You will burn and you will burn out; you will be healed and come back again.Fyodor Dostoevsky
It has been 2 years since the Covid lockdowns began, and while there were many immediate negative affects from the ill-advised shut down of our economy and society, we are now beginning to see the long-term results of the ineffective and damaging lockdowns, masking requirements and mandates.
The immediate affect on our economy was staggering and only worsened as the lockdowns and mandates continued unabated and gained momentum. Businesses closed, people lost their jobs, people resigned their jobs, good people were fired for not taking the vaccine, unemployment rose at alarming rates, the supply chain was disrupted, inflation set in and gas prices skyrocketed. The hypocrisy of the application of the vaccine mandates was staggering, especially given the ineffectiveness of the vaccines anyway. If masks were the ultimate virtue signaling, the vaccine passports and mandates were the bludgeon the tyrannical government chose to use to beat the masses into compliance and submission.
Covid was certainly a challenge to our physical health (I had Covid in the Summer of 2021), yet it had a wide range of symptoms ranging from totally asymptomatic for many, to death, mainly for the overweight or elderly, and everything in between. While there is no question people died of Covid, we will never know the true story and extent of the numbers associated with it due to the political battlefield where the war was waged with politicians, Fauci, the CDC, Big Pharma, teacher’s unions and others lying, cheating and stealing all in the name of our safety. The skewing of the data of those dying from Covid and those dying with Covid was calculated to create fear and compliance within the ranks of the general populous. Withholding treatments like Ivermectin and suppressing information around diet, exercise, Quercetin, Zinc, Vitamin D and C only exacerbated the problems while mandating ineffective vaccines did virtually nothing to prevent infection or transmission of Covid. The political propaganda and heavy-handedness of the Biden administration only served to make a challenging situation into a totally unnecessary crisis.
And yet, Covid was not the only crisis with our health during this time. People were locked out of their jobs and locked into their homes. We were told not go outside unless absolutely necessary. We weren’t to see family or friends, not to have weddings or funerals, not to gather indoors or outdoors, not to celebrate holidays, birthdays, anniversaries or other life events, and we were to cease “living”. What started out as 2 weeks to flatten the curve or slow the spread, turned into 2 years and counting of totalitarian government overreach. Liquor stores were allowed to remain open but gyms were forced to close. Bars were open but beaches were closed. Elites were allowed to party, but the common folk were reported by their neighbors if they had friends stop by. People became lethargic. Many began to gain weight at an alarming rate creating additional health problems and susceptibility towards Covid. We were told to avoid the very things that would have had a significant impact on our health: a healthy diet, being outside in the fresh air, sunshine and exercising and instead were told to wear a mask which increased respiratory problems, isolate ourselves which increased mental health issues and take a vaccine which may well prove to be worse than the virus in the long run.
But just as impactful as the lockdowns and mandates were on our physical health, the same was true in spades for our mental health. The isolation and lack of human contact took a huge toll on the hearts, minds and souls of people in an unprecedented way. Fear replaced faith in many people’s lives and as the propaganda and misinformation mounted, the country was divided as never before putting families, friends and co-workers at odds with one another and bringing out the worst in humanity. This while the country was burning from BLM and Antifa riots across the country. For many, the loss of hope and purpose in their lives was far more devastating than the effects of Covid.
And as if that weren’t enough, then they came for the kids with closed schools, masking requirements and vaccine mandates for them as well, all the while indoctrinating the kids with critical race theory (CRT), gender confusion and leftist propaganda.
But all is not lost dear friends, God is still on His throne and Jesus is still Lord and the Holy Spirit is still leading, guiding and directing His people in the midst of the storm. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and burned out in our current culture and world, but fear not, Jesus has overcome the world.
Here are some practical tips in 5 areas I have found helpful in trying to maintain my sanity through all the madness around us. Hopefully you will find something that will resonate with you.
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
One thing Covid managed to do in the workplace is expose the priorities of companies and leaders. Many workers found out their companies did not hold the same values they did, and did not value their employees the way they had always believed. Eyes were opened and sometimes you cannot unsee what you have seen.
With this in mind, use this time to evaluate your own priorities and values and see if they align with your current job and career. You might be surprised that one reason you are feeling burned out is because you don’t truly believe in what you are doing or the company you are working for anymore. If that’s the case, work towards making a change, and start with yourself. Change your outlook. Change your goals. Work towards changing your job or career into doing something meaningful and that you truly believe in going forward.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”
Don’t lose yourself trying to gain the world, and never bow the knee to appease the woke crowd, even if it is your employer. I realize many have had to make tough decisions around jobs and careers regarding masking and vaccine mandates. One reason for your burnout might be the realization you have surrendered too much and given up to much of yourself in an effort to maintain the status quo.
