Experiencing Burnout? (Improving Engagement & Well-Being)
If you are like me, you have been struggling with some level of burnout this last year. You know that feeling - you go to step on the gas pedal of life, and you feel like you are sputtering. Either there isn't any gas in the tank, or somehow it doesn't translate to feeling empowered to live out your various callings in life. You feel disengaged from your work, and you don't know what to do about it.
The pandemic we experienced this last couple of years had a lot to do with it. It was a VUCA moment in time where we all had to navigate volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Life, work, and ministry were unpredictable, constantly changing, and lacked the consistency we had known before. And in many ways, we are still navigating this reality. Yet, many of us rose to the challenge! We leaned in, worked hard, sacrificed, went online, found new ways to do our jobs, and carried out our ministries in creative ways very quickly. And according to Gallup, employee engagement reached an all-time high during the pandemic's start.
However, for the first time in the history of Gallup's polling, employee engagement dropped this year. The reason for this drop? It is hard to keep up that level of engagement to respond to VUCA moments for long. At some point, like a runner going at full speed, you get tired, and it takes everything you have to take another step. You want to quit; you need rest; you have to recharge. But, ultimately, none of us are machines, and even machines break down if you run them for too long without proper care and maintenance.
Unfortunately, many of us also found ourselves working outside of our Strength Zone and started working in our Stress Zone during the pandemic. What we found ourselves doing to respond to this crisis moment was not supported by our natural God-given talents, skills, knowledge, and experience. You can only keep going so long in your Stress Zone before the stress begins to get to you and you start to burn out.
So, what is the solution to what I have heard from so many of you regarding what you are experiencing in your life, work and ministry? While there are some specific strategies I could share here regarding how to respond to VUCA moments and to move from your Stress Zone back to your Strength Zone, the number one remedy I can offer to you to help address the burnout you may be experiencing is to focus on your well-being. Focusing on your well-being during times of crisis and challenge might seem selfish, but it is not. On the contrary, self-care is precisely what is needed most so that you can renew and recharge to show up at your best in your various vocations of life once again.
In Gallup's National Health and Well-Being Index, their research has identified five interrelated and interdependent elements that promote overall well-being. These elements of well-being are:
1) Career - You like what you do every day.
2) Social - You have meaningful friendships in your life.
3) Financial - You manage your money well.
4) Community - You like where you live.
5) Physical - You have the energy to get things done.
How well would you score on these five elements of well-being in your own life? Here are some questions to reflect on to assess how well you are doing:
Now, while these are all essential areas of well-being to focus on that can help us feel empowered for daily living, through the eyes of faith, we recognize that "Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Matt 4:4, Deut 8:3) Ultimately, attention on improving our spiritual well-being is also needed to truly thrive in life and effectively navigate the challenges that life throws our way in our daily callings in life. How well are you connecting to Jesus, the true Vine? (John 15:5) Only by daily connecting with Him can we bear the fruit God desires to be produced in and through our life in our love and service to others.
If you feel burned out and are struggling with your overall well-being, know that you don't have to address this challenge alone. The SED Coaching Network has coaches who would love to partner with you to help you identify those areas needing attention and develop a game plan to improve your overall well-being. They also can help provide the encouragement, support, and gospel accountability required to follow through in implementing your well-being empowerment plan. You can find out more about our certified coaches at www.sedcoachingnetwork.com. God's richest blessings to you as you seek to renew, refresh, and recharge yourself for the callings Jesus has called you to in Him, with each other, and for the sake of our neighbors in your daily life.