It happens to most if not all of us. Moments where we feel there is more on our plate than we can handle, where we feel tired, overwhelmed and out of our depth, or thoroughly fed up and ready to quit. Some people will develop serious health issues if that feeling continues for long periods of time without letting up. Others seem to thrive on high pressure, adrenaline-fuelled activity that never seems to stop.

We are all different. One thing we all have in common though is that somehow, at the end of the day, energy in and energy out, up and down time, a sense of fulfilment and frustration, and purpose and aggravation have to balance out somehow to make us feel comfortable and ease with in life.

So how can we help ourselves be in the ‘comfortable and at ease’ zone more often than that ‘burned out and depleted of energy zone’ where most of us really don’t like to be?

First of all it is important to keep breathing. Literally. When we are at ease our breathing will also be at ease and as soon as we are out of sorts that will inevitably be reflected in the way we breathe. Fast, slow, deep or shallow.

The next thing to pay attention to is probably to become aware of how much energy has been expended and if it is anywhere near the amount new energy has been taken in. You may be feeling tired for a reason. If your phone is not charged it will not work and it is the same with your body. If your energy levels are depleted your body and mind will not work as well as when you’re fully charged. It may be time to wonder what it is that charges you?

You may want to consider going for a walk, that might work well in stabilising your breathing as well. Or a cup of tea on your own or with a friend may be the ticket. For me it all depends. Different things will charge me at different times.

Over the years I have gained more and more insight in what might work for me at any given time. And perhaps it is time for you to reflect on that a little now before you find yourself in the next situation of overwhelm wondering what to do.

Watch my online session on Burnout and self-care here.

Anneke Oppewal
Presbytery Minister – Pastoral