#Askingforafriend: Burnout

By Elizabeth Kendall
GCU Office of Student Care
#Askingforafriend

When we picture a fire dying down, it takes awhile for the flames to go down, sparks to sizzle out and ashes to cool.

The burnout we experience in life is similarly gradual, occurring over a period of weeks or months. It can be difficult to recognize and we tend to deny it, mislabeling it as “I’m just tired” or repeatedly telling ourselves, “It’s just been a crazy week. It’ll slow down.”

Burnout can look a lot like depression. There’s an inescapable exhaustion, feelings of helplessness or being trapped, increased irritability, disinterest in things that usually bring you pleasure, difficulty concentrating, losing your social life and using your free time for solely passive entertainment, such as watching TV or scrolling social media. The difference between depression and burnout is that burnout stems from our work or school and depression is an all-pervasive state.

It’s not uncommon to feel burnout because there are times when work or school is overwhelming and it truly is a crazy week or two. There is a spectrum of burnout that we are constantly traveling, and the important question arises: To what extent are you burned out at this moment?

A few questions from Jeffrey Kottler may be helpful in figuring this out:

  • In what ways are you not functioning as fully and effectively as you could?
  • In what ways do you medicate yourself (whether it be with substances or particular behaviors)?
  • What do you spend most of your time avoiding or hiding from?
  • How does all of this affect your work [or school]?

How do we combat burnout? To reclaim the excitement and energy that you once gleaned from your work or classes, Kottler suggests some changes you can make:

  • Set boundaries around the demands of work and school. Identify clearly what you are willing to do and what you are not. If you’re used to taking on additional projects, working late or going the extra mile, it will be difficult to follow your limits, but consistency is key!
  • Talk to enthusiastic peers or colleagues. Discussing the passion with them that you used to have may help you understand how to regain a balance of life and work/school. Ask them how they’ve been able to maintain their enthusiasm and what boundaries they’ve set for themselves.
  • Engage in outside interests to rejuvenate yourself. Purposefully make time for social activities, exercise and hobbies. As cheesy as it sounds, you need to rediscover and engage the different parts of you that you haven’t made room for recently.

Burnout does not mean that you need to drop out of school or quit your job. It does mean that you need to re-evaluate the time and effort that you’re putting into your responsibilities. Take some time this week to figure out what you need to change for a more balanced life.

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GCU Magazine

Bible Verse

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14)

To Read More: www.verseoftheday.com/