I recently read “Present over Perfect” by Shauna Neiquist and I found her part on burnout profound.
“Part of the crazy of it is that we don’t allow people to fall apart unless they’re massively successful. You can’t be just a normal lady with a normal job and burn yourself out — that’s only for bight people. And so the normal, exhausted, soul-starved people keep going, because we’re not special enough to burn out.”
Two years ago I had a normal job, a normal-sized house, and a fairly ordinary life. I thought that since I didn’t have four kids running around and millions of activities that I wasn’t allowed to be burnt out. That burnout was only for people who had full schedules and too much on their plates. I learned that emotional burnout is just as real as physical burnout.
“Burnout is not reserved for the rich or the famous or the profoundly successful. It’s happening to so many of us, people across all kinds of careers and lifestyles.
If you’re tired, you’re tired, no matter what. If the life you’ve crafted for yourself is too heavy, it’s too heavy, no matter if people on either side of you are carrying more or less. You don’t have to have a public life or a particularly busy life in order to be terribly, dangerously depleted.
You just have to buy into the idea that your feelings and body and spirit aren’t worth listening to, and believe the myth that busyness or achievement or both will take away the pain.
And you can buy into those things as a stay-at-home parent or a brain surgeon, in Manhattan or on a farm, whether you’re fifteen or eighty-five.”
Do you believe you’re not significant enough to face burnout? Do you listen to your body, mind, and soul when they are screaming “enough!?” What are ways that you take care of yourself to prevent burnout?
While I wish I had all the answers, I’m still trying to figure it out myself. I consistently ask myself, What does it mean to give your burdens to God? What does it mean to practice mindfulness? What does it mean to be fully present in the moment?
I’ll leave you with one final quote from her book:
“And if you, like me, have also internalized some twisted-up theology that this healing and restoration that Jesus offers are not for you, that you’re a server in this great restaurant, a crew member aboard this lovely ship, then you are destined to exhaust yourself, tugging on the bootstraps of your soul, lifting something that was never meant to be carried alone.”