I’ve been in a weird phase this month—I’ve either been go, go, go or Netflix binge for hours. I can’t seem to find my healthy pace of life—relaxing while being somewhat productive. Since I normally have a hard time sitting still, I’ve been trying to figure out what’s wrong with me. I realized today—I’m just tired.
Tired of eating well.
Tired of trying to exercise.
Tired of being nice and patient.
Tired of caring for other people.
Tired of writing.
Tired of cleaning something, messed up by someone, every day.
If I was tired from taking my kids here and there and we were always on the go, I’d take up the suggestion to cut a few activities from our schedule. If I was tired from working 70 hours a week for money we don’t need, I’d say we could probably stand to lessen my work week. If I was tired from staying up until 3 am playing video games, I might have to start going to bed earlier.
What do you do when you’re tired of life?
All the things I’m overwhelmed by are daily things that have to be done, solely because they’re the right thing to do. I get tired of being patient when I’ve explained to my daughter for the 1000th time that she needs to be nice to her brother; however I have to continue teaching her, because it’s the right thing to do. It’s my job. I’m tired of cooking healthy foods, yet when I don’t, we go out and when we go out we spend money. I get tired of exercising, but I need to—when I don’t, my body stiffens up and becomes sore. My body needs exercise, but I just don’t feel like doing it—I’m just tired.
My husband told me this nugget of truth the other day—when we’re stressed, we go back to what we know.
What I know is stress eating and binge watching. What I know is wallowing in depression, not wanting to move or function. What I know is being short with others, snapping and barking orders when things are not going my way. What I know is fast food and takeout because it’s fast, I don’t have to think, and somehow it should make me feel better. What I know is staying up late because by sleeping you’ll be that much closer to waking up tomorrow.
Every day has been a new day to build new habits, sloughing off bad habits and becoming a beacