6 key tips to avoid burnout
I love this God given opportunity that He has placed in my life. I love being a mother of three very different children, two of whom are now adults. I love being a wife, a friend and a colleague. I enjoy working with churches, pastors, and anyone who cares about serving single mothers and their families. However, there have been too many times to count over the years that I have worked to complete exhaustion and burnout. In this place of exhaustion, I found myself short-tempered, rude, bitter, angry, and unwilling to share why.
Whether we respond to roles of wife, mother, student, employee, pastor, or a hundred other roles, the common theme among us is asking ourselves if we are making a difference in our world and how we can keep moving forward? I am convinced that this is especially true for women. Too many of us are exhausted, exhausted, and tired, but we fear being seen as weak, inferior, or flawed if we do something or say it to others.
I know exactly how you feel. I found myself being that girl. I have been there so many times. Although God extends his hand of grace blessing my ministry work, my marriage and my children so abundantly, there is still that little voice within me asking, “Am I making a difference? Should I do this? How can I take a break to recharge my batteries or go on a family vacation when the needs of those around me are so great? It was only when I was on the verge of drowning from exhaustion; I sought God through my despair. He revealed a few revelations that I would like to share with you:
1. Know your role.
When we understand that our role in life is not to be everything to everyone, we fully understand that we don’t have to fix the world, our children, or our colleagues. We are not here to fix others. Our job is to point people to the God who can. Our role in life is to continue to point people to the Lord, Jesus, as their source of strength, courage, patience, and prayer answerer – we were never meant to be those things.
In the first years of the ministry, this was the most difficult for me. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am driven, hardworking and passionate. The single mother ministry keeps me awake at night. The desire to see my children succeed burns within me. Ensuring my work performance is efficient is also important to me; there is so much work to do in all of these areas. More than that, we need to rest. We need to take the time to just sleep, sit on the couch doing nothing and just do nothing. It is essential to our effectiveness in relationships.
3. Set limits.
Whatever boundaries you have put in place, it is important that you stick to them. For example, between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., you have a seated meal with your family at the table; do not accept phone calls during this time. If you’ve decided that one Saturday a month is reserved for a romantic date with your spouse, protect it. When we set boundaries in our lives, it signals to those we work with, our girlfriends, and our ministries that we value our rest enough to protect it. It’s important that you find boundaries that work for you and your family and understand that you need to stick to them for your own health.
4. Stay spiritually healthy.
You cannot give if you do not receive. Stay in the Word of God. Stay in prayer. Continue to attend church regularly. Pray without ceasing. All of the things that have contributed to your Christian journey with the Lord are the things that will sustain you and keep you going through this journey as you become an encouragement to others.
5. Accountability is healthy.
Your life should be structured so that you are accountable to others in your life, such as your pastor, spouse, ministry leader, or mentor. Experience and wisdom have taught them to recognize and see things that we are sometimes unable to see when we are knee deep in the midst of life. They offer perspective and instruction. They are in our lives to help keep us safe.
6. Sabbaticals are important.
Know when it’s time to take a long rest. It may not always be possible to do this immediately, but for some it may mean intentionally taking five to seven days off from social media, work and corporate responsibilities. For me, I have always taken extended holidays during the summer when my children come home from school. Whatever extended rest is right for you, do it when you need it. This allows you to enjoy some relaxing time with extended family and gain a new perspective.
Photo credit: © Unsplash/Jude Beck
Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and women in pain. Her personal story has been featured in hundreds of outlets including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club and many more. She is CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national non-profit organization that works with churches to develop programs for single mothers and currently serves over 1,500 churches.
A Single Mom’s Life has served 406,000 single moms over the past decade and counting. Maggio is the author of several books, including The Church and the Single Mom. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.
Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and women in pain. Her personal story has been featured in hundreds of outlets including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club and many more. She is CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national non-profit organization that works with churches to develop programs for single mothers and serves over 1,500 churches and 71,000 single mothers each year. She is the author of several books, including The Church and the single mother. She also hosts the podcast Single Mom 101, which you can find at LifeAudio.com. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com or consult it Facebook and instagram pages.
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