“Somewhere on your journey don’t forget to turn around and enjoy the view.” -Unknown
Did you wake up this morning already feeling tired? Stressed about the to-do lists? Already ready for the evening so you can unwind?
I have never thought it was very realistic to start saying no to everything. In fact, I like to say yes to things as often as I can. When I feel overwhelmed and panicky I try to take a step back and look closely at the things I’m doing. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when the feelings of fatigue, dread, and overwhelm start to creep in:
- What does this event or commitment mean to me?
- How does this commitment/event help others or myself?
- Does this commitment/event bring me closer to my deeper needs (i.e. connection to other people, significance, helping others)?
- If it doesn’t serve any purposes for me, why am I doing it?
Understanding your intentions and the needs for any given event/commitment can help you establish boundaries. A boundary is saying this is either ok or its not. If you want to be involved in a commitment/event but it still overwhelms you try assessing what boundaries would make it more tolerable and enjoyable. For example, you may want to help out at your child’s school. Instead of going on the PTA board you may choose to help when certain events come up. If you want to lead a Bible study you may choose to co-lead with someone as opposed to planning every week.
You don’t have to say no to everything to avoid burn out. Make sure what you’re spending your time on is meaningful to you in some way. Then create boundaries to help you enjoy what you’re doing.
“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.” Unknown
If you can’t find a purpose or meaning in the things you’ve committed yourself to then its time to consider saying no. Burnout happens when you’re trying to do too much when the majority of it has no meaning assigned to it and no clear boundaries.
You can avoid burn out by being self-aware. However, if you’re in burn out mode take some time off. Breathe and find some things you enjoy (read my blog “Intentional Rest”). Re-evaluate using the questions above and set a new pace for yourself.