As we enter the third year of the pandemic, burnout is everywhere. The American Psychological Association, in its 2021 Work and Well-Being Survey, found a frightening level of burnout that’s no surprise to most people.
The survey found that 79 percent of employees surveyed had work-related stress in the previous 30 days. The occupations reporting the highest levels of burnout were (again, no surprise here) health care and education. But the symptoms of burnout spread across most occupations. The level of negative impacts reported include:
- 44% had physical fatigue (a 38% increase since 2019)
- 36% had cognitive weariness
- 32% reported emotional exhaustion
- 26% felt lack of interest, motivation or energy
- 19% reported lack of effort at work
So what is exactly is burnout? Back in 2019, the World Health Organization defined it as a syndrome resulting from workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It has three dimensions:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
- Reduced professional efficacy
Is this you?
Three Christian mindfulness practices to fight burnout
Just One Thing: Pick one task a day to perform with Christian mindfulness. Pray before and after. Ask God to be present with you as you do the task. Focus your full attention on the work in the presence of God. You could change tasks each day.
Ask for Change: Starting a new job is generally exciting, if somewhat stressful, because there is so much to learn. Use prayer and reflection to think about what new thing you’d like to learn. Or what new responsibility you’d like to take on. Come up with a proposal about how to learn to do those things. Take it to your boss, who may be happy to help if just to get you to stay.
Add a Prayer Break: Adding a five or 10-minute prayer break to your day is fairly easy. Mark it on the schedule, using a code word if necessary. Then stop to pray for your work, upcoming meetings, your co-workers and your organization’s mission. You may feel more purpose and insight when you get back to your work.
Be sure to bring your burnout into the healing power of Christian mindfulness. It will help you decide if it’s time to join the Great Resignation or if you just need to make a change in your current job.