10 Ways To Combat The Long-Term Effects Of Overwork & Burnout

When you've been living in hustle culture for so long, you can forget who you are and what you truly value.

woman exercising and napping blackCAT, Nataliya Vaitkevich, Maridav | Canva 

Our chaotic culture makes it hard to separate work and business in our lives. Because of smartphones, computers, and social media, beating burnout becomes a lifelong process.

People expect an immediate reply when they text or email you. Organizations pressure employees to produce, over-praise those who don't exercise healthy work boundaries, and expect everyone to work overtime at home.

You might think this pressure is reserved for corporate America, but even churches and other community-based assistance organizations are putting more pressure on leaders to keep the doors open. As congregations decline, more expectations are loaded on the clergy and volunteers.


How pressured do you feel to work on your days off and holidays? Do you fear losing your job if you don’t put in the extra hours?

More people are realizing overwork is not a badge of honor.

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Here's how to remember who you truly are after years of burnout.

1. Set boundaries

Separating your work life from your personal life is challenging, especially when your work is your passion. Having an office outside the home can make differentiating between work and personal life more manageable.

Make a choice that you will leave work at the office. Agree with your family not to talk about work at home and have them hold you accountable.

If you work at home, you might want to make one room your workspace. At the end of the day, you can close the door to make the change from work to home.

If you are a couple who work for the same organization, agree not to talk shop constantly. Find ways to hold each other accountable with compassion when inevitable slip-ups occur.


Ask other trusted people to help you stay accountable. Learn to let go of unfinished work at the end of the day and know it will be there for you to continue. Beating burnout is a lifestyle choice.

2. Take time for yourself and your family.

Claim time for yourself, family, and friends. Make sure you have at least one full day off a week. Make sure you take chunks of time on other days, too. It would be best if you had time to do chores and time for renewal. Both are bound in a cycle of inter-importance.

If something comes up where you are needed to support a friend or family member, don’t be afraid to ask for the time off. We are all better when we care for each other, which includes the organization you work for caring enough to give you the time you need.

3. Practice mindfulness and prayer

It is harder to make good decisions when your mind is too busy. An excellent way to declutter your mind is through mindfulness or prayer.


Find whatever works to quiet your mind. It can be as simple as sitting quietly for a few minutes daily. You can calm your mind by focusing on your breath and an influential word or phrase.

You can set an intention for each quiet time, or prayer. This is a time to be open to the wisdom of your higher power.

Many resources are available, including Insight Timer and Pray as You Go. Beating burnout will help you to emerge strong and healthy.

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4. Make time for play

When you are a child, you naturally know how to play. As we get older, we forget the importance of play.

Play is an unstructured time when you do something with others with no goal or purpose other than having fun.


Play helps relieve stress, improve brain function, stimulate the mind and boost creativity, improve relationships and connections, and keep you young and energetic.

5. Don't forget to exercise

Keep yourself active. Find activities you enjoy, such as walking, biking, dancing, yoga, Taichi, running, or anything else that gets your body moving.

Exercise helps reduce stress by helping move excess energy and heavy emotions out of your body.

6. Practice good sleep habits

Sleep is an essential part of your daily routine. Research shows that not sleeping enough increases the risk of disorders, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.


Recent research shows how sleep helps the brain to rid itself of toxins that build up during the day.

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7. Eat a balanced diet

Your body needs good food to stay healthy. Are you eating a variety of foods? Are you eating food from the five different food groups? (Fruit and vegetables, starchy food, dairy, protein and fat)

If you don’t eat well, you will not have enough fuel to keep you as active as you would like.

8. Take naps

You are going to have times when you don’t get enough sleep.

Research shows that taking a nap for as little as twenty minutes can improve your alertness and increase the clarity of your mind.


If you have time for a longer nap, up to 90 minutes can give you the benefits of each sleep stage. Studies show that your memory recall will improve. You will be less impulsive and have greater tolerance for frustration.

You will be able to function better at home or work.

9. Avoid digital fatigue

During Covid, many of our meetings moved online. While this was amazing, it has had some severe side effects.

You may be among many who found you were exhausted after Zoom meetings. There are good reasons why you were feeling this. Online, we tend to focus more intently on those in the Zoom room, putting more strain on our eyes. We are not used to looking so directly into other people’s eyes. There is also evidence that the faces on the screen are so close and big that our personal space is violated. This can increase brain activity and activate the fight-flight response.


If you are online often, take digital breaks, even for a few minutes. This will help you to move on with your day and not feel so exhausted.

10. Get professional help

If you feel like you may be close to experiencing burnout or already experiencing it, it's important not to hesitate to seek professional help. Often, when you're stuck in unhealthy habits and negative thought patterns, it can be challenging to recognize how you're contributing to the problem. It's essential for you not to be afraid of seeking assistance to identify and address these issues.

Take the time to find the right person, whether a coach, counselor, or psychologist.


You need to take charge of your life and not allow others to put undue pressure on you. You've got to speak up about your needs.

Seek the support of colleagues and staff to help guide you back into better health. If help is not available in your organization, find a place you can access the support you deserve. Ministers are not miracle workers, and employees are not robots. You are not responsible for saving your congregation or pushing the corporate profit margin infinitely higher.

Whether or not you are a church minister or a fast food franchise worker, don’t stay in a position that makes you sick, especially when you see no change coming.

During your struggles, find family, colleagues, friends, and professionals to help you through this rough time.


You deserve a joyful, meaningful life. Go and claim it!

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Roland Legge is an author, certified spiritual life coach, and teacher of the Enneagram. He helps people connect to their inner selves and find alignment with their highest purpose and values.