Stress & Burnout




It is impossible to live in a world without stress. It is natural but can be managed to what is felt or interpreted. Stress is a response your body makes to any demand placed upon it. When we think of stress, we often think negatively but there is also good stress. 


* Good Stress (eutress) is associated with feelings of joy, fulfillment, and achievement.


* Bad Stress (distress) may involve prolonged and frequent transactions that takes place between you and your environment.


These outside events impinge on your belief system, your brain interprets what is happening and tells your body how to respond. Many people will "fight or flight" when this occurs. Adrenalin is pumped into the bloodstream, blood is diverted from various organs to the brain and muscles, pupils dilate, hands and feet perspire, breathing and heart rate increases, etc. The body is on alarm response.


There are many reasons for stress:

  • The disparity between idealistic expectations and reality.
  • Lack of clear defined boundaries-tasks that never get done, workaholic, "I have to do everything" mentality.
  • Peter Principle-feeling inadequate in leading an army of volunteers.
  • Conflict in being a leader, trying to please everyone.
  • Trying to be a "servant" to everyone.
  • Time management problems.
  • Problems with self-esteem.
  • Multiplicity of roles.
  • Inability to produce a "win-win" conflict resolution.
  • Clergy being basically insecure, lonely and too serious.




Burnout is emotional exhaustion. Burnout can cause you to give up on something to which you have been passionately committed. Burnout can cause you to:

  • Leave your church too soon.
  • Quit doing what God has called you to do.
  • Give up on your dreams.
  • Change your attitude and personality.
  • Damage your most important relationships.
  • Be lead to moral failure and sexual sin.

Burnout is not usually found in lazy people. Men and women who suffer burnout are usually purposeful, committed, unselfish and somewhat idealistic servants of God. Burnout often hits people who believe, commit and serve with all their heart, in the area toward which they believe God has directed their commitment and involvement.


Burnout can lead to depression, discouragement, isolation, chronic fatigue, paranoia, becoming critical and judgmental of others, martyr complex, rejection, messiah complex and a lack of inspiration in your teaching or preaching.


Symptoms of Burnout:

Fatigue... frequent illnesses... sleep problems... disillusionment with work... cynicism toward people and church... sense of helplessness and hopelessness... feeling of powerless to change events... anger toward the "system"...depression and isolation... detachment from others... absenteeism... harshness in dealing with colleagues... reduced commitment to work.


Please clink on the links below for more detailed information on stress & burnout.  These are helpful articles for you or someone else in your church.  


                                                                                                                                        Pastoral Care Staff


Printable Version
Stress Burnout.docx
Microsoft Word document [19.5 KB]
PDF Format
Stress Burnout.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [81.4 KB]
Printable Format
How to Handle Stress.docx
Microsoft Word document [22.9 KB]
PDF Format
How to Handle Stress.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [138.4 KB]

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