By Jenniffer Mann
The past month has posed some very challenging moments. Consistently long working hours has made it difficult to devote time to other areas of life and at times, caused me to feel heightened levels of stress, anxiety and of course tiredness. These can all be symptoms of burnout.
Burnout can lead to a range of physical, emotional and mental health issues and there is a wide body of research to support this. Chronic sleep deficit raises the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and there even studies to show a correlation between sleep deficit and Alzheimers.
Emotional symptoms can manifest in feeling drained, unable to cope, and tired. Also, a lack of energy to complete work. Mental health can be affected by conditions such as depression.
A high-stress job however doesn’t always have to lead to burnout. If stress is managed well, the ill-effects can be managed too and kept at bay. I was recently asked by a colleague after dealing with a particularly difficult situation, “How do you always manage to stay so calm?” I responded by saying, “I don’t think I do but I use prayer whenever I feel stressed. Just before we went into this meeting, I prayed and God reminded me of some verses in the Bible that made me instantly feel calm.”
My colleague then asked what the verses were, so I shared them:
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
And the second verse:
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.” (Psalm 28:7)
In thinking about the situation shortly after, I was able to thank God that despite the demands and pressures of the past month, I had been kept from reaching burnout by using prayer and reading the Bible to refocus me and give me strength each day. I also have an incredibly loving and supportive family who ensure I see the pitfalls of over working.
As you go through the week ahead, I encourage you to focus on the texts above and use them as a source of encouragement, even if you don’t ordinarily read the Bible or have been struggling to of late. It may be you get through the week feeling lighter and realise that using God as your focus, has made all the difference.
Father God, the challenges of life are tough to manage without you. I pray for your wisdom and guidance in the week ahead and ask that you give me the strength to cope and the humility to recognise that I need you every second, of every day. I ask that you hear this simple prayer, in the precious name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.