Running on Empty – How to Prevent Burnout

We’ve all been there…. We have youth night one night, a retreat next weekend, and your parent meeting for Confirmation is right around the corner.The spring is one of the busiest times of the year in youth ministry, and the schedule is tight. You seem to be running on empty, and you feel as if you could burn out at any minute…

The good news is, you do not have to burn out or run until your tank is empty. There are things you can do, physically, mentally, and spiritually to prevent burn out. Here are a few ideas that can help you replenish yourself during this busy time of year.

Physical Health

Eat Healthy

Man was not meant to live on pizza alone. Eat a well balanced diet including lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Drink plenty of water. Listen to your body, and grab a healthy snack if you feel tired and need an energy boost. If you have a medical issue that requires special dietary needs, such as diabetes, consult your doctor about what is healthy for you to eat and let your doctor know if you are having any health problems.

Get regular sleep

It is important to get around eight hours of solid sleep every night. Sleep replenishes our energy reserves so we can be productive when we are working. It also rejuvenates us physically, so we can process things clearly and reduce stress.


It is important to get regular exercise several times a week for at least thirty minutes. Pick a physical activity you enjoy, such as walking, playing basketball, or swimming, and just do it. Fun, physical activity can be one of the greatest stress relievers and burnout prevention methods of them all.

Mental Health

Take time for yourself

Even if it is a five minute break, take it if you need it. God did not make us to be constantly working. We are not robots. We are human beings who need appropriate time for self-care. The mental break can do wonders for preventing burn out.

If you are feeling totally overwhelmed and need someone to talk to, do it! Talk to a trusted family member or friend. Seek professional counseling if necessary.

God did not make us to go through life alone, and you do not have to think you are alone and burned out. You are worth seeking the help you need.Click To Tweet

Spiritual Health

Go to Mass

Let Jesus give you the strength you need in the Eucharist and in His Word proclaimed.

Go to Adoration

Spend time with Jesus in Adoration. Pour your heart out to Him and let Him rejuvenate you.

Seek Spiritual Direction.

Having a good spiritual director is a wonderful way to grow spiritually and prevent burnout. They can help guide you in your spiritual growth and your life of prayer. Go to Confession. Experiencing Jesus’ healing in the Sacrament of Reconciliation releases you from the burden of sin so that you experience His peace and forgiveness. Therefore, it can also be a wonderful tool for preventing stress and burnout because we let go of all of that weight of sin that clings so closely (cf. Hebrews 12:1) when we go to Confession.

We need to take the time we need to take care of ourselves… to be the best we can be for our teens and the families we serve. Also, we are an example to our teens. We are to be the best examples of a healthy lifestyle we can be for them. They deserve the best, and you deserve the time and energy you need to be the best you can be!

God bless you, and Happy Spring!

Melissa Hagen

Melissa Hagen holds a Master’s Degree in Theology and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She has served in religious education and youth ministry for over ten years at both the middle school and high school levels.
A convert to Catholicism as a young adolescent from a Baptist and Methodist background, Ms. Hagen has always enjoyed passing on the riches of the Catholic faith with young people. She is currently very active preparing teens for the Sacrament of Confirmation as a member of her Church’s Confirmation Core Team. When she is not busy serving teens, she enjoys watching movies and spending time with her awesome family!

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