Holiday burnout is real! Working in ministry during the holiday season can get you feeling frantic and fatigued. Where were the joy and the wonder?
You don’t have to feel this way!
We SO hope this hasn’t been true for you this year. Perhaps you found ways to stay energized as Autumn came and went and Winter settled in. But, if you’re finding yourself feeling frayed and frazzled, we’re here to help.
It’s so common in our world’s efficiency-driven culture to feel there isn’t enough to go around. Maybe you’ve found yourself in the quiet-ish moments craving calm and wishing there was a way to get it. You aren’t alone. And the better news? You don’t have to feel this way.
How are you recovering after the holidays? It takes a village to raise…ourselves. So, share with us and your ICM community in the comments below!
Recovering from Holiday Burnout
Recovering from holiday burnout is not difficult. But it does take time and a lot of intention. If you’ve gotten yourself to a place of burnout, you’re the type who is likely used to it. I speak from more experience than I would like to admit: people who get burned out get burned out often.
Let’s just say, I’ve been there.
When I live without boundaries that are supportive of my overall health, I begin feeling disconnected from God, exhausted, and hopeless. And voila! I have arrived at almost total burnout.
So, how do we dig ourselves out of burnout after it has set in?
First, slow down. Perhaps you need more sleep. Maybe you need more quiet time alone. Or, maybe you need to schedule a massage or read a fun book. Give your body and mind a break in whatever ways feel life-giving to you.
When we aren’t resting, it impacts everything. Body chemistry gets all messed up when we’re tired. Then, we see the world with less hope. Our children get a more irritable version of us. Our partner often feels less supported. We enjoy our experiences less.
Live a more abundant life. Rest more.
72% of ministry leaders work 55-75 hours per week. You may need to say “no” more often than you feel like you “should.” If you’re one who’s prone to burnout, then you likely fill your plate to the edge and even beyond at times.
Burnout is an opportunity to change this pattern. It’s as though burnout is a call for help from your spirit. Will you take the chance to listen to your truest self?
This doesn’t need to be a complicated endeavor. Simply make some intentional shifts in how much you commit to. You will see an increase in the richness of your life if you do.
Over 50% of ministry leaders don’t exercise. Yo! This is important. If you’re not, start caring for your body. It is the temple of God’s Spirit, one of the myriad ways the Divine chooses to experience human reality every day.
Also, and maybe even more importantly, know that you are loved, you are loved, you are loved. Love yourself enough to take seriously your health.
And if you’re prone to burnout, you may be prone to all or nothing thinking. Let’s throw that out the window and just take a walk around the block a couple times a day. You don’t need to train for a marathon to be active. Just do something.
Does this need an explanation? It’s common for us ministry leaders to get so preoccupied with the relational and administrative responsibilities of our role that we forget to get quiet with God.
When you sit down at your desk, take a few minutes to quiet the chatter of the mind and connect to what’s beyond all things and infuses all life.
Holiday Burnout Indicators
Feeling Far from God
It’s common, when holiday burnout settles in, to begin feeling disconnected from our spiritual grounding. This makes sense. Our body, mind, and spirit are all entwined. If our life isn’t supporting our health, our spirit will undoubtedly be affected.
However we name the Divine, it is a shift in our own resources and, therefore, our ability to perceive God’s presence with us that causes the feeling of disconnection.
So, not sensing God and been pushing too hard? You’re probably burned out.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but being tired is almost always a tell-tale sign of burnout. If you arrive at the office or to the worship service struggling to muster the energy you need, it’s possible you have been stretching yourself too thin over the holiday season.
Several demands weigh upon the shoulders of ministry leaders during the holiday season. There’s event planning, volunteer coordinating, worship services to prepare for, maybe a play to rehearse, gifts to buy and wrap, travel to make happen, parties to attend, kids’ productions to see. The list goes on.
Oh, my word. It’s a busy time.
Can you see why you’re tired?
When we begin feeling tired and disconnected from God, we can lose hope in a general sense. If we lose our felt sense of connection to the Source of All Being AND we’re exhausted, our ministry can start to look bleak.
If you’re beginning to doubt that what you do matters, if there’s any point to your ministry, if your role is valuable…you are probably lacking hope. And without hope, it’s hard to stay in touch with vision. Connection to God, self-care, and vision for what can be, impact one another and a cycle easily forms that can lead to utter depletion if needs aren’t met.
Avoid Holiday Burnout Next Year
Avoid holiday burnout with some simple steps to keep yourself in check next year.
It’s our hope that you find rest for your mind, body, and soul. We hope you avoid burnout, but even more, that you experience abundance in your life. So, you have our permission to be protective of your time, energy, and relationships in the new year and beyond. You and all you love and serve will benefit.
And don’t forget to tell us what’s working for you in the comments below!