Taking time

The Taylor family awoke in a very reflective mood this Sunday morning. With a lot on our minds. The last few months have been very tiring on so many levels. School restarts fully for the mini Taylor’s on Tuesday having had an extended break following a family holiday, which although brilliant was thoroughly exhausting. I have one child struggling to wake up and has made a nest on the sofa. One child in tears just thinking about putting on clothes and a wife who is so full of cold that she cannot breath let alone think straight.

And all this before the term has started. Which lead to long conversations about how we look after ourselves and what resources we have to give.

So, rather than gathering with our church community today we did what was essential: gave ourselves space. Instead of rushing down breakfast, fighting the tangles in the hair, battling what is the most appropriate/practical choice of clothing for the next 2 hours we stopped, took a breath and did what we needed to do. Had a decent coffee, a nice breakfast and time and space to be together as a family. Recognising the sabbath, we broke bread as a family and contemplated some things that were bigger than ourselves and simply gave thanks.

This was a really touching and beautiful moment as a family.

But this has led me to consider the wider impact on me and my counselling practice. We have a limited well of energy to draw on and limited recourses to give out before we are empty and there is a constant need to replenish. There requires a constant ebb and flow of giving and replenishing.  If we wait until we have nothing left to give we reach burn out and are unable to give anything else at all.

yerkes-dodson-law
Yerkes Dodson Law of Pressure vs. Performance

We often wonder if to stop burn out we need to remove pressure from our lives but actually we can see from the image above pressure can be not only good but a motivating force. As we are pressured so we perform become more alert and focused. We’re stretched to achieve and to a point it is helpful. The right amount of pressure actually is a contributing factor to bringing out of you an optimum performance. Of course we need to be fully aware that too much pressure can cause burn out. And with burn out comes more than just a zero level of performance. Your physical and mental health are affected, relationships can suffer and you can have many other symptoms depending on who you are, the nature of the pressure and your ability to process it. So what do we do to ensure that we don’t reach burn out? One simple word…..

Replenishment

One definition of replenishment is really valuable as we look to avoid burn out. So many times we believe that we need to simply stop doing what ever we are doing and rest. Disappear into a cave until we have recharged the batteries. This can be essential if you have reached burn out, but in order to ensure we never reach this point  there has to be balance to what we do. My friend Sonia speaks a lot about caring for yourself and her blog is well worth a read from the perspective from someone that has a nurture roll with children.

I love the picture that to replenish ourselves we need substance necessary for life and growth [nourish] or to find ways to stimulate our energies, ideals, or reverence [Inspire]. What does this look like? For some it will be a walk or bike ride (exercise helps on many levels) for others it is being still, and for some a pint with your mate. But what is it for you? Well thats for you to decide. But this is not a simple “oh” moment where you realise what your THIING is but a challenge to you…. If you don’t put these things into practice now, how long will it be before you reach burn out? I’d love to know what it is for you.

 

2 Replies to “Taking time”

  1. for me it is being outside, walking around the meadow at the back of our house and swimming each day morning Monday-Friday. I love this post today Will, hope you and the family enjoy having that time and space today

    Like

    1. Thanks Sonia. It opens up huge conversations going forward about how and where we give time and energy, how we replenish and spend time together. Exciting conversations to have I think

      Like

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