Burnout, Sanity, and Too Much Thinking

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September 15, 2013 by lucieromarin

Many, many people are on the lookout for something. Whether the issue is women, the environment, unborn children, free speech, the proletariat, the Sacred Liturgy, the rise of the Left or the rise of the Right, the world is full of groups of people talking earnestly amongst themselves about their issue of choice and looking out together for crimes against it.

Well, the first thing I have to say is that if you find worrying about the world’s diminishing bee population exhausting, or you find being on the lookout for Patriarchy pretty time-consuming, or you’re overwhelmed by all the liturgical abuse everywhere, then spare a thought for those religious persons who –  as a reward for being more broadly interested in the world than they’re given credit for – think not only about liturgical abuse, unborn children, religious freedom, and the simultaneous rise (rises?) of secular humanism, Islam and the occult, but also about the diminishing bee population, farming, pollution, illiteracy, sweat-shop labour, and child-trafficking!

So, if you’re burnt out, and you’ve chosen to take time off for recuperation, you might have noticed something…which is that you can’t switch off your mind, and your mind is in the habit of taking note of every problem in the world, partly with a view to asking, “What am I doing to stop this?” This is particularly true of cholerics, as they have a habit of making connections and needing to take action; they can see the link between bad liturgy, sweat shop labour, and bees, and their whole beings urge them to act upon what they see.

You don’t want to become complacent; you don’t want to stop caring, or, worse, become the sort of person who contributes to said problems through not caring. At the same time, you really, really need a break. What can you do?

The first thing is to know if you’re a choleric. The impulses of nature are not necessarily commands from God, the Church, duty, or anything else. This recovery period is your chance to train your temperament to work for you instead of killing you with its urgency. You’re learning the difference between your yellow bile and God!

It’s also important to realise that your holiday or recovery time, far from being an abdication of duty, is actually a chance to perform the most important duty, which is to show that you believe that God really is in charge of everything, which means He’s perfectly capable of keeping things going while you sort out your life.

Don’t forget that doing the right thing releases more grace into the world than does doing that-which-is-usually-assumed-to-be-the-right-thing, if that makes sense. I mean that if you need to rest, then you resting is better for the world than not-resting out of habit, fear, guilt, or – admit it – pride.

Bear in mind that the sense of eternal accountability for action-not-taken, while being valid to a point, doesn’t actually mandate prolonged, intense emotions, circular conversations, or single-issue activity. Burnout is not the sign that you’re less generous than other people; it’s the sign that you’re going about commitment the wrong way.

Practically speaking, the best thing for your mind is to avoid conversations about Issues for a while. That means not only small groups of people who are going to discuss the same thing over and over; it means also changing what you read; reduce the amount of issue-themed reading, and on no account get involved in combox flame-wars!

This sounds weird, but it also helps to a) get outdoors a bit and b) go to places you don’t usually go, even if it’s just a different cafe or grocery store. This is recreation for your mind; the stimulus of new sights and sounds can stir up fresh ideas that are wholly your own, and the pleasure of it helps you to worry less about the bees.

I can promise that all of this doesn’t mean you become a non-caring person. It’s more likely to mean that you find yourself, at the end of your recovery, with a truer sense of the issues that are most important to you. Your commitment to them will be different, too, because your relationship with God will be better. Everyone wins!

 

One thought on “Burnout, Sanity, and Too Much Thinking

  1. M says:

    couldn’t agree more!!!!

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