One morning last week as my husband and I were in the kitchen getting breakfast ready for kids, he looked at me and said, “I don’t know the word but I’m so…” I started spouting off feeling words that I thought would fit given his recent circumstances. “You are so worn out? Burnout? Defeated? Exhausted?” I kept striking out. A few minutes later he looked at me and said, “I’m so weary!” Weary was the perfect word that I would never have guessed.
So what is the feeling, weary? It’s not on any of the feeling charts in my office. Some definitions of weary from the Merriam-Webster dictionary are “exhausted in strength, endurance, vigor, or freshness” and “having one’s patience, tolerance, or pleasure exhausted.” My non-counselor husband described what we both have been feeling off and on for months.
I am wondering how many of you have also been feeling weary. Weary after the prolonged summer, weary from no routine, weary from the news, weary from monotony, weary from virtual school, weary from a loss, weary from trials, just plain weary. No one wants to stay here permanently. What do we do if we are weary?
I think the answer is rest. Before you tune the remainder of this blog post out, thinking you don’t have time for any type of rest, read on and pick one small way to engage in rest. It can be physical, emotional/mental, or spiritual rest.
Is it possible for you to physically get some rest and catch a nap while your partner or a friend watches the kids for a bit? Can you sleep in one weekend despite your long to do list? To do lists will never end. Maybe there are some tasks you can to do a little more leisurely and less vigorously to feel rest and not wear yourself out. Hydrate and eat decently. There is only one of you, lowering the expectations of how much you accomplish or produce in a day can give you physical rest and a sense of relief.
Our minds have a tendency to wander and live in the “what ifs” as our recent blog post addressed, ruminate over the past, and stay stuck in negative spin cycles. Guard your thoughts. If a certain topic or imagined scenario produces negative emotional reactions make the choice to stop thinking about it. Yes, easier said than done, but I would encourage you to take those harmful thoughts captive and alter your thinking. Gratitude can give you a break mentally. Mindfulness and meditation can help you stay in the present and focus on life without judgment. We can all use that! If you are constantly in your head and it feels like a battlefield, I would encourage you to talk to someone about it, journal your thoughts, and reach out to a counselor.
When I think of rest from a spiritual perspective, this song, “Quiet You with My Love” from artist Rebecca St. James comes to mind. Through this song I imagine surrendering everything, especially the weariness and experiencing rest in God. Prayer, music, journaling, and reading Scripture are a big part of my spiritual rest. I would encourage you to do something to promote spiritual rest for yourself too. What feeds your soul?
I have come to the somewhat defeating realization that I will never get done in a day what I want to accomplish. For my type A, task oriented, and achievement-loving self, I could be setup to live weary. If I reframe my thinking to remember that I am raising children and helping others, my mindset is lifted and broadened. Moment by moment, day by day, I encourage you to remember what is most important, I hope this mindset along with practical ways to help you rest physically, emotionally, and spiritually leaves you less weary.
Resting with you,
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