Why We Love Being Burned Out- It Is Easier

Why We love burnout

I was reading some old journal entries. This is a great practice that helps put our blessings and struggles in perspective over the long haul. Too often I exaggerate the severity of the average crisis and forget the many blessings. Anyway, I came across something that I wrote last year during a time of exhaustion. At that moment I was trying to unravel why I have such a hard time resting and so often tend towards busyness and burnout. Reading this old entry was helpful for me, and perhaps it will encourage you.
“Why do we like/love the burnout trail? Being busy makes us feel important or even superior.

This level of busyness [to the point of exhaustion and burnout] though hard in the long run is emotionally easier in the short run Than:

  • Defining priorities
  • Saying no to people and risking their disappointment
  • Facing the fear of missing out
  • Disciplining myself to follow through on decisions and priorities
  • Doing the hard work of thinking ahead about calendar issues
  • Investing in people and giving them feedback”

I was struck at how often frenetic busyness is the way I avoid the really challenging and important emotional work that needs to be done.  God help me to grow!

How Great Leaders Avoid Burnout | Inc.com


Add this to the long list of people talking about burnout and rest.

The article makes some good observations and important suggestions. #1 is great.  Having a group of trusted mentors that can tell you hard truths is GREAT advice.

But the second paragraph stood out to me, because it makes a naive recommendation. It goes like this, “If you want to avoid burnout, don’t measure success by money or power. Instead use a 3rd metric. Measure success by changing the world”  Ha.



“Fighting the good fight” can lead to burnout just as quickly as working for Wall street.

Anyone who has worked with churches or nonprofits knows that “fighting the good fight” can lead to burnout just as quickly as working for Wall street.  In fact, it might be even more devastating. When you work for a “cause” it is easy to believe that since you are working for something virtuous that you ought to be successful and appreciated.  And when you experience the opposite, that instead you are often opposed and criticized, you may find yourself suffering from burnout + disillusionment. I can provide a long list of these people for you right now, right off the top of my head.

Here is  the highlight from the article:

“One day in 2007, Arianna Huffington found herself lying on the floor of her home office in a pool of blood. After an MRI, a CAT scan, and an ECG, she learned there was no underlying problem–it was exhaustion which had caused her to faint, her head smashing the corner of her desk and cutting her eye.

“The incident prompted her to ask deeper questions about her life of 18-hour workdays, seven days a week. By the time she delivered a commencement speech at Smith College in 2013, she was preaching the gospel of a good night’s sleep and asking graduates to measure their lives by a “third metric”–changing the world for the better–in addition to those timeless standards, money and power. ” (emphasis mine)

Having a cause is important. But it is not enough. We need wisdom in how we serve the cause.

via How Great Leaders Avoid Burnout | Inc.com.