The September Mental Load: how is yours?

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14 Sep, 2023

The September heatwave seems to have passed, maybe officially leaving summer behind, and I have noticed the phrase ‘September Mental Load’ being mentioned over coffees, and explored on social media. As courses begin, church clubs start up again, volunteers re-shuffle, kids and students transition to new school years or environments; with that comes a new wave of the organising, the planning, the scheduling, the sorting, the throwing out, the buying in, the meetings … and the window of opportunity opens between end of summer and the October week, because after that, Christmas!

Breathe friends, breathe!

It can be too easy, too familiar, to become caught up again in the busyness and rhythm of full diaries, school runs, church meetings, launching of clubs, and as I paused to very intentionally inhale and exhale this week, this phrase came to mind around the mental load.

The mental load is the unseen labour that goes on inside of us.

It is the cognitive labour occurring in your brain: making decisions, weighing up options, gathering information, processing, preparing, prioritising…it goes on.

And it is the emotional labour connected with how we are feeling about all of these things as we manage expectations (both our own and others), process new beginnings and explore the emotions around change and transition. We may feel excitement at something new, guilt at saying no, overwhelmed with so much to do, anxiety with what we need to organise and lead, or stress at managing those relationships well.

This can be an exciting time of year, and it can for many also feel a little overwhelming. So let’s tap the pause button for a moment and ask yourself:

How is my mental load looking right about now?

In what ways does the intersection of these two areas impact on my spiritual life?

In what ways am I being intentional about not just creating a space for God, but integrating His presence into every area of life? My workplace, my home life, my church, my leadership team, my neighbours, my local community…

As we move into this perhaps chaotic new season of life, why not create some intentional space and ask God where we can share some, or even all, of that mental load. Let’s invite God to help us filter our thoughts and feelings to create the space that perhaps He has been seeking in order to make us new; to encounter the Holy Spirit afresh; to remind us that Jesus brings life in all its fullness. And to remind us the mental load was never designed for us to carry or process alone, if it was designed at all!

In this Scottish Baptist Union we are made up of a really rich and diverse network of individuals and churches , and thanks to that we have some brilliant opportunities coming up to support you in this next season, to equip you and perhaps ease the mental load. Maybe another event is the last thing you think you need, or maybe this has arrived at just the right time. So do take a look at what is coming up as we have opportunities to slow down, to create space for prayer and to gather. To help you navigate some of the questions and processes you might be exploring right now. To join together and be encouraged both as churches and individuals.

We would love to connect with you or see you involved with some of these opportunities, and I would invite you to read through this edition of Connect and ask God to shine a spotlight on what He would have you pray for or do. And if you feel God inspiring you to get more involved or share with something new, we are always delighted to hear from you.

By Lyndsay Cameron-Ross

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