Dear Burnt-Out,

Are you tired? Me too.
Do you feel unmotivated? All the time.
Have you played with the idea of quitting that job, that hobby, that relationship? Sometimes too often.
Have you looked over at your Bible and just thought *sigh* too far? Honestly, yes.
Or maybe even turn to another form of encouragement and couldn’t bring yourself read it?
Do you deal with anxiety? Ohhhh yeah.
Are you overwhelmed with adding one more thing to your plate? Basically.
Have you reached your limit? A long time ago.
Do you keep pushing through? I try.
Are you alone? No.
But do you feel alone? Yes.

 

Dear Burnt-Out,

It sucks to be us…

 

PAUSE, because it’s best to define “Burnt-Out” before we go any further.
Burnt-Out: “to ruin one's health or become completely exhausted through overwork.”
Now let’s put it through the relevant filter because dictionary definition’s just aren’t personal enough.
Burnt-Out: “ I’m doing way to much, I’m over-committed, I have no energy so, I’m done with work, I’m done with relationships, I’m done with basic life.”


Without going into too much detail, I have recently had a burn-out and really struggled with bouncing back. With burn-out came depression and a lot of other roadblocks, but the point of this letter is to share with you what steps I took and still am taking to move forward and start the slow climb out of burn-out.

I fit in the Millennial category. As with many Millennials and generations that have come before; in all things I do, I seek to have an impact on people, I seek to be utilized, I seek to impress whether subconsciously or not, and I seek to be successful in whatever form that takes. The root of my burn-out problems came from trying to do these things. 

The problem isn’t necessarily pursuing the above, but not having defined check points or times to take a breather, but something that has helped me over the past few months is: defining what each of these “vague” statements mean to me. 

What impact do I want to have? How do I want to be utilized?

Who am I impressing and why? What’s success?

It’s easy to say “I want to have an impact, I want to be utilized, I want to impress and have success, but without clearly defining these goals I kept pushing past my limits until eventually… Burn-out.

Here’s my “more defined” statements as a Graphic Designer for a church:

I want to have an impact on every kid that attends our church indirectly through graphic design (my Monday-Friday job) and directly through personal teaching and investment (during the week in Life Groups or on the weekends during church services).

I want to be utilized at work or wherever I am in a way that uses my 5 strengths: Ideation (graphic design), Belief (in all things I do, my values and faith come into play), Developer (I lead a Junior High Small Group and volunteer at church on the weekends), Restorer (I like to hear life stories and encourage others) and Responsibility (give me something important!!!).

I want to impress those who think little of me because of my age or experience, but not in a way to prove them wrong; in a way that shows I am serious about what I do and want to be here.

Success to me is knowing that God is in control of my life and as long as I submit to him, I will be strategically moved to where he wants me to be which will allow me to have an impact, be utilized and grow in relationships.

You may be thinking that there is still some vagueness in those statements above, that’s because I am still learning how to get out of this burnt out funk I’ve been in. So, if that encourages you, I’m walking in this with you. You’re not alone in this.

I do believe however that as long as the things I spend the majority of my time doing align with what fills me up, there will be less opportunities to burn out. So, define what fills you up as a person! Not just what activities bring the most pleasure, but what fits you as an individual and what gives you purpose.

In my experience, the best way to get out of burn out, even though you don't want to do ANYTHING, is to do SOMETHING. Here are three somethings to do by the end of Manuary (January). I have done all three and they are working so far. I call it
UGH… “for those times you just don’t give a crap.”

  1. Understand you: What are my goals for right now?

  2. Go find someone: Someone who can mentor you; work related, life related, anything related. A person who can challenge you, and hold you accountable and have the best conversations with.

Have boundaries: Don’t become overwhelmed with work or whatever you do that you pour into. Set time aside to do things that fuel you. You may have to find that balance through trial and error, but you’ll save time if you “understand you.”

Sincerely,
Nathan Boschen