURNOUT series I've been sharing: Number Four will be "Life Beyond Burnout."
#1 - Are You Burning Out? (Maybe It's Compassion Fatigue?)
#2 - When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Burned Out (What IS Burnout?)
#3 - Stop Living Like You're on Fire
#4 - Life Beyond Burnout (It's Coming!)
The reason I'm posting right now is because I promised the women at the LIFT Summer Refresher JUST PRESS PAUSE where I spoke on Friday that I would post the poem I wrote and read to them. So, here it is. :-)
WHAT DO YOU NEED? (It may be different than what your friend needs!)
Some of us need to stop thinking and do,
while others need to stop doing and think.
Some need to stop asking and give, though
others need to cease giving and ask.
Some of us need to stop crying and smile,
yet others need to stop smiling and cry.
Some need to stop confronting and give in,
while others need to quit compromising and confront.
Some of us need to stop waiting and run,
Though others need to stop running and wait.
Some need to practice discipline and organize, yet others need to cease
structuring themselves into a box and relax.
God is big enough to help us all. What do you need?
So "relax" because there IS life beyond burnout and because being spiritual and loving God doesn't mean you have to respond to life's surprises exactly like your Bible teacher, pastor, mother, sister, brother, best friend or spouse! :-)
By the way, I also posted the poem on The Intentional Woman Facebook Group page. I'd love to have you join us there.
Maybe you’re just tapping your toe in the burnout cauldron. Perhaps you’re going down for the third count. Identifying your symptoms and the degree of your burnout will help you make intentional decisions to regain healthy balance. Here’s a shortened list of symptoms ranging from the occasionally bothersome to the more severe.
1. Decreased energy/unfocused/confused/disappointed
2. Increased fatigue/stress/sometimes use caffeine/sweets to lift mood
3. Change in weight/occasions of insomnia
4. Less creativity/vanishing sense of purpose
5. Headaches/decreased libido/muscle aches/dizziness
6. Feelings of depression/resentment/rigidity
7. Decreased social activity/nagging anxiety/emotional numbing
8. Exhaustion 24/7 with inability to sleep
9. Chest pains/shortness of breath/stomach problems/dizziness/disorientation
10. Inappropriate outbursts/periods of risky behavior/unhealthy blood pressure/diagnosis of illness
“If you don’t want to burnout, stop living like you’re on fire,” writes Brene Brown, a vulnerability researcher at the University of Houston. Adopting reusable freedom-producing strategies can help you avoid additional symptoms or escape an established burnout system.
What has helped you avoid or recover from burnout?
What IS Burnout or Compassion Fatigue?
Maybe It's Compassion Fatigue
[It's Dad's Day! I just read this "Father's Day" article from the Presidential Prayer Team. I thought you might find it interesting as I did. Enjoy! And pray the prayer suggestions along with me.]
Poll Reveals Most Men Want To Be Dads
(Saturday, June 15, 2013)
More than eight out of ten men say they want to be fathers or think they’d like to be one someday.
That compares to seven out of ten mothers who said they always knew they wanted to have children. The Associated Press survey also found that 69 percent of men said their long-standing desire to have children was an important factor in their decision to have kids.
The poll also found that dads were more likely than moms to say they saw positive effects from fatherhood on both their love life and career. They also said they are just as likely as moms to say fatherhood improved their overall happiness, sense of accomplishment and sense of purpose. Men surveyed also were more skeptical than women that a single mother can do as good a job raising a child as two parents can.
(Sources: AP, ABC)
As the Lord leads, please pray:
To help you pray for our country, leaders and families, you can receive daily short prayer guides from the Presidential Prayer Team just as I do. Click here to sign up.
(My FUN: The photo is of my son Rich with 2 of his 3 sons!)
Lord, who are these people, Your created children, who suffer pain deeper than words?
A mommy who lost her precious 3rd grader in this devastating tornado-monster in Oklahoma yesterday?
That daddy who thought his child would be safe
learning at school?
A little boy who can’t imagine never playing ball with his best friend again?
A young couple who had just started out and now their carefully-planned future
lies in a flattened pile of rubble?
An elderly man and his wife who just wanted to live out their final days on earth in peace?
The OK firefighter who usually assists others, now facing his own need for help?
Those first-responders climbing and clawing through the jagged boards looking for a glimpse of life–their minds and bodies throbbing with compassion fatigue…yet they work on?
God, I lift up these men and women, boys and girls to You.
I only taste their pain, while they are drowning in it.
I’m removed; miles away. YOU are there. “You are close to the brokenhearted.”*
Hold their hurting hearts and may they sense Your presence.
Because of Jesus, I come to You knowing that you hear me
and the myriads of others who pray.
*Psalm 34:18 NIV
Recently we’ve been surrounded with news of death, explosions, and terror perpetrated on innocent men, women and children. Pain is deep; grief inevitable. Like others, I’ve struggled to find words of comfort and hope. Then I remembered something God showed me through an experience that His Son Jesus had while He lived here on earth.
When one of His best friends died, Jesus arrived in town several days after the burial. At the grave Jesus wept tears of sorrow and anger — sorrow at the death of His friend and anger at the unbelief and wrong so prevalent in an imperfect and decaying world.*
Like Jesus, we feel angry and sad when we see the devastating effects of sin and unfaith. Death, abuse, injustice, and pain are the natural results of living in a world that ignores its Creator and doesn’t value others.
Both anger and grief are normal responses to death, evil, and injustice. As long as we live on this damaged planet, we will experience these and other disturbing emotions. I believe that one day we who have chosen to follow Jesus, will join Him in a sorrow free place. Until then, like Jesus, we can allow ourselves to grieve, to care, to pray and to help wherever we can.
So I’m praying, “Lord, teach me to be honest with my own human emotions, to accept people when they hurt, and to reach out – all while dreaming of a better day to come.” Want to join me?
* Jesus’ story from John 11:33-38.
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.