January 12, 2024

Burnout Culture: Is it Possible to Rest and Achieve?

How do we address the problem of burnout in our modern society?

Burnout. A word that has become increasingly popular in our western culture, and not without good reason. Because life is, well, life, we have all certainly experienced seasons of burnout marked by constant depletion—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We are all susceptible to the drive and pressure to work harder and longer. Sometimes it seems as though there is a societal gold star for who can rest the least. At what point do we drift from a busy season, marked by the promise of a finish line, to a lifestyle we subtly maintain in pursuit of the shifty “dangling carrot?”  

Infusing a new narrative into our culture can begin with our own lives. We have the ability to adopt a conscious value of tending to ourselves. Not in quite the same vein of the similar newly-coined term these days, “self-care,” but observing rhythms and habits that create our own culture of valuing rest as part of our lives as much as we value achievement. Does it have to be one or the other? If we choose rest, are we saying we do not value hard work? If we choose to push ourselves without proper rest, are we fearful of appearing lazy or perhaps hope to be admired for our perseverance? The perspective shift comes when we acknowledge that incorporating rest as part of tending to ourselves actually helps us align with our purpose and achieve long-term, without burnout creeping around every corner.

All it takes is a small change to eventually ripple-effect our lifestyles. A simple place to begin can be to take inventory of our bodies and listen to the quiet signs it sends. Perhaps the signs that were once quiet have now become quite boisterous. God created our bodies with incredible agility to regulate stress, and attuning to the way our bodies cope with stress can become the birthplace of new rhythms of rest. And by making the choice to rest as a response to our physical stress, we are communicating to God that we trust him to provide what we need that we have been striving for in our own strength.

Thrive Center


Continue Exploring


Want to become more present, healthy, and connected? Pay attention to your body (Part 1)


Want to become more present, healthy, and connected? Pay attention to your body (Part 2)


A Practice: Observing the Body for Understanding

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