Breaking burnout

Day 491-When being nice bites you in the ass

I massaged a headache helplessly and leaned my head into the steering wheel. I had just finished filing a 10-page newspaper to the printer at 1 a.m. and knew I hadn’t studied the past perfect conjugations of Spanish verbs for my quiz at 8 a.m.

I was exhausted.

As a senior in college, I served as the editor in chief for my school’s newspaper, working five days a week until midnight or later. I was also taking 13 hours of classes, some of which were 8 a.m. classes that didn’t complement my late work nights. I didn’t sleep much that year and when I did it was in 10 minute intervals with my head buried under the couch cushions to hide from the sun, my e-mail, my books.

I had friends and wanted to see and a boy (now my husband) I wanted to spend time with, but I felt I had nothing to give them or any of my other responsibilities.

I hated feeling empty, and I hated having halfway conversations with my friends and co-workers. I knew I wasn’t being the best friend or boss or student I could be, but my mind was packed with to-do lists.

Burnout was breaking me.

I was too tired to strike back, so I stepped back, and I heard my roommate reminding me to take a break and smiled when my boyfriend brought me dinner at work. I cheered on my coworkers when we published a stellar paper. And I celebrated when I passed a Spanish test.

These things had already been happening through my exhaustion, but I had stopped looking for them.  In the chaos that was rocking my schedule, I had quit on me.

Don’t lose your soul to exhaustion. Sleep and relaxation and fun aren’t meant to be just a bonus to your routine. They are things meant to be a consistent part of it. When I was only somewhat present, I missed out on great things and a life that was designed for joy.

And if I needed a boost, I needed to do what so many have done before me by lifting my head from my chest and looking to God. Psalm 121:1-2 says “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

I have to learn how to get the rhythm of work and play right, and I find the most encouragement in knowing that it’s OK to break my demanding routine. It’s OK to experience life. It’s OK to go to Jesus tired.

Today, I still need to be reminded to take a break and take a look around. For me, exhaustion can signal frustration.

And I don’t want to be frustrated.

And I don’t want to miss things because I was “too tired.”

Showing 4 comments
  • Kevin Thompson

    Really nice blog article! Its so true we can easily become consumed with trying to do way to much, a lot of the times God does not even want us to be doing this much if its distracting from what he REALLY wants us to do and if it burns us out we are useless to those that may need us

    • Amanda Casanova

      Thank you! You’re absolutely right about life getting distracting!

  • Ben

    I really needed to read this, thanks Amanda.

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