Weekly Blog - Emily Smith - Balance and Burn-Out
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Posted on: 24th January 2023

Last week, New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced that she would be stepping down from this role as she “no longer had enough in the tank” to continue working as she has been.

We at Leeds Sanctuary recorded our latest round of podcasts just a day before, and while our podcast “streams” are planned to stand alone, it’s interesting to me that there are often common threads that pull through our conversations. This time there was discussion across three of our podcasts about balance – how do we pursue our work, passions, and/or responsibilities without finding ourselves mentally or physically burnt out?

There’s been an increase in emphasis on “self-care” in our culture over the last few years, but I notice that often the techniques that are best advertised or most spoken of often create an additional commitment in our calendar. That’s not to say that taking time to exercise or go to a spa are not valuable things to do, it’s just interesting that in a very busy, very fast-paced culture, our response to the acknowledgement that we are wearing thin is to find more things to do!

We know that working is what God intended for us (Genesis 2:15 tells us that “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”), but we also know from experience that we overdo it. In the Old Testament, God tells the Israelites that every seventh day they should stop and rest. God models this in Genesis on the seventh day, when God completes creation and spends that day resting and enjoying what God has made. Practicing Sabbath is an invitation and a discipline – to clear space in the calendar and just be; resting in God and God’s creation. Could disruption of busyness and unhealthy lifestyles be as simple as that?

At Leeds Sanctuary, our ultimate vision is of a city of people who are flourishing. To this end, our regular communities and events offer opportunities to slow down, perhaps even pause for a time, and take something away which better equips them for the days ahead. They may come to our Monday Mindfulness sessions, join us for a coffee at our monthly Saturday Sanctuary gathering, or attend our Enneagram Retreat which will equip them with tools to better understand themselves and others.

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