Recognize Burnout Before Burning Out: Part 2
McGill Onate: There were times I don’t know what to do.
Gretchen Asuncion: So, that time that you have dedicated with God, it kind of helps you realign what your priorities are and God is there to listen.
Brother Richie Juatco: A life without God and a life with God are complete opposites. That is the reason why having God in our life makes all the difference.
Shannon Santamaria: You’re listening to Heart and Soul, a podcast from the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ). I’m one of your hosts, Shannon Santamaria, and it’s here where we have real conversations with friends who are helping each other reach the best Christian version of themselves. This is Heart and Soul.
Shannon: Welcome back everyone to our episode on burnout. This is a continuation of our last episode and we are going to pick back up right from where we left off. We hope everyone listening in will be able to learn more about dealing with burnout and be guided by the words of God.
Shannon: Looking back and talking about burnout with you guys has been a lot more reflective of why we have them. Maybe it’s so that I can lessen the amount of burnouts in the future. And if I haven’t experienced it yet, or maybe, like McGill hasn’t experienced it, I wanted to ask you, you know, if you haven’t experienced it yet, how can we help someone who is experiencing it? Maybe that’s a thought that I want to put in your guys’ minds, because feeling burnout might not happen to you, but it does definitely happen to people around you. McGill, have you ever helped someone who was experiencing extreme exhaustion or who wanted to feel like giving up?
McGill: I think I definitely encountered a couple of my friends, brethren in the Church, that have experienced burnout and that sort of exhaustion, of not not wanting to work, but just can’t work because it’s just really hard for them. Usually if it does come to that situation where they do ask for help or they’re in need of help, I would just chill with them, be in their presence and just do something that they enjoy to do.
So, if they enjoy playing video games, I’ll hop on a game with them and just chill and vibe and just allow all the stress to just freely flow. And just… because, you know, if you’re stressed—I’m pretty sure this can apply to a lot of us—if you’re stressed, do something that you love. And so whether it’s playing video games, going to the gym, I think what’s really nice and this definitely works for me if I’m sad or if I’m exhausted, just being with the people that you love, I think that’s just, just great. Just being in the company, even if you’re not doing anything, even if you’re just on call with someone, even if you’re just chilling on your phone and you guys are just in the same room, I love that!
Shannon: Like, right now.
McGill: Yeah! Just right now! You know? We do this podcast, it’s not only to just talk about how to help ourselves, but hey, I’m having a good time and I hope you guys are having a good time, too.
Shannon: I know, McGill, I’m having a great time with you guys here.
Shannon: So, Gretchen, how do you help out a friend who is experiencing burnout or who has experienced it? What are some ways that you helped them?
Gretchen: I think, number one, if they find the time or… trust, right? Where they’re like, okay, I need to confide in you. Um, it’s actually very timely. It’s more of like, okay, so how are you feeling? Like, what are you feeling right now? What’s causing you to feel this burnout? So, kind of have them kind of focus on like, wait, okay, reality check. Like, why am I feeling this way? And then kind of offer like how can I help? Like, what is it that you need me to do? I’ve been asked that before, of: do you need me to listen or do you need a response? And I think that’s the…
Shannon: [Laughs] I think you’re talking about me?! No, I’m kidding. We are very good friends.
Gretchen: Yeah, very timely! [Laughs] And so, I’ve been using it personally with others who do ask me for advice or help or just wanting someone to listen, and I think that that’s important. Where it’s like, do you want me to speak on like how I’ve experienced it before, or is it just for you to vent and someone to like, listen and not judge in any way. But just like for them to have a safe space to unload. So, it’s more of asking them how they’re doing and then providing them that safe space.
Shannon: Right. Because feeling burnout can happen at any time if it’s, you know, something that we’re not used to managing.
Shannon: Now, I know for us, you know, when we experience burnout, you know, sometimes we don’t know what to do or sometimes we have a friend who is experiencing that and you want to help them. So, I asked Dr. Sydney, what are a few tips that can help us reduce burnout? Let’s hear that clip.
[Phone conversation with Dr. Sydney continues]
Dr. Sydney: Yeah. Um, I think the first piece is just knowing where you stand. Where are you at with how you’re handling stress? And kind of how you’ve been functioning at work or with your family or with your friends. Being able to self-assess and ask yourself questions and be able to… be able to identify how you’re doing is the first step.
