Beating Burn Out: Conquering In Community with Dr. Stan Ward

Caregiver? Parent? Spouse? Leader? Boss? Student? Yes, all of the above!
 
Dr. Stan Ward shares his own experience and offers some practical tips on beating burn out.
 
You could say Stan is an accidental expert on burn-out.
 
I love this shot of Stan and Mindy Ward, shown above. What a devoted couple! Just in time for Father’s Day, Stan opens up about beating burn out.

Accidental Expert

 

“When our school receptionist met me with a worried look as I came to work, I knew something was wrong,” he writes in an article for Crosswalk, “‘Stan, Mindy’s been in an accident. She says she is okay, though.’” (For Stan’s full article about keeping your marriage vows for better or worse, click here.)

His beloved wife Mindy suffered a head injury. Instantly, Stan’s life as he knew it came to a crashing halt with her wreck. 

Suddenly, he found himself attending therapy sessions of all varieties with his wife. Plus he cared for their two young daughters, cooked meals, did laundry, kept family schedules, in addition to his regular workload and his doctoral program. Oh my!

When burn out slams us, what can we do to take care of ourselves? In our interview, Stan shares practical tips he learned by experience. (Find more Fireside Talk Radio podcasts here.)

A Community of Good Friends

For instance, something as simple as insisting on taking a walk once a week together can make all the difference when a friend is going through a difficult time. 

With Father’s Day around the corner, Stan’s story reminds us all how important good men are when we need help. Specifically, he names two dear friends, Les Ellsworth and Chris Legg. 

Both Les and Chris provided practical support when Stan’s life collided with harsh reality. (Find Chris Legg’s 2 Best Life Hacks for Fathers here. Les’s wife, Oncology Nurse Susan Ellsworth also came on the show to tell her story of beating breast cancer.)

Burn Out Isn’t For Wimps

“Not only am I a leadership coach who helps people deal with burn-out, but I am also a guy who’s experienced it,” explains Stan with deep empathy. (Find his book, How To Beat Burnout: For Yourself, Your Family, and Your Team.)

Even while he’s celebrating Father’s Day later this month, he’s thinking about single moms. Stan’s parents divorced when he was a boy. While he enjoys great relationships with all his family members, single moms hold a special place in his heart.

“Let me just say, on behalf of your children, thirty maybe forty years from now—they’re probably not expressing it very well now—so on behalf of them in the future, just thank you! Thank you for the work you do,” he shouts out to all single moms.

The sacrificial love of mother can work miracles in the life of a child. Stan knows how hard it can be to manage everything else and also learn to be the caretaker when someone we love needs us. 

Beating Burn Out

The way Stan talks about his wife has always endeared him to me long before her accident. Now, because of their experience together, Stan has a perspective rare for men. Seriously, caregiving falls on women a lot. We all expect that. However, Stan understands first-hand how it feels to be sandwiched between raising kids and caring for a beloved family member. 

Often folks think of burn-out as something that happens at work. But he thinks we need to look again.

“Extreme stress, whether it’s home-related or work-related, has a very similar impact on people.” It can have severe physical consequences if we don’t take care of ourselves. “Stress has very real implications, burn out is one of them.”

Conquering in Community

“The first thing is to ask who is your community,” he says. Self-care is not selfish, according to Stan. But self-care may require accepting help from others, a hard thing for many of us.

Immediately after Mindy’s accident, Stan’s friend Les Ellsworth reached out and suggested they take a walk together, just once a week.”

“He’s such a fun guy, he’s hard to say no to,” laughs Stan, “With Les, thankfully he was able—just with his personality—to tap into my desire just to want to hang out with him.” Stan’s best advice—let people help you.

“First thing I would say is when people offer help, allow yourself to receive it,” he adds.

Anger in Adversity

It’s common to feel angry when life doesn’t unfold as we expect.

“I was still in school and working and stuff and realized I was just angry all the time,” he reports, “by the way, that can be a sign of burn out.”

He believes the Holy Spirit whispered his next thought in his heart.

“’Stan, your daughters will probably marry someone like you.  Who do you want them to marry?’ I kid you not, I pulled over the car right then!” He turned to his dear friend, Chris Legg. 

“He’s a counselor. I respect him.” (I frequently recommend Alethia as a place to start when you need a friend who counsels. And don’t forget Samaritan Counseling Center of East Texas for wisdom and help.)

Comedy or Tragedy?

Amazingly, God used the full range of experiences in Stan’s life to turn him into the compassionate husband, father, friend, and leader he is today. With joy, I thank him for sharing his story just in time for Father’s Day. Next week, we’re in for a treat because I asked Stan to share his wisdom, too. 

A good man is a blessing to multitudes of people.

“The basic difference between a comic story and a tragic story is comic stories end with community. Tragic stories end in isolation,” he says. I liked the way Stan explained the choices we make in life.

“If you’re struggling with burn out and you’re trying to figure out what you should do, choose the path you want to take,” he says. “Do you want the comic path or the tragic path? If you want the comic ending, you’ve got to choose community.

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day soon to all the GREAT dads we know and love. And to some mommies we know who are filling both roles. Also, I want to send a special shout out to two of the most fabulous daddies I know, Travis and Drew.

May we pray together?

Dear good Father, we are grateful for Your unfailing love. You are the one we turn to when we feel overwhelmed. For any reading or listening friends who today feel burned out, thank You for being their friend. Comfort them now with Your dear presence. Surround them with a community of people who will care enough to take a walk or pick up the phone for a conversation. Bless them with the strength, energy, perseverance, and quiet joy they need today. In Jesus’s name, we pray. Amen.

We LOVE to hear from YOU!

How has a good man been a true friend to you? When you need help, how does your community stepped up? What topics would you like for us to talk about next?

Prayer Request for us at Camp Krafve—

What’s up with this–our hosting site will again increase our costs. I love sharing other people’s fabulous messages, but the business side is ouch-y sometimes. Has anyone used Patreon? What did you think of them?

Please pray for us. First, I have to call the hosting site and figure out what’s happening on their end. Then, I’ll decide if I should use Patreon, recruit sponsors, or turn to google ads to help our website pay for itself. If you have any experience and can offer ideas, PLEASE contact me. 

Finally, thank you for your prayers. What would I do without YOU, my praying friends?! I am grateful.

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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A Semi-retired Mom, Queen of Fun, and Coffee Cup Philosopher Cathy Krafve pulls in exciting guests from all walks of life who rejoice in deeply spiritual truths.

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