People sometimes feel “burned out” but don’t know why. Typically, we associate this tired, overwhelming feeling with a high-powered job where there are long hours and quick deadlines. So, we don’t think those in an “average” job with families and a typical daily routine would experience this time of fatigue. The problem is burnout has a spiritual root too and anyone can experience it based on their spiritual work.
Those who face the most burnout are lightworkers, those who are naturally inclined to help others and make the world a better place. This calling can be filled with hope, but also can be filled with uncertainty and even depression. The reality of life is there is darkness as well as light and this is sometimes hard for a lightworker to deal with daily.
Lightworkers tend to be those serving others, such as pastors, youth workers, health care workers, those in government services such as law enforcement, and social services. These jobs are emotionally and spiritually draining and often come at lower pay. Burnout is inevitable.
Another group that tends to feel a lot of burnout are empaths. These are people who take on the emotions of others as their own. They take in so much emotional energy that it tends to stress and overwhelm them. While empaths can be in any job, many are in creative industries or service roles such as counselors, consultants, or public relations.
Burnout isn’t limited to these two groups, but these are the groups that will likely experience it more frequently than others. Anyone can experience spiritual burnout, demanding on how involved you are spiritually. Those who make it a priority in their lives, who go to church or Temple more than regular visits, those who read a lot of books or listen to a lot of podcasts, will likely experience it more than others. That is because of the tremendous energy those activities bring into your life. You can feel highly motivated for a period, but then feel suddenly drained. You just want to crash and do nothing.
Symptoms of Burnout
There are both emotional, mental, and physical symptoms of spiritual burnout. After all, our body, spirit, and soul are meant to work together! Some symptoms include frequent unexplained crying spells, depression, dread. procrastination, an overwhelming feeling of responsibility, and being overwhelmed. Mental symptoms include writers or creative blocks, a delay in responding to emails or social media posts, and meltdowns. Physical symptoms include muscle pain, insomnia, chronic fatigue, hair loss, irritability, constant sicknesses, and panic attacks.
There are likely some habits you are doing that contribute to these conditions, such as a lack of boundaries or improperly winding down at night. Many spiritual people do things like read a spiritual book, watch a podcast, or answer emails before bed. That is the wrong thing to do! Those things just open you up to more spiritual energy that will exhaust you.
There are things you can do to relieve your burnout. All of these suggestions revolve around one element: time for you. You must take the time to meet your needs as well. That includes setting a schedule that includes downtime for yourself! It could also mean some lifestyle changes that put you as a priority rather than everyone else.
The first thing to do is to restore balance to your life. This means getting eight hours of sleep every night, taking time out to eat nutritious meals and exercise. It also means creating some firm scheduling and boundaries when it comes to personal time.
Personal time should include about 15 to 20 minutes of exercise sometime during the day to restore your energy and help you get away from your work for a few minutes. You should also include a longer exercise routine a couple of times a week. It will do wonders to keep up energy levels. Our bodies are created in such a way that we can’t use critical thinking skills, which is the heart of a spiritual person, while we are doing something physical. So exercise gives our minds a break.
Yoga is a great way to combine exercise with a calming sense of meditation. Other forms of disciplined exercise, like ty chi, work well too.
Make sure to include time for loved ones and doing recreational things you enjoy. You can also pick up a new hobby to give your energy a boost. You can start reading, but take on a different type of book than what you have been reading. Try fiction, or a historical book to wake up other parts of your brain.
Calming activities, from a hot bath with a salt scrub to meditation or listening to music, will go a long way to alleviate burnout.
Setting a time to end your day and your connection to others in your business is important too. This is where people such as doctors, pastors, and entrepreneurs have the most difficulty because they are always “on call.” Aside from emergencies, set a time to end phone calls, emails, and contact with clients or colleagues. Shut down your computer and phone an hour or two before bedtime and do something to wind down. Watch a movie or a favorite television show, read an entertaining book, or listen to comedy. Take a shower or a bath. Making these changes will help you sleep better and feel more rejuvenated in the morning.
Other things you can do to end your burnout include finding a way to express your creativity. Playing music, painting, cooking, and sewing are just a few ways to accomplish this. You also need to get outside your business realm and create social connections that aren’t related to your business. Have lunch with friends or arrange a dinner between your family and a neighbor’s family. These social connections without any outside motivations will give you relief.
The important thing to remember is to recognize when you are starting down the burnout road and make immediate changes to avoid it. Don’t be afraid or feel guilty to take time for yourself. The business of your life, your career, and your obligations will be there when you return.