This post is part of a series that started with this post on 2020.
Have you ever tried to drive a car with an empty gas tank? It doesn’t work! It won’t go!
Have you ever run out of gas while driving? I’m a little embarrassed to say that I have! Remember how I said I’m easily distracted?
One time in college I forgot to look at the gas gauge for a while and the next thing I know my car is lurching and sputtering. It eventually just stopped and, by the grace of God, I literally coasted right into the gas station. It wouldn’t start until I put more gas in it! No matter how much I wanted to keep on driving, I simply could not until I filled up my tank.
That’s what I have done to myself – trying to keep pushing through hoping my tank would fill itself. I wasn’t taking care of myself the way I needed to. I was trying to do just enough for everyone I love and just enough for this podcast and not much for myself. I needed some spiritual focus, some physical exercise, and some emotional support, but I wasn’t leaving time for it. I needed balance. Sometimes you’ve got to drop all of the spinning plates to achieve that.
The key here for me is balance. There are just some things that must be done. I need to feed my family. I have to keep my kid safe and healthy. There are certainly some days when that’s all I get done – I watch TV while BAM is at school and then we play video games and pick up Chick-fil-a for dinner.
I’ve had to learn my own signs of burnout – I get very emotional, I stop caring about things I normally enjoy, and I turn inward – some people call this “getting in my head”. When I see these things starting to happen I know it’s time to put something down for a bit. Since I’ve practiced prioritizing when dealing with busyness, I know which things to put down first.
I’m not a mental health professional, but I do recognize there comes a point for some people when they are so burnt out that they must put everything down and ask for help. If you find yourself there, please reach out for help. Tell the people you love that you need help. Seek professional help if needed.
In this balance of taking care of others and taking care of myself, I have found that there are things I need in order to be the best Christ follower, wife, mother, friend, & servant I can be. Self-care is a really trendy term right now, but the self care I see on social media isn’t always that appealing to me – or even practical. I would love to head out to a spa in the middle of nowhere for a week, but that isn’t happening right now! For me, self care means being in scripture, getting some physical exercise several times a week, having a creative outlet of some sort – painting, baking, and writing are my favorites, and spending quality time with friends and family. I must have some of those things in my life to fill my tank. It may look different for you and that’s fine. We are different people!
Also self-care for me? Saying no when I don’t have to emotional/mental resources to do something. There are definitely times when I still say no just because I don’t wanna, but I have to think about my reasons for saying no. Am I saying no to something I have the time and energy to do? That’s something I probably should say yes to. That’s called self-sacrifice. Am I saying no to something because I don’t have the emotional/mental/spiritual energy or time to do it? Then I definitely should be saying no! Balance.
What have you said yes to that you need to change your mind about? It’s ok to gracefully say no and back out – for your own good and the good of those you care for.
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What causes burnout in your life? How do you deal with it?