Some things you fuss over, but you won’t fight over.
Some things you will fight over, but you won’t die for.
Some things you will die for.
Choose your battles wisely, and better to learn what hills you will die on now rather than later.
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Another reason for anxiety and burnout is our belief that our job supplies our needs and our career defines who we are. Neither of those is true. God supplies our needs and our position in Christ defines who we are. As long as you are relying on your job and paycheck to supply your needs, you will struggle with burnout and anxiety, especially in these uncertain times. And as long as you define yourself by your career and role at work instead of your place in Christ seated in the heavenlies and accepted in the Beloved, you will always struggle with feelings of inadequacy and fear of failure, wondering when the next shoe will fall at work.
I believe God always supplies for us, but we don’t always receive and use what He supplies appropriately. There are definite differences between “wants” and “needs” and we need to learn the difference in the two.
Finances can definitely be a source of our burnout, so here are some simple but practical suggestions for these challenging times.
1. Simplify your life – If you are feeling overwhelmed and burned out, start by eliminating the junk and clutter in your life. Clutter takes many forms and you may need to address it in several areas. Start by eliminating things you don’t need or use anymore from your home. You may find you can sell many of these items through Facebook Marketplace or other online resources and ease some of your financial anxiety. Reducing clutter and “Spring Cleaning” will produce a sense of accomplishment which combats the feelings of anxiety and burnout. But don’t stop with eliminating unnecessary possessions. Be sure to eliminate activities and obligations that no longer have any real meaning for you and redeem that time.
2. Prioritize your spending – Look for ways to cut costs by buying things on sale, using coupons, buying in bulk, etc. But make sure what you are buying is something you “need” and not just something you “want”. In times of plenty, we grow accustomed to having “things”, but in times of famine we need to learn what is important and what we “need”. You may find some hidden expenses in subscriptions that auto-renew or things that get automatically charged to credit cards. Create a list of all the things that fall into that category and make new decisions about whether you need them or not. Track them so you know when they are going to hit your budget and make wise choices on keeping or eliminating them.
3. Don’t stop giving – Often the first thing that goes when finances get tight is giving. Resist the temptation to stop tithing and giving. The spiritual laws of giving along with the laws of sowing and reaping are universal and are in affect regardless of the price of gas, the age we live in, who is in the White House or what the stock market and economy are doing.
“Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.”
Proverbs 3:9, 10
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
“There was a famine in the land… Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous…”
Genesis 26:1, 12, 13
Another reason for our anxiety and burnout is the tendency we have to look at our surroundings and circumstances instead of trusting God to be our source and our supply. Isaac lived in a land of famine, yet he sowed and reaped a hundredfold. Elijah was fed by ravens and drank from a brook during a time of famine and drought. Five thousand men plus women and children were fed from five loaves and two fish.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.”
Proverbs 3:7, 8
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”
Those who are/were in good health prior to Covid fared much better than those who weren’t. While being in good overall health didn’t necessarily prevent a person from contracting Covid (neither did the so-called vaccine), it did tend to reduce the symptoms and time for recovery (probably better than the vaccine). Covid was far more problematic for those who were overweight and those with pre-existing health conditions.
What should we learn from this? Pay attention to your health NOW and be intentional about creating a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable. Having a healthy diet and exercise will not only improve your physical health, but it will also improve your mental health and outlook on life. We have all probably struggled with our weight at some point in our lives, and to be honest most of us probably aren’t “in the best shape of our lives” right now. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be working towards that goal. Here are some ways to accomplish that:
1. Eat healthy – Avoid “diets” and quick fixes for weight loss. Instead focus on eating healthier foods and reducing portion sizes gradually. Attempting to lose weight quickly can be highly frustrating and will increase anxiety and burnout rather than reducing it. Such attempts rarely produce sustainable results, and the goal here isn’t just to lose weight, but to live healthy. Avoid the junk foods, processed foods, sodas, etc. and add in the fruits and veggies (and protein) that you know you should be having. It will improve your health, your energy levels and your mental outlook.
2. Exercise – Most of us live a relatively sedentary life these days compared to years gone by and that takes its toll on us in a variety of ways, most notably in anxiety and burnout. Finding time to spend 2 hours in the gym every day is probably not realistic, but that doesn’t mean we should do nothing. Start small and build your health. Begin by “moving” more. Get up and get out and take a walk. Walking is one the best and most beneficial exercises you can do. Gradually increase your pace and distance to maximize your benefits. If joining a gym is out of the question, there are a number of exercises you can do at home ranging from yoga and stretching to light weight training. There is no need to get fancy with your workouts, the basics will do just fine, just keep moving.
