Week One: What is It and Why Should You Care?

This week we’re starting a new series all about burnout. The Lord put this topic on my heart to process in these Talk Therapy sessions for a few reasons.

First, both my husband and I have experienced it at different seasons and it almost took us off track of our callings.
Second, because I counsel so many people who suffer from it.
Third, I am tired of the enemy taking territory in an area that could be avoided.

Let’s start by bringing some facts about burnout into the light:

  • The term “burnout” originated in the 1970s by psychoanalyst Dr. Herbert Freudenberger. While supervising counselors who work with people dealing with addiction, he noticed symptoms of emotional and physical fatigue that were imparting their work.
  • World Health Organization (WHO) included “burn-out” in the eleventh edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) in 2019. This means burnout is serious!
  • Symptoms of burnout mirror depression. But Dr. O’Hana says that burnout’s bottom line is disconnection from everything that is important to you, including your very heart and soul. “When we are disconnected, we begin to equate our identity with achievement and performance rather than accepting and loving ourselves as the people God created us to be.”
  • “Self-care is not a luxury; it is an ethical priority.”

Now, let’s pause to process:

  • How is your heart?
  • On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being “I’m great” to 10 meaning “I’m already burnt out”, where do you fall? Be honest. If anything above a 5, please get help. Tell a friend, family member, or counselor.
  • God, what are you saying to me today?

Resource mentioned:

Beyond Burnout: What to Do When Your Work Isn’t Working for You

Week Two: Physical Exhaustion

This week we are diving into one of the three areas where burnout shows up in our lives. The first one we tend to notice is physical exhaustion. One of the first indicators of chronic stress and burnout is the development of physical health problems.

In her book, Dr. O’Hana lists a few key areas to consider when nourishing your physical body if you are burned out:

  • Rest- practice good sleep hygiene.
  • Nutrition – Simply put, eat to fuel your body.
  • Movement – What kind of movement restores you?
  • Touch – Touch is important in bonding and receiving love.
  • Communion – Dr. Amy says “Receiving food and drink into your physical body is a tangible symbol of receiving Jesus into your being.”

Ask yourself these questions today:

  • How is your heart?
  • On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being “I’m great” to 10 being “I’m already burnt out”, where do you fall? Be honest. If anything above a 5, please get help. Tell a friend, family member, or counselor.
  • Ask God what he’s saying to you today about caring for your physical body.

Week Three: Emotional Exhaustion

In this episode, we are diving into emotional exhaustion. Dr. O’Hana says, “Once a loving and compassionate person, you are now devoid of feeling. When you experience emotional exhaustion, you can become cynical and sarcastic. This style of relating and communication becomes a coping mechanism to protect your heart from holding more pain than it was intended to hold.”

Today, I want to discuss E.I., which stands for Emotional Intelligence. High E.I. means you can:

  • Recognize your feelings and communicate them to others in the moment
  • Manage your intense emotions
  • Pay attention to the emotions of others
  • Understand the emotional climate of a meeting, workplace, or environment and manage it appropriately
  • De-escalate situations that are emotionally out of control

If you don’t feel you have a high EI, you are not alone. But the good news is that EI is not something you are born with; rather, it can be developed!

Here are a few tips Dr. O’Hana shares to help develop emotional intelligence:

  • Learn the names of emotions and begin to name them in your own experience, such as “I feel disappointed.” I like to use an emotion wheel for this.
  • When experiencing intense emotions, such as anger or fear, practice a time out. Find a place to be alone and take deep breaths until you can communicate your emotions respectfully and safely.
  • Practice identifying and reflecting other people’s emotions.
  • If a situation feels tense, try to identify how people are feeling and then respond to that feeling rather than to their behavior.

Now, let’s pause to process:

  • How is your emotional intelligence? Rate it on a scale of 1-10,
  • God, what are you saying to me today about turning on my emotions?

Week Four: Loss of Meaning

This week we are wrapping up the third area where burnout shows up in our lives – loss of meaning. In this episode, I walk you through a timeline activity and ask you these 2 important questions:

  • Which of these three signs that we discussed burnout are present in your life today?
  • How can you practice being a human being rather than a human doing?

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