The two questions that I’d like to ask myself is how am I doing emotionally? And how am I doing physically? And based on those questions, they can tell me if I’m feeling stressed versus burnt out or burning out or where I’m at in that whole spectrum. Another important tip is enforcing boundaries. So this is kind of like a buzzword in psychology right now.
Shannon: Yes, it definitely is like boundaries, setting boundaries.
Dr. Sydney: Yeah! And the reason why is that with technology nowadays, we are accessible 24 hours in a day. You know, there’s a lot more remote working that’s happening. It almost feels like there really isn’t, you know, a specific end of your day for a work day. It feels like you can continue to work. So, being able to enforce those boundaries and say, you know, this is, you know, I’m ending my workday here, and I started my family time here, can really help us be able to manage the stress, so it doesn’t feel like it’s ongoing. So, being able to say these are the start and stop of my days or are there things that you can say no to or delegate? Those are different ways to be able to enforce boundaries. And then the last piece is being able to… I think it goes back to like the first tip is, again, like taking care of what we call our basic needs.
Dr. Sydney: Are you eating well? Are you moving at least, you know, I don’t know exactly what the recommended time is, but you know?
Shannon: Yeah, like 30 minutes a day I believe is what the doctors say.
Dr. Sydney: Yeah, so. So sometimes some people are just sitting throughout the day.
Dr. Sydney: Some of us might have, like, more sedentary jobs. So, are we talking to other people and having meaningful conversations? It’s not just just talking about work. So having like some sort of social peace in your day and having that balance. And then also have, you know, doing some sort of relaxing activity or creative activity or exploring some sort of hobby, again, like being able to separate yourself from your everyday work and have your mind do something a little bit different that can help us motivate us or inspire us and reduce, hopefully, the burnout that we experience.
Shannon: So to recap what she had said. It was actually to, first, analyze what it is that we are experiencing. The second is to set boundaries, and the third is to make sure that we are taking care of our basic necessities.
Shannon: Now, I actually read an article about beating burnout.
Shannon: The first step is recognizing warning signs and the second is understanding what type of burnout you’re headed. You know, is it exhaustion, feeling detached in an ineffectiveness or lack of quality of work? Or is it three, you know, taking time to break that stress cycle, understanding where you’re coming from, and seeing how you can avoid that same situation from happening again. And the fourth is learning to draw and respect your own boundaries.
Now, you know, we’ve heard tips from Dr. Sydney. We’ve heard tips from the sources that we’re reading. Have these tips worked on you before? McGill and Gretchen? Or have you ever tried working on these tips? Have you ever heard of them?
Gretchen: Not itemized in that way. I guess. So, recognizing warning signs, of course, like I said earlier, the quality of work or where you feel exhausted, where you start to feel a disconnect with everything else. Understanding what type of burnout, as mentioned. And then to break the stress cycle? I don’t know if I’ve ever reached that part because… I… keep going back to burnout? [Laughs]
Shannon: Oh? [Laughs] Well, you’ll love the ending of this episode then! Because I know that Brother Richie has a verse for us to help us alleviate burnout… and prevent it! [Laughs]
Shannon: What about you, McGill? Have you ever tried these tips on a friend or do you do these yourselves too, so that you never experience burnout? The… I have both sides of, “I have burn out a lot,” and, “I’ve never burned out.” So, it’s really nice to see I’m kind of in the middle!
McGill: Well, thinking about it, have I tried to do this on a friend? Maybe? Maybe not? But like with myself, I think what I connect most with is like reflecting and just recognizing the warning signs. Because, you know, I mean, we all experience stress, right? And so when I’m very stressed, I like to just take a moment, well maybe not even take a moment to myself, but whenever I am with myself, I just I talk to myself and I try to say, like, what’s going on? Like, I’m like my own friend. And like, I’m just talking to myself. Because hearing it, hearing yourself talk, I think it’s just it really helps! It’s just like: [McGill’s dialogue with himself begins]
McGill 1 – “Okay, McGill, what’s going on? Why are you stressed?”
McGill 2 – “I don’t got a job, what am I going to do about that?”
Shannon: [Laughs] You are your own friend!
McGill: [McGill’s dialogue with himself continues]
McGill 1 – “You know, you’re not going to get a job if you’re just going to, you know, sit around and just not do anything! You think you’re going to get a job? Do you think God’s going to be happy with you not working and then He’s going to give you something for free? That’s not how life works. Come on, man!”
McGill 2 – “Hey, you know what? You’re right! You know what? I was just going to just… I’m just going to do it, you know? What am I being stressed about?
