5 Tips for restoring your soul

The pandemic is taking a toll on each of us. As I listen to people, it strikes me that many of us currently live in a state of depletion. Feeling depleted is a little different to feeling fatigued. When we are depleted, even rest may not make us feel much better. Our inner capacity has been drained. We have given out too much energy, spent too much of ourselves and the well has run dry.

It’s not surprising that many of us feel depleted. In this time, we may have found ourselves worried about the health of loved ones, grieving losses, experiencing strain on relationships, or new financial constraints. We may not have been able to get away for a proper holiday. Social gatherings are still very limited and our usual ways of worship are not fully possible. Many of the events which may have previously invigorated us are still on pause. There is little certainty about how long it will be before vaccines become available for all.

More than ever, we need to find ways to restore our souls. One way that can be helpful is to look out intentionally for moments of beauty in the day – a sunrise if we wake up early enough to catch it; the trees beginning to change into autumn colours; the patterns in the clouds. And when we notice a moment of beauty, we pause and allow ourselves to savour it as a gift from the one who created it.

Another way to find an oasis, is to take time each day to pray. Perhaps light a candle and sit with a line of scripture or poetry and see what it stirs in us. For some, sacred music can be a powerful doorway into prayer. We may simply want to become aware of God’s gaze resting on us.

One of the most powerful conduits of restoration is creating something. This can feed us with new energy and with a strong sense of partnering with God. The process also demands all our focus and can give us a worry-free zone. It could be planting something, trying a new recipe, writing, or playing with paints (you don’t have to be artistic!)

Play can be helpful. What did you enjoy doing as a child? Blowing bubbles, curling up with a good book, or doing a puzzle with a friend? Movement allows us to feel alive, whether it is going for a walk or run or dancing to a piece of music.

Gratitude also helps to fill the well. Taking time to remember people, places and experiences for which we are most grateful. Expressing our gratitude, for example, by writing a letter of thanks to someone whose life has touched ours, can also be a profound experience.

If you are depleted and need restoration, you may want to pause and notice what you need to fill the well. Ask yourself, “How can I open myself to receive that gift from God?”

Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell

Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell has worked in the area of Ignatian Spirituality for 19 years and heads up the work of the Jesuit Institute School of Spirituality. Her primary focus is the training and supervision of spiritual directors and the giving of retreats. She is also a registered Psychologist and her PhD focused on the interface between Christian Spirituality and Psychology. Annemarie is an editorial advisor to “The Way” journal of Spirituality and has authored a number of articles relating to the training of Spiritual Directors in an African context. She has contributed to several books, most recently co-authoring a book of Lenten Reflections: “Long Journey to the Resurrection”. She has contributed to international conferences and consultations in Spirituality in the United Kingdom; the United States; Rome; Spain, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

a.paulin-campbell@jesuitinstitute.org.za @annemariepc_c
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  • M C Andersen
    Posted at 16:04h, 24 Apr

    Thank you for this advice, Annemarie. Been in lockdown for over a year.

  • Heather Griffin
    Posted at 13:11h, 28 Apr

    Thank you so much for this Annemarie – for everything there is a season – for me this is the season of restoration …

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