This past weekend I’ve been fighting something… probably got it from my hubbie. Oh well!
It’s not coronavirus, just some sinus congestion. But let me tell you… a few years ago I was WORN out! It was a really busy time… I was trying to put together a camp for 200+ teenage girls with about 6 weeks lead time. Now, I was working with a group of women, so I was not alone by any means. But doing my paying job, and handling 4 small kids who were involved in a lot of things… and a husband going through major work difficulties… I was taxed.
This was years ago and I didn’t have the tools I have now, so I didn’t really see the warning signs for what they were. I kept running (literally and figuratively) even though I could tell that I wasn’t 100%…. Shoot I was even 50%.
So what was a small cold… turned into a major sinus infection and ear infection. Have you ever had an ear infection as an adult?!?! Yikes! I have so much more sympathy for my kids when their ears hurt!!! I had horrific pain that regular medicine didn’t even touch.. Going from my ear all the way down my neck.
Now… this was what started off just as a cold…for weeks… then a sinus cold… then a major infection. I had to bite the bullet and go to the Instacare on a Saturday night because I was miserable. I couldn’t hear well in one ear… It was awful. I needed a few different antibiotics and pain killers. AND… to top it all off, I had lingering ear issues for months after. Constant ear popping and clogging… and autophony – what happens when you hear your own voice really loud because your ear tubes are messed up.
Let’s just say that it was awful. My hearing was messed up for a while.
It’s back to normal thankfully. And I learned a lot from that experience…. And I have a whole bunch of tools in my toolbox when I can tell that I’m getting run down. I’ll talk about those today..But the big thing I want to talk to you about is the idea of rest or fatigue being multi-faceted.
When we’re tired, it may not just be from lack of sleep.
I think this past year of all the years, you probably have noticed this. Are you tired of: being home? Being with the same people too much? Social media? Political discussions? Screen time?
I was first introduced to this concept when I read a book by Saundra Dalton Smith. She also has a quiz that I’ll link to in my bio – I highly recommend that you take it for yourself. In fact, I have all of my coaching clients take this quiz… Knowing what areas you are low in, is key.
For today I’ll just briefly review the different areas of fatigue that she mentions in her studies:
Those 7 areas are spiritual, social, creative, physical, emotional, sensory and mental.
Ok – first off, physical. As a general rule, we blame fatigue on being physically depleted. So this is the first place we troubleshoot. Physical rest ranges from enough sleep to activities that move the body is calming ways such as stretching, meditation, prayer walks and yoga. Releasing the pent up tension in the body is the goal of physical rest. So to restore you physically you need more than sleep. If you spend a good portion of your day lifting children, you will need to stretch and move your body slowly in restorative ways.
Social – Social rest is when we find comfort and energy from our relationships. Have you ever noticed that you repeatedly feel exhausted after spending time with a friend or family member? On the other hand have you ever come home from spending time with a close friend or on a phone call, full of energy? So how can you feel completely different doing the same activities? The difference is the quality of the relationship. We all have relationships that either fill us with energy or deplete us and it can vary from interaction to interaction. But be aware of how you feel after spending time with an individual. If you are in need of social rest, make it a point to set up time with those individuals that fill and energize you. And don’t feel bad when you realize that it may not be the people closest to you. The mother child relationship by nature is one of giving. Feeling depleted after a long day of parenting is expected. But then take the time to connect with a friend that refreshes and energizes you.
Creative – Creative rest is when we take time to stop and enjoy the beauty of God’s work. We know that when God created the Earth, he stopped and rested on the 7th day. Creative rest is about allowing white space in your daily lives and giving yourself room for creativity or wonder. You know those days when you have things to do, but not a lot scheduled for once. Those days feel sort of magical and the creative juices start flowing. Those are days that have margins, or so I call them. Room to breathe and create.
Spiritual – As you may have figured out by now, I am a person who relies heavily on spirituality in my day-to-day life. Having a connection with God is the most important thing to me. Just as we’ve talked about whole person health, being the sum of all of the parts that make up us, spirituality is a key part of that. In fact, I’ll talk specifically about spirituality in a lesson soon. But for today’s lesson, know that spiritual rest is when you feel a closeness or connection with God, when you feel a sense of purpose and know that you are doing the right things with your life. Regular prayer and communion with God is what can replenish this area. Dr. Dalton-Smith regularly refers to prayer walks – times to commune with God like you would with a friend on a walk. This is something that I have adopted as a way to replenish myself spiritually, in addition to other regular practices. Deepening my connection to God has left me with more energy.
Emotional – Emotional rest is achieved when you no longer have the need to perform or meet external expectations. When our emotional withdrawals through meeting others emotional needs, exceed or own emotional capacity, you will experience emotional fatigue. Have you ever had an experience where you were emotionally drained from your own personal struggles, but had a friend in greater need. You were probably able to be there with them, but you might not have been able to give them your best… simply because you didn’t have much to give. But we expend our emotional energy is many places throughout the day, when you’re angry or frustrated, lose your patience or fight with a child. And because of the increase of accessibility to others via the internet, emotional interactions occur more frequently. You are spending your emotional energy more than ever. So how do you replace it? Spend time with someone who genuinely brings you joy. Even just watching a humorous video where you can laugh and release negative emotions will help. The more comfortable we are with our authentic selves, the easier it is to process emotions and preserve your emotional energy. As you do this work with me, learning to get back in touch with your true self, you will expend less emotional energy.
Mental – Taking time to quiet all of the information constantly coming into your brain is required to avoid mental fatigue. Have you ever noticed that an activity that normally wouldn’t be difficult for you, requires an abnormal amount of mental energy to complete? Perhaps you’ve dealt with depression, although it can be caused by a chemical imbalance, depression can also be caused by mental fatigue. Schedule in times of mental breaks. Read a good book-not self help book – but a book that allows you to get lost in a story. Meditate and spend a few minutes each day in stillness, physical and mental.
sensory deficiency is when you experience too much stimulus – through physical touch, screens or a number of other places. You might be experiencing this when you avoid physical contact or noises. Set aside a specific time each day to remove electronic stimuli. Pick a particular sensory stressor and choose one way to lessen it each day – a few moments in the fresh air, awareness of simple flavors in a piece of fruit, or taking moments to rest in the dark.