[McGill’s dialogue with himself ends]
Gretchen: [Laughs] The dialogue!
McGill: You know!? Like, that’s kind of how I do things to prevent burnout. I think I just have a lot of conversations with myself. I think that’s what’s going on. I’m just like… [Laughs]
Shannon: [Laughs] Being self-aware. I think that’s the more…
McGill: Yeah, I think that’s the one.
Shannon: Understanding point of view, you know, being self aware of where you are and how you’re feeling. And you know, trying to find validity, I guess if that’s the right word? Trying to, I guess, break that perspective of being overworked and seeing how you can resolve it. But I wanted to go back to Brother Richie. I wanted to bring it back to our faith. What can we do as Christians to prevent burnout? And I know, Brother Richie, you have the perfect answer for that! We were talking about this the other day, actually.
Brother Richie: So, what can we do as Christians, right? It’s actually very interesting hearing Dr. Sydney, and we agree with a lot of what she says – know your situation, you analyze, you set boundaries. There’s something that she mentioned also about like emotional burnout leads to physical burnout. So, one’s status of emotion can definitely affect the other aspects, right, physically?
Brother Richie: I like how Gretchen, you know, she focuses in on letting somebody vent, right? When she mentioned helping someone, knowing that maybe they just want to, to vent, you know? And then, McGill, he focuses on like, he’s trying to advise himself.
Brother Richie: You know, he’s trying to talk it through. Which actually goes into why the biblical advice that we are going to read is so important because to know who to vent to, to know what advice to run in your mind, it really is important to always remember God. Because He really is the One that can help in all of these different situations. So, again, if we really want the right guidance, we go to the Bible, and let’s read the instruction that the Bible gives. We want to prevent it. You know, we talked about what happens when we actually do get burnt out or exhausted. But listen to this advice here. Here, in Philippians 4:6, it says:
So never allow yourselves to get uptight and anxiously concerned about anything. But in every situation, you must earnestly continue to plead with God in prayer about your problem and the needs you have. And be sure to thank Him for the way He will work everything out, for His great interest in you, and for His many blessings of both the past and present.
[Philippians 4:6 The Last Days Bible]
Brother Richie: These words of wisdom, these biblical guidance, is something that, you know, is here for us to learn and follow. It says here, notice the very first part of the verse says, “never allow [ourselves] to get uptight and anxiously concerned about everything.” So, that’s something that we need to be conscious of. That’s why when we heard, like, “know your situation,” “analyze,” if it’s starting to get that way, we should understand, like, that’s not what we should do. The Bible says, “never allow yourself to do that.”
Now, some listening might think, “Well, wait a second, how can I not allow myself to do that?” There’s like all these things that are happening! So what can I do? The Bible says, “in every situation you must earnestly continue to plead with God in prayer.” So, that is where that faith comes in. When you said, you know, us as Christians, you know, what should we do? We should definitely lean on that. We should use prayer to approach God. What are we going to pray about? Let’s go back to the verse. It says, “pray about your problems and the needs you have.” So just mentioning it in the prayer, right, actually giving it to God, saying it, you know, if you’re going to say it, a personal prayer, you say it in your mind. If it’s out loud, you’ll get to hear it. But you give it you give it to Him.
Now, what is the approach that we should have when we pray to God? The verse continues, it says, “be sure to thank Him for the way [that] He will work everything out.” Now, notice that? That mindset is already positive, right? Because from what we heard about the actual definition of burnout, right? Mental exhaustion, something that is more than just tired, they can’t bounce back, they have a negative thinking. But here it is the opposite, right? One has a positive thinking. One feels that and believes that, you know, God is going to help me. That is the reason why having God in our life makes all the difference. A life without God and a life with God are complete opposites. Right? And that is the reason why us, inside the Church Of Christ, this is what we follow, this is what we hold on to, and this is what we share with everyone. Because we know life with God is different. We’ll get strength from Him. We do want to point out, right, because the Bible says you should continue to plead with God in prayer. If we go to other versions of the Bible, the Bible actually mentions who God listens to right? I’m sure everyone who wants help from God, they’ll pray. But God is very clear who He hears and who He answers. And that is what we want for everyone. We want that for our friends. We want that for our relatives. We want that for anyone that is listening today! We want to share with you those conditions that God has so that everyone can be heard by Him, can be answered by Him, and can receive the strength that He promises to give those that are obedient and faithful to Him.
