To the momma that's weary, you're not going unnoticed. The hard work, the burdens, the striving, the illnesses, the challenges, the trying...God sees it. He notices it all.
It can feel like this season of life has no end, and it's now your new normal. The prospect of this being normal is crushing. Hope kept you going, but now hope feels lost. Another setback, another curveball...it's too much! You're not thriving at all. You're just barely surviving.
Where do you go from here? What steps are even worth taking? Is your body even worth it at this point?
First, submit. Go crawl up into the lap of Jesus and admit defeat. Tell Him it's too much, that you can't possibly do this by yourself. Tell Him you need Him, you need His wisdom, His knowledge, His patience, and His strength. You're totally tapped out.
And then wait and listen. Listen for His words of wisdom, His breath of encouragement, His incomprehensible peace to wash over you. Listen for His love. It's there.
Don't move on until this is done. This, He, is the beginning of rest for your soul. If you've never crawled into His lap before to just cry, try it. Talk to Him, and be honest. There will never be anything as powerful and important as encountering Jesus.
"So let us come boldly to the throne of our Gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." Hebrews 4:16
Next, identify your stressors. What's making you feel weary? This could be obvious. A newborn that won't sleep. Illness sweeping through the family. A major conflict at work.
Or they could be less obvious. A painful joint. Lost sleep. A social media argument. Laundry piling up. All of the above. Recognize all of the things that are making you weary. Make a list if you want...it might be a long one!
Now look at each of those things to see if you can take care of any of them. Laundry piling up can feel like such a burden, but finally just doing a load would diminish the burden immensely. For me, my day always feels far more overwhelming if my bed is not made and the dishes aren't done. It's so stupid, but with those two simple tasks checked off my list, it frees my mind up to handle the bigger tasks.
Look at your stressors and see if there's a practical solution for some of them. Sometimes we're running around flailing our arms, freaking out and feeling weary, when we could be taking real action steps to resolve the stress. Be logical and wise.
Now, take care of your physical needs. Begin with sleep. A lack of sleep is the biggest reason we can feel weary, both mentally and physically. Of course, with a newborn that won't sleep, it's hard to get a handle on it. Go to bed earlier and take naps when you can!
If a sleepless baby is not part of the picture, devise a clear sleeping routine. Practice going to bed at the same time (be reasonable, like 10:00 pm not 12:00 am!), and shut off electronics leading up to bedtime. Looking at your phone in bed will wreck your sleep! You might need to go the extra distance and take Unisom or Nyquil, get a humidifier, or diffuse some essential oils. When you're fully rested, your immune system and regenerative systems can function the way they're meant to. Plus, you'll have a clear and rested mind.
Sleep is essential!
Take care of your nutrition. When we're exhausted and weary, putting together a healthy meal is the last thing we want to do. We'd rather eat comfort food or not eat altogether. But, right now is when your body needs good food the most.
Put your emotions aside for just a moment and put some veggies on your plate. I always recommend choosing PRO's, PROtein and PROduce, with every meal. Let the comfort food be soups that are full of good protein and lots of veggies. (Here's my favorite soup recipe.) And make healthy eating as automatic as possible, even if that means bagged salads and rotisserie chicken. It doesn't need to be extravagant, it just needs to nourish your body well.
Take care of your muscles and joints. With weariness comes physical exhaustion. Moving helps, it really does. If you are battling sickness, read this for tips on whether or not you should workout when you're sick. If illness is not a stressor, do some purposeful physical activity, which could be as simple as going for a brisk walk and stretching when you return. If you have a regular workout plan, see it through. In most cases, your energy and passion will improve after a good workout. It's rare to regret working out. Keep your workouts short and sweet so they don't contribute to your stress. You can even opt for workouts that are more energizing like bodyweight training or fast-paced yoga, rather than heavy and exhausting workouts, like intense strength training.
I recommend trying this Strength Flow. It uses just your bodyweight and incorporates some stretching along with strengthening. Feels so good!
When your physical body is being looked after, with proper sleep, good nutrition and plenty of purposeful physical movement, the feelings of weariness ratchet down a few notches.
Finally, breathe. I want you to practice breathing well at moments throughout the day. The air you breathe is the very breath of God...He breathes life into your body until the day He says that it's enough. He designed the very molecules that enter your body and the lungs that absorb it. So slow down, inhale His breath, let Him wash over you, filling you with His goodness.
As you inhale, pull the air in through your nose, feeling your sinuses, feeling your throat, feeling your lungs, feeling your belly. Draw as much air in as possible then pause, noticing the fullness. Then exhale slowly and gently through your mouth, letting the air slowly escape, eventually engaging your belly and pelvic floor to press the last hints of air out. Do it again, and again.
Purposeful breathing is one of the only voluntary physical movements you can do that reduces the physical signs of stress. Five deep breaths scattered throughout the day could be a game changer.
"For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life." Job 33:4
Bring your weariness, momma. Come to Him, bring your weariness and hand it over. In return, He will give you His rest. He wants you right there, on His lap, asking for help. He wants to help you and love all over you.
Notice the things that are creating the stress and with His wisdom, take care of some of them. Follow through with real action steps to resolve some of the issues. Definitely take care of your physical body. And of course, breathe. Slow down and inhale the sweet breath of God.
Even though weariness may feel like your new normal, it's not. There is hope. It will end. You will be thriving again, momma. Hang in there.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
Interested in reading more like this? You might also like:
Finding Strength in the Midst of Weakness
Stress, Rest and Recovery Tips for Moms (Part 1)
Stress, Rest and Recovery Tips for Moms (Part 2)
Should You Workout When You're Sick?
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