Have you ever wondered if you are living beyond what you were designed for? Wondered what are the signs of burnout?
Have you ever said any of these things?
- “I feel like I’m missing out on something, but I’m not sure what it is.”
- “I thought I would be happy when …”
- “I’m so busy, but so is everyone else; it’s just the way life is.”
- “I’m stressed. Everything is an emergency all the time.”
- “I thought doing so much for others would be fulfilling, but I just feel drained and empty.”
I once was the queen of busy and I wore my busy badge of honor. I even busy-bragged on Facebook about all I was doing.
Busyness made me feel productive and needed, it made me feel like I was doing all the things a ‘good person' does, and I ignored the havoc it was wreaking in my life.
Oh, there were warning signs of burnout, all kinds of them, but I just kept assuring myself I was a strong, confident woman, one who could handle the stress and chaos that had become my life. Wasn’t it like that for everyone? Wasn’t this how modern life is like? I told myself.
Researchers say that 70% of women report being ‘busy’ or ‘very busy’ to the point where we sacrifice our health, happiness, family relationships and our relationship with God. I wondered “But if we are all so busy, what are we even busy doing?”
Many of us grew up hearing we could do anything we set our minds to, and we could have anything we wanted if we worked hard enough to get it. As adults we all are bombarded with messages that we have to be more, do more, achieve more. The Pinterest ready house, the fabulous career, the home-cooked organic meals, the birthday parties with ponies and dancing princesses, and all while keeping our high school waistlines and vacationing in far off locations. Magazines and media have been lying to us and convincing us of this for ages.
But unlike what many of us have been told, we all have limits. We can’t handle it all, nor should we. We have to stop pretending we are superhuman with an endless supply of energy and time because we aren’t. And the busyness from trying to be all things to all people is killing us.
Maybe you’ve been there, maybe you are there now? Sometimes we all find our lives in such a crazy busy state of chaos that we need help to find our way out, help to find the confident calm we know exists.
The battle to break busy before it breaks us is constant. Busyness is always waiting in the wings to creep in when we aren’t looking.
Read over the following signs of burnout and see if any of them resonate with you.
If some of them do, you are at serious risk of having busyness rob you of the life you were created to live.
1. You secretly feel resentful at all the responsibilities on your plate.
I’ve never met a woman who didn’t want to do everything well. We all want to be great wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and friends.
When you have a big heart and want to do everything for others and never risk disappointing others by saying no, you can end up completely overwhelmed because you wear yourself out and hold yourself up to a standard that isn’t humanly possible.
2. You feel guilty for not doing enough even though you don’t have more time to give.
This follows well from the last example, doesn’t it? When we get in cycles of saying yes to everyone and everything we run out of time in the day, but still end up feeling bad for not doing more.
Here’s the thing, other people will always need more of you, so until you learn to break busy and say no with confidence, the guilt will follow you.
3. You don’t take care of your needs.
It’s not fun to admit it, but I can totally relate to this one. I’ve often justified skipping a shower and working in my jammies all day because I had too much work to do. I've made coffee and a snickers bar my go-to lunch. Even though it made me a caffeine crazed maniac by noon. And I used to never get enough sleep because there was always more I had convinced myself I had to do.
Taking care of yourself may seem selfish, but self-care is one of the most other-centered choices you can make in your life. That’s because you can’t live the life God created you for, with space to be aware of his leading, if you don’t take care of yourself. Self-care is never selfish.
4. You feel tired all the time.
From the moment you wake up to the time you go to bed that frazzled around the edges feeling leaves you tired. Both physically tired and emotionally exhausted from the pace of life.
5. You are too busy to spend time with those you love and with God.
A huge sign that I am at risk of burning out is when I ignore my most important relationships- my family members and my good friends. Also, when I don’t pray because I need to dive straight into work and I neglect my relationship with God altogether.
If you are like me, you have found yourself nodding along with many of these examples and statements. If so, you might be missing out on the life that you are meant to live, missing out because you are operating in a world of crazy busy where the noise and distractions are keeping you from what you were meant to do.
Life doesn’t have to be so hard, your purpose doesn’t have to be a mystery, and you don’t have to live life feeling like you are stuck on a hamster wheel, always running, but getting no where. That’s why I wrote Breaking Busy, as a guidebook for me and for you to take back our lives and live the life God created us to live.
God never tells us we have to achieve more to be loved, to be happy, to be enough. He makes us enough and gives us our worth. I count my blessings to have escaped that hamster wheel of striving and busyness (at least on most days!) and I hope the encouragement and practical tools in Breaking Busy will help you do the same.