Shannon: Brother Richie, you know, this Heart and Soul episode kind of helps me reflect and understand what I need to do and where I need to go when life is getting pretty rough or when I feel like I’m being overwhelmed by my day to day responsibilities. I know that, you know, the first thing we’re always taught is to pray, right? Prayer is our first defense and prayer is our first offense. I’ve heard it multiple times and, I guess, it’s really nice to see that Heart and Soul, here, you know, what we have here is talking about real problems that we experience, that we might experience, or problems that our friends might experience, and a solution to helping us get through them. And I’m so thankful that you were here with us.
Brother Richie: Thank you so much for inviting me.
Shannon: Yeah! We have Heart and Soul, where we can get biblical advice about these problems that everyone is experiencing, problems that we’re too shy to ask help from. And we’re openly talking about it and being vulnerable with each other and looking to God for advice. And I think that’s what makes this show and even shows on INC Media so special, is that… where it’ll always be biblically backed, and there will always be a solution for us, even if we think there might not be one.
Shannon: Yes. You know, actually, we talked about burnout and burnout being the problem. But now, I want to emphasize how prayer, trusting God is the solution to burnout, the solution to the common problems that we experience. Wouldn’t you guys agree?
McGill: Yes. For sure!
Shannon: Brother Richie, when it comes to prayers or values, I guess. Because you mentioned how it’s important to pray and it’s important to learn who the right people are to vent to. And it’s important to talk to yourself… talk to yourself out of the situation. But if you don’t have the values set in stone?
Brother Richie: Right.
Shannon: None of those things would work, right?
Brother Richie: For sure. For sure. And you know, as we are discussing this topic, it really actually comes down to how someone views things, right?
Brother Richie: Maybe their mindset, how to handle the emotions that are raging, right? So, that’s why if one can get a hold of that, if one can get guidance there, then – just like what we heard from Dr. Sydney, right? The emotional self kind of spills into like the physical self – it would also domino effect positively if one had the right mindset of how to handle different problems. If one knew what to do when those types of stresses come, then it would also impact the physical aspect of their life. It will impact the spiritual aspect. And so it really… if we can just hone in and make sure that we handle it the right way, then it’s not such a bad situation, you know, that comes our way.
Shannon: I think that can only happen if we’re consistently attending worship service, being active and always remembering, you know, what God’s teaching us. Because those are like the fundamentals of what we need to analyze, you know? How to get ourselves out of these predicaments. Right?
I actually wanted to ask, how has prayer, you know, Brother Richie really explained to us that God is willing to hear and answer our prayers. How has He helped us, you know, when we were feeling like we had too many responsibilities or when you wanted to help a friend, how did prayer help you?
Gretchen: I think it was being able to realign yourself with God again. We sometimes get very… where, again, our day to day responsibilities get heavy. So, that time that you have dedicated with God, it kind of helps you realign what your priorities are and God is there to listen. So, whatever ups or downs that you have, it’s like God is going to see you through and really guide you through the process and make sure you overcome it.
McGill: Yeah. God, God is really amazing. Like, can we like, you know, thinking of how my life and how it’s going. Because, you know, there were times when I’m very stressed out. There were times when I don’t know what to do. There was a point in my life, well, I’d say like maybe a month ago, I was unemployed. I graduated from college. I have no job. What am I going to do? I can’t find any work in my industry. And with all of my saved up money, it was all going to hit that zero mark, and it did hit that zero mark! I had no idea what to do! I can’t find a job. But then as soon as my account hit zero, I continued to pray throughout the entirety of every single day requesting for a job. Please, God, help me find something. As soon as my account hit zero, I got a job! And God works in such mysterious ways and it’s so amazing what prayer can do and when there’s times when I’m very stressed and I’m sure with all of us here, when we’re so stressed, we don’t know what to do, God has answers for us, and He will answer our prayers as long as we, you know, put all of our trust in Him. It’s really amazing what, like, everything! Here in the Church, it’s so amazing. And I can’t thank God enough for all that He has done for my life, and I’m sure for your guys life as well.
Shannon: I wanted to say thank you so much for joining me on today’s episode. I can feel you guys smiling as you guys speak. I can hear it, how God has helped you, how God has made you happy, and how God has helped you solve these problems! These daily problems that we might experience. And if we ever feel we are approaching a burnout, I hope you can remember our wholesome conversation here on Heart and Soul, where we have real conversations with friends who are helping each other reach the best version of themselves. Thank you again for everyone tuning in and I hope to see you next time here on Heart and Soul. Bye, guys!
McGill: Bye, everyone!
Brother Richie: Bye bye!