It’s often said that pursuing our purpose and passion in life gives us more energy than we could imagine. That even when we are at the brink of exhaustion in a day, we can perk right up when the topic of our passion comes up. And while I wholeheartedly agree with this, I also believe we are just as susceptible to burnout as the next guy.

I know for myself that because of my passion for my purpose, I throw all of my energy into it. Some days I come up with nothing though because I have not taken care of myself and planned in time to rest. I mean really unplug and detach from “work” and refill my tank.

Let’s take a look at what burnout looks like.

Signs of Burnout

Professor of health sciences, John Moore, Ph.D. of American Public University, gives five warning signs to be aware of to determine burnout.

If you have feelings of being:

  1. Overwhelmed
  2. Powerless
  3. Unusually irritable
  4. Fatigued or exhausted
  5. Detached from assignments or tasks

Burnout reduces your productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.

Stress vs. Burnout

If excessive stress is like drowning in responsibilities, burnout is being all dried up.

Stress vs. Burnout



Characterized by over engagement Characterized by disengagement
Emotions are over reactive Emotions are blunted
Produces urgency and hyperactivity Produces helplessness and hopelessness
Loss of energy Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope
Leads to anxiety disorders Leads to detachment and depression
Primary damage is physical Primary damage is emotional
May kill you prematurely May make life seem not worth living
Source:Stress and Burnout in Ministry


Burnout stems from our jobs. If you are feeling overworked and undervalued, you are at risk for burnout. Our lifestyles and individual personalities blend into the mix as well.

Causes of Burnout

Work-related causes of burnout
  • Feeling like you have little or no control over your work
  • Lack of recognition or rewards for good work
  • Unclear or overly demanding job expectations
  • Doing work that’s monotonous or unchallenging
  • Working in a chaotic or high-pressure environment
Lifestyle causes of burnout
  • Working too much, without enough time for relaxing and socializing
  • Being expected to be too many things to too many people
  • Taking on too many responsibilities, without enough help from others
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Lack of close, supportive relationships
Personality traits can contribute to burnout
  • Perfectionistic tendencies; nothing is ever good enough
  • Pessimistic view of yourself and the world
  • The need to be in control; reluctance to delegate to others
  • High-achieving, Type A personality


Recovering from Burnout

Now you know you are burnout and want to know how to start recovering from it.

Slow down! – Take a break and get some rest. Really unplug from your technology. Invest in yourself. Cut back on activities and commitments until you are recharged and ready to reengage.

Get Support – Instead of isolating yourself and retreating into your hidey-hole, surround yourself with the support of your friends and family. Simply by sharing your feelings with those you trust, not only will you gain support but you will feel better by getting it all out.

Reevaluate your goals and priorities – Something you are doing isn’t working or you wouldn’t be burned out. Make sure your goals are in alignment with your purpose and passion. Then take a look at how you are prioritizing your tasks and projects. This can be an opportunity to make critical changes to pursue a new dream. Make a change!


Life can be challenging especially if you are a Type-A, Over-achiever like myself. But, we have to remember that we are not effective in our efforts and relationships when we haven’t taken the time to invest in ourselves.

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