We’ve all experienced it – burnout! That realization that you are tired, stagnant and stale, and have lost all enthusiasm for something important that you know needs your heart and soul poured into it. Your marriage, your homeschool, your Christian life…are any of these suffering because your flame has gone out?
1) Fires need fuel
Many times we are burned out because we are running on empty.
As you know, you don’t get very far down the road that way! When the homeschool mom burnout would hit me around springtime each year, I realized that a lot of it had to with feeling overwhelmed, far behind schedule, too busy and too tired. What I desperately needed was a break and some breathing room/catch-up time but didn’t think I could afford to take it. I would just push through and end up with very unproductive results. So we started scheduling a fun and relaxing vacation each year around that time because I knew we were all going to be wanting and needing a break. After the vacation, I scheduled a few “down time” days to give me a chance to catch up on grading papers, record-keeping and anything else I was behind on. This was also a chance for the kids to have a few extra days to catch up on assignments, reading, or neglected chores. It was much less stressful to take the time off to re-fuel than it was to keep pushing everyone ahead while feeling burned out.
It is also re-fuels our fire when we shift our focus back to the purpose behind what we’re doing.
- Why did we start homeschooling in the first place?
- What was it that first attracted me to my spouse?
- Why did I become a Christian?
Re-charging your batteries is so necessary to re-ignite your fire. Take a break and walk away for awhile. Re-discover your purpose to ignite the passion once more. Give yourself a chance to refresh, renew, and regroup, then come back ready to dive in again.
2) Fires need oxygen
Are there things in your life which are sucking the oxygen out of you?
Fires will die without oxygen. If you were to light a candle and place a glass over it, you would see the flame slowly go out after all of the oxygen inside the glass is consumed. We need to surround and fill ourselves with what feeds our enthusiasm for our tasks rather than extinguishing it. Ask yourself what is robbing you of your joy. Is it over-scheduling or over-commitment? Is it allowing high-maintenance or negative people to consume your time and energy? Is it an upside down priority list? Learn to identify the things that are extinguishing your oxygen, then take steps to remove or fix them.
- Go back to the firm foundation of faith and build on it with daily prayer and Bible study.
- Do what is most important, not what is most urgent.
- Set boundaries.
- Learn to say “No.”
3) Fires need to be tended
Fires that are neglected will eventually burn out.
A woman once complained that her husband never told her he loved her. He replied, “I told you I loved you on the day we got married. If I change my mind, I’ll let you know!” That’s not quite the way it works. Good marriages are a result of hard work and careful time and attention. The same is true with any worthwhile endeavor; it cannot be neglected. Step back and take an honest assessment of your life. Are there any areas that have been neglected for too long? Start thinking of some ways to stoke that fire back up!
- Set aside quiet time, in a quiet place, for you to strengthen your relationship with God.
- Schedule some fun date nights with your spouse.
- Have a family meeting to discuss ways to serve the Lord together.
- Get homeschooling back on track by making it Christ-centered and tailored to meet the specific needs of your family.
Burnout happens to all of us, but there are steps we can take to fan the flames back to life. Get re-fueled, provide plenty of oxygen, and keep tending the fire!