3. Get outside – One of the most beneficial things for me in combatting Covid was getting outside and into the sunshine and fresh air. We were told to stay inside, isolate and wearing masks. I will tell you the opposite, get outside in the sunshine and fresh air and spend time with those you love and who support you. My wife and I had to make ourselves do it, but it was the best thing for us and helped us more than anything else. The healing and restorative power of sunshine, fresh air and exercise cannot be overstated and cannot be replaced by pills in a bottle or vaccines in a syringe.
4. Change your routines – Another way to overcome the anxiety and burnout is to change up your routines. We get stuck in a rut and we do the same things over and over and it wears us down. Switch things up and do something different. Change keeps us fresh and alert. Try new activities, new places and new ways of doing routine things.
“Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Two words of advice here regarding relationships:
1. Get rid of bad relationships in your life
2. Build new relationships with those who are likeminded
One of the most damaging things about the Covid fiasco was how the media and the government used it to divide our nation putting families, friends, loved ones, and co-workers in adversarial roles against one another. However, it has served the purpose of exposing toxic relationships in our lives, and those need to be addressed. Removing the negativity from your life by limiting your exposure to relationships that are toxic is one way to reduce your own anxiety and burnout. Avoid those who bring you down and constantly discourage you. It can be difficult to sever ties from long standing relationships, but it can be beneficial in the long run.
Find people who are likeminded with you in your values, your faith and your core beliefs and surround yourself with them. They are your people, and they will encourage you, support you and bring light and life back into your world. You can find these people in all walks of life, at a good church, at work, in your extended family and even on social media. Build those relationships and cherish them.
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Hebrews 10:24, 25
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Romans 12:1, 2
Anxiety and burnout will affect you physically, but they are most damaging in how they affect your mind. Our mental health, our outlook and our long term stability are all challenged by fear, depression, anxiety and burnout.
1. Evaluate what is going into your mind and how it is affecting you
What are you putting into your mind?
– Mainstream news?
– Social Media?
Take a hard look at the steady stream of what is going into your heart and into your mind and be intentional about what you allow there. Renewing your mind by spending time in God’s Word is an excellent way to begin to see how the negative influences around you have been affecting you. And don’t overlook how junk foods and lack of exercise can impact your mental outlook.
We need to realize our battle isn’t with “flesh and blood” or the physical world around us, but rather it is a spiritual warfare of ideas, culture and mindset in the spiritual realm. We cannot win the battle against anxiety, depression, discouragement, fear and oppression with conventional weapons, but rather we need the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
2. Start something new
This can be an excellent way to overcome anxiety and burnout. We tend to get focused on our situation and circumstances and we lose sight of everything else, including the goodness of God.
• Begin a devotional time reading the Bible and praying
• Learn a new skill
• Take up a new hobby
3. Renew your faith
These have been challenging times and it is reasonable to believe that many have started to have doubts about what is real, what is fake, what to believe, what to reject. Circumstances and the cares of this world can even lead some to question the goodness and presence of God in their lives.
Take this time to renew your faith and your relationship with God and Christ. Spend time reading His Word again and listening to the Holy Spirit as He speaks to you. Find a good church where you will be encouraged in the grace and love of God in your life and where believers will provide the necessary fellowship to sustain you. Believe God again anew and fresh for his promises to you. Claim them and speak them over your life and trust God to bring them to pass. God is good, all the time, all the time, God is good.
4. Meditate on the positive
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:8, 9
Push negative thinking out of your life (and negative people) and focus on the positive things around you. Fill your heart and mind with the promises of God and meditate on those things instead of dwelling in the land of discouragement and despair.
5. Avoid fear in your life
The anxiety and burnout from Covid was designed (I believe purposely) to produce fear in our lives so that we could be controlled and surrender our freedom and our rights (and money) to the powers that be. That is why it is critical we face this anxiety and burnout head on and beat it. Refuse to live in fear any longer and instead, choose to live in faith.
We have been lied to, manipulated, bullied, intimidated, threatened, coerced, bribed and more all in the name of Covid. Fear has driven many to compromise their beliefs, surrender their freedoms and to do things we would have never believed possible a short few years ago. Whether it is fear of the future, fear of failure, fear of finances or anything else, fear has no place in your life.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6, 7
Covid was an assault not only on our physical health, but on our faith as well. You do not have to live in fear. You can choose to live in the promises of God. Believe in God, His goodness, His provision, His healing, His promises and begin to walk again by faith and not by sight.
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”