What Drains You?
One night as I was getting ready for bed, I stared into the mirror and thought, “I’m drained.”
I hadn’t worked particularly hard, but the hours were just long. I had a good team. They handled a lot of the physical load so I could attend meetings to sign off on how things were progressing. The hour counts were high, but I shouldn’t feel this worn out. I love doing production! It’s a passion of mine. It’s not normal for me to feel so drained, so I wondered why.
Being drained, or burned out, doesn’t necessarily mean working too much. That’s a factor, but there are other factors that cause our brains to say “enough is enough.” Notice I said brains, not bodies. While being drained is physical, for many it’s a mental issue that is telling our bodies we are tired.
Ask yourself these questions.
Am I always connected to work?
Do I lack a family/social life?
Am I not energized at work?
Am I not having fun?
If you answered “yes” to 2 or 3 of those questions, you are heading towards burn out.
How can we reverse this trend and head towards a happy work/home life balance?
Take a Sabbath day (day of rest). Many of us are always on the go, using technology to be constantly connected to our work. It’s really easy to fall into a 24/7 mentality and become addicted to our work. We must follow the Bible’s instructions and take a Sabbath day. We should stop every day for at least 30 minutes to reflect, read the Bible, worship and pray. If we don’t, our bodies will force us to take a Sabbath.
I know many of you are saying, “if I completely disconnect, life is miserable when I return to work” or “what if there’s an emergency at work?” I get it. Production is demanding. Things come up when it’s least expected. I’d encourage you to block a day and keep it clear from mental distractions or work. If your job won’t allow that, here are some tips for rest that were given to me by a career professional who was on-call every day. First, he picked a day of rest that was considered a day off and was slow at the office. Next, he trained himself not to worry about work. He determined with his bosses, family and team what constituted an “emergency.” Then he prioritized his emergency contact in this way: email was the least of his concerns and only checked once a day. He would only respond to “emergency” emails. Text messages were only responded to twice a day at determined times. Lastly, a phone call was considered a priority and answered. If a team member called and it wasn’t an emergency, they were politely asked if it could be dealt with later. If they continued to abuse the day off, they were asked to use a work day for that type of correspondence and politely asked to abide by the “emergency” rule.
HAVE A FAMILY AND SOCIAL LIFE
You must have a life outside of work. Do something with your friends and family at least once a week. Have a hobby that distracts you from work. This seems simple, but most of us don’t do it. If you protect your personal life by spending time on a hobby, with friends or family, you will be amazed at how taking a day off starts to fall into place. You will start to disconnect from work a little more and your brain starts to relax.
FIND WHAT ENERGIZES YOU
Find an aspect of your work that energizes you. This will change over the years. What energized me ten years ago is very different now. I used to love operating the gear. While I still enjoy that, my main source of energy now comes from training others and helping them reach their full potential. If you have a job that is mundane and repetitive, it can drain your energy. However, we can always find something fun in our jobs. Find that aspect in your job and take joy in it.
In everything, have fun. Production minded people tend to be introverts, but having fun involves relationships and people. Meet people, learn their interests and look for levity in your work day. Organizing fun outings, being joyful and looking for the funny at work will help put a smile on your face and joy in your day. After all, this is the day that the Lord has made, and we are to rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)
Following these steps will help, but I know life comes with tragedies and curve balls that can bring us down, making our life difficult. When these circumstances come, it’s even more important to take time daily to meet with the Lord.
Block a part of your day to read the Bible, worship and pray. Listening for God’s voice while letting the Holy Spirit guide you will give you renewed strength, it will allow you to mount up with wings like eagles, you will be able to run and not be weary, walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)