“Everybody’s working for the weekend,” says the once-popular 80s song by the Canadian rock band Loverboy. Come Friday night, many people are exhausted from work. Then, on Saturday, yard work, car washing, and endless household chores. Come Sunday, there’s often more to do; then, it’s back to the grind the next morning. So, we are working for a weekend that includes very little true rest.

Today’s blog post is related to last week’s work/life balance article and focuses on the need for quality rest.

Are you among the tens of thousands of American workers experiencing burnout? Studies suggest it’s quite common, with statistics ranging from:

  • In a 2021 survey by the American Psychological Association, up to 79% of workers reported experiencing work-related stress.
  • A separate VoiceNation survey indicated that 70% of respondents claimed to have experienced workplace burnout.
  • In yet another survey, 79% of employees reported experiencing work-related stress in the past month.

This is a serious issue. These figures highlight widespread burnout, which can significantly impact many aspects of workers’ lives, far beyond work. This includes marriage and family life. Here’s how:

  • Reduced Emotional Availability:
    • Burnout’s core symptom is emotional exhaustion. This leaves the burned-out spouse with less emotional energy for their partner and family. They might become withdrawn, less patient, or struggle to connect meaningfully.
  • Increased Conflict:
    • Exhaustion and frustration can easily turn into irritability and resentment. Simple disagreements can escalate due to a lack of patience and emotional bandwidth.
  • Neglect of Family Responsibilities:
    • Feeling constantly drained can make it difficult to fulfill household chores, childcare duties, or participate in quality family time. This can create feelings of burden and resentment among other family members.
  • Strained Communication:
    • Burnout can make communication suffer. The burned-out spouse might become withdrawn or short-tempered, leading to misunderstandings and a communication breakdown.
  • Reduced Intimacy:
    • Burnout can significantly decrease a person’s libido and interest in physical intimacy. This can be a source of frustration for both partners and further strain the relationship.
  • Impact on Children:
    • Witnessing a parent experiencing burnout can be stressful for children. They might feel neglected, confused by the changes in their parent’s behavior, or even take on some of the emotional burden of the suffering parent.

Overall, burnout creates a negative ripple effect within the family unit. It can lead to feelings of isolation, disconnection, and dissatisfaction for all members.

Recovering from Burnout

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all cure for burnout. Recovery involves addressing the root causes and rebuilding your resilience. Here are some key strategies to consider:

Address the Source:

Reflect on what’s causing your burnout. Is it work overload, lack of control, a bad work environment, or personal struggles? Once you identify the stressors, you can start tackling them.

Set Boundaries:

Learn to say no and delegate tasks when possible. Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life to avoid constant work encroachment.

Seek Support:

Don’t bottle-up your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, therapist, or counselor. Having a support system can be crucial for recovery. Consider joining or starting a Fathering Strong virtual group. (more about that at the end of this post)

Lifestyle Changes:

Consider if there are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce stress, such as spending more time in nature, engaging in hobbies you enjoy, or pursuing social activities that bring you joy.

Reevaluate Your Work:

Sometimes, the best solution might be to make changes at work. Talk to your manager about your workload, explore opportunities for flexible work arrangements, or consider a career shift if necessary.

Professional Help:

If you’re struggling to manage burnout on your own, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in stress management and burnout recovery.

Prioritize Self-Care

Focus on activities that nurture your mind, body, and soul. This might include getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing. Prioritize getting enough rest.

Rest

Rest is essential for our well-being because it allows our bodies and minds to recharge and repair themselves. Just like a machine needs downtime for maintenance, so do we. Here’s how rest benefits us:

  • Physical Health: During rest, our bodies rebuild tissues, strengthen muscles, and repair injuries. Adequate sleep is crucial for this process. It also helps regulate hormones that affect metabolism and weight management.
  • Mental Well-being: Rest allows our brains to process information, consolidate memories, and improve focus. When well-rested, we experience better emotional regulation, reduced stress, and a more positive mood.
  • Immune System: Rest strengthens our immune system, making us less susceptible to illness. Chronic lack of sleep can weaken the body’s defenses.

Overall, prioritizing rest is an investment in our health and happiness. It allows us to function physically, mentally, and emotionally at our best.

Work from Rest, Not Exhaustion.

There’s a world of difference between working from a place of rest and working from exhaustion. Here’s why approaching your work from a rested state is far more valuable:

  • Enhanced Focus and Productivity: When well-rested, your brain can concentrate better, absorb information more easily, and think critically. This translates to fewer errors, better decision-making, and more efficient task completion.
  • Improved Creativity: Rest allows your mind to wander and make unexpected connections. This is where creative ideas often spark. Exhaustion hinders this process, making it harder to develop innovative solutions.
  • Greater Resilience: Feeling rested makes you better equipped to handle challenges and setbacks at work. You’ll have more emotional stamina to deal with stress and maintain a positive attitude.
  • Stronger Motivation: Even the most interesting tasks can feel like a burden when you’re chronically tired. Approaching work from a rested state allows you to find the energy and motivation to tackle your day enthusiastically.
  • Better Physical Health: Working while exhausted can affect your physical health. It can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness, and contribute to headaches, muscle tension, and other issues.
  • Reduced Risk of Burnout: Constantly pushing through exhaustion is a recipe for burnout. Working from rest allows you to maintain a sustainable pace and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Overall, working from a place of rest allows you to be a more effective, engaged, and well-rounded employee. It’s an investment in your overall productivity and well-being.

Prioritizing Rest

Daily rest is critical. Experts recommend that most adults aim for between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. This range acknowledges that individual needs can vary slightly. Some people may function well on as few as 6 hours, while others might need closer to 10 hours to feel their best.

To prioritize rest also means setting aside one day a week—for most of us, Sunday—as a day of rest. Commit to doing no work to allow your body and mind to recover from the previous week’s toll and be strengthened for the week ahead. Plan to attend worship service to restore your soul and spirit. Rested and rejuvenated on Sunday, you will have the strength to carry you through the week.

Make Rest a Family Commitment

Talk with your household so they understand the importance of quality rest for each family member. The sooner your children commit to adequate rest, the healthier they will grow to be as adults.

Remember: Prioritizing rest is an investment in our and our family’s health and happiness. It allows us to function physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually at our best. Approaching life and work from a rested state empowers us with the energy and motivation to tackle each day enthusiastically.

Here are some resources you can explore for more details on sleep and rest:

National Institutes of Health (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/sleep-health)

Sleep Foundation (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/how-many-hours-of-sleep-are-enough/faq-20057898)

Inspiration from the Holy Scriptures

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Join

We invite you to join Fathering Strong, a new and growing community of fathers. To register, go to www.fatheringstrong.com, download the free app, and turn on the notifications. Explore the many resources, engage in conversations with other fathers, and share your story.

Your financial contributions allow us to serve fathers at no cost. Please consider donating. Fathering Strong is powered by Urban Light Ministries, Inc., a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 in Springfield, Ohio. Our mission is to turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to the Heavenly Father.  Click here to donate. To learn more about Urban Light Ministries’ history, work, and mission, explore www.urbanlight.org.