Archive for March, 2010

Running on Empty

Posted: March 25, 2010 in Stress Management

I had a recent scare when I’d completely forgotten to pump fuel for the car and was literally nervous if I’d reach my destination car and person intact. I’m not an irrational person in general and the men around me would do the math (no. of litres of reserve fuel x km/litre minus no. of km to destination) and tell me there’s nothing to be anxious about. But the reserve fuel indicator had been blinking uncannily for quite awhile so I switched off the music and the air-conditioning and kept my fingers very crossed. I never want to be put in that position ever again.

It’s funny (not in a haha way) but I’ve been feeling like I’ve been running on empty in my own life and at work. I think we all know how that feels. I get up in the morning and I’m just not too sure if I have enough energy to last through the day so I dig deep into my reserve tank and somehow manage to do so. And then the cycle repeats itself the next day and the next…and then I start wondering when will  the reserve tank itself run dry? Then what do I do?

I think too many of us (teachers and students alike) wait too long for the tank to run dry (and in case you’re wondering I’m no longer talking about cars) before deciding that we have no choice but to do something about it. I mean it’s great if we manage to fill it up just in time before it hits rock bottom but sadly some people don’t manage to. They go into a state of paralysis (much like a car without fuel stalls), they burnout, withdraw and perhaps even become depressed. So it just got me thinking, why wait so long to fill the tank? Why even wait till it goes into reserve?

And there are many things in life that would help us fill that tank again. It might be going to watch a funny movie, taking a long walk, have a good, long conversation with our good friends or just chill-lax a little (I just learned this new funky word) with your favourite television program. Or it could be on a more philosophical level and we could realign our priorities in life and cast a new vision for why we’re doing what we’re doing. I’m beginning to sound like a bloody motivational speaker…haha. The list goes on and it’s different for everyone.

So if you’ve been feeling stressed up and high strung whether it’s about tests and revision or dealing with conflict at home or in school or something else, ask yourself how you can fill your tank today. Don’t wait till it goes into reserve because you still have some ways to go. Talk to your teachers or me about it if you’re already running on reserve and you’re not too sure what you can do about it.

My personal fuel gauge is doing better now and I also have a full tank in my car. I looked at the thank you cards that some of my counselling students wrote to me and gave myself a clap on the back. I also took some time during the March school holidays and went to climb a mountain and had a picnic by the river. It was so serene…so calm…so beautiful. It was exactly what I needed to fill my tank. 🙂