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What's Your Capacity?

Lately, I’ve had numerous conversations with folks about burnout.

Friends, family members and clients alike are all feeling overextended and questioning their ability to juggle the care and concerns of others as easily as they have in the past. Honestly, nothing about today is remotely like our pasts so to expect our coping abilities to have remained constant is unrealistic.

In years past, we were able to get outside every day, go to our workplaces and schools, and communicate face-to-face with people. Now many of us are living our lives on computer screens which has created more distance than ever before. Once upon a time, we may have dreamed about not having to leave our homes to go to work but we’re really missing that human interaction. That’s something that we never considered.

I think a lot of people are feeling lonely; in fact, it’s been called an epidemic of loneliness as much as a viral epidemic. So people are expressing needs that we are unable to meet because we ourselves have great needs. We’re all running on empty and you can’t pour from an empty cup. There’s nothing wrong with you; you’re tired and a bit weary.

This is a great time to start building some “me time” into each day. Whether you take a bubble bath, carve out time for a leisurely cup of coffee and read your news online or watch an old comedy, take a walk with a friend or your pet, schedule a mani/pedi, or just turn off all the noise and sit and meditate on the goodness of God. It’s important to unplug from all the distractions; you need to be able to get away from the tug and pull of everyone that would distract you from whatever fills you up.

You don’t have to get away for an entire weekend unless you can. You can take an hour a day or 15 minute breaks every few hours to just unplug. Not everything we devote our time to is as urgent as we think it is. We have to learn to discern what we’re called to handle and what we’ve convinced ourselves needs our attention. Sometimes we cripple people by rushing to their aid too quickly and not allowing them to figure out what they can do on their own.

You can still be available for people but perhaps not as available as they are used to you being. There’s no shame in saying that your resources are limited. Sometimes people just want you to listen; it’s not always necessary to do anything. Learn how to be an example of self-care so that others will recognize it when they see it and learn how to give that gift to themselves. Often we lend the biggest hand when we simply lend a listening ear.


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