How to keep high energy when you get tired

I was asked by a staff member to give some advice on how to keep energy high in ministry when you get stressed and tired.

I tend to do this naturally, and find it frustrating and discouraging when those around me, including fellow ministers, let sickness and tiredness get to them: a meeting where they become fuzzy, a conference where their preaching declines over the weekend, an event where they start to become quiet and flat.

But how do you keep high energy? What is it that I naturally do?

In a search for conscious competence, I googled sports psychology sites on ‘focus’ and ‘staying in the zone’. Here’s a list compiled of my own hints and some of my googling:

  1. Pray to God for energy and bring the needs and issues before him.

  2. Meditate again on the purpose of the event, meeting or sermon. Think about the impact it is supposed to have on the lives of others for God’s glory.

  3. Think about the duty you have to others, what they need from you and what you alone are able to give to them.

  4. Visualise ‘wild success’. But do more than VISUALise: let yourself feel and smell and taste success. That is, engage your senses and imagination in picturing a positive outcome. And picture yourself contributing to that outcome.

  5. Freshen up: wash your face, shave, wear clean, ironed clothes.

  6. Exercise and eat well. Hit the gym or the pool or the bike track. And have a big brekkie.

  7. (Naughty advice: drug yourself up on coffee, sugar and, if you’re sick, pseudoephedrine. Shh! I didn’t say that.)

  8. Stay relaxed. Stress sends off bad vibes. AND it sucks your energy away from where you need it. Slow breathing. Walk slowly. Move slowly. Hang loose.

  9. Do warm up drama school stuff. Vocal warms ups. Physical shaking and jiggling.

  10. Talk to yourself (‘C’mon’. ‘Nearly there’). Talk to your team. Talk to God!

  11. Build up some routines around these kinds of things to help you get back into the zone. I think of Rafa Nadal pushing hair behind his ears and pulling his shorts out of his bum before every point when he plays tennis.

  12. In addition to staying relaxed and loose, also do energising actions: jumping, slapping knees, bending knees.

  13. Keep smiling, keep your face expressive, your posture good, your gestures strong and sure.

  14. Keep your voice loud, clear, varying and keep enunciating clearly.

  15. Only focus on what you can control. Don’t get distracted by things you can’t fix.

If there are any sports psychologists or musicians or drama teachers among my readers I’d love your input!

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