Do you feel stressed? Does burnout seem like it’s just around the corner? Focus on the Family Canada is here for you with a free booklet to springboard your way back from burning out.

How are you doing? If your initial reaction is, “Fine,” I encourage you to take a moment and dig a little deeper:

  • What is your breathing like?
  • Are your shoulders tense?
  • When was the last time you had a solid night’s sleep?
  • How many thoughts are currently running through your mind?

Sometimes it isn’t until we’re asked how we’re really doing that we realize the answer is, “Not well.”

In March of last year, our world was turned upside down. The stress we felt was immediate. Some people faced job loss, parents suddenly had to home school their children, spouses were in closer quarters with one another – often sharing a workspace. Cortisol flooded our systems as we grappled with changes to every part of our lives.

A year and a half later, it may be tempting to think we have control over that stress. For many, though, it isn’t that they successfully handled the stress in their lives – it’s that the stress became normalized.

Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When we encounter a threatening situation, stress helps us navigate it in the short term as our instincts to survive kick in. But unchecked stress over long periods of time can cause a host of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual problems.

Burnout may be another term you’ve heard before. Sometimes it’s used interchangeably with stress, but the two are very different.

We often know when we’re stressed because the physiological signs are there:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Tension headaches
  • Migraines
  • High blood pressure

Burnout can be harder to identify. Burnout is characterized by:

  • Numbness
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of motivation
  • Apathy

As a result, many people don’t spot the signs until after they’ve been burned out for some time. Sadly, there’s an element of shame that can prevent us from acknowledging the truth of what’s happening.

Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that keep us from getting help when we’re feeling stressed. It may be that you don’t have time – you’re coping day to day, just trying to survive, and it doesn’t feel possible to slow down. Maybe shame is preventing you from reaching out – whether you’re experiencing burnout or even stress.

You look around and everyone else seems to be doing fine, and you start to wonder If they can handle it, why can’t I?

One of the biggest roadblocks is a misunderstanding of self-care. We wrongly think it’s selfish or indulgent, but it’s a necessary part of taking care of our mental health. Mark 12:31 tells us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves – this implies we’re to take care of ourselves. Too many of us love others at the expense of loving ourselves.

If any of this rings true for you, we want to help. We’ve put together a booklet filled with articles and resource suggestions so you can identify and deal with stress – or even burnout – in your life. Within these 16 pages, you’ll learn:

  • How to understand the difference between stress and burnout
  • What boundaries you need to set at work
  • How you can take responsibility for your well-being as an individual
  • How you and your spouse can manage stress together
  • The ways you as a parent can ease stress in your own life and the lives of your children

As you become aware of any emotional and mental strain you may be experiencing, don’t be afraid to reach out to others. Talk to your spouse, a friend, a trusted loved one – or even a pastor or counsellor. Asking for help, for prayer or even for a listening ear is a courageous step we need to take if we want to acknowledge the burdens we’re carrying and find peace once again – as God intended.

If you need personalized help – especially if any of the symptoms of burnout sound familiar – our care and counselling team is here for you. Our registered Christian counsellors offer free, one-time phone consultations, and we also refer to local counsellors across the country. Our care team is ready to pray with you for whatever burdens are on your heart. Call us at 1.800.661.9800 or email us at [email protected]. You don’t have to face this difficult season alone.

And if you can think of anyone else who might benefit from the Stress and Burnout booklet, please pass it along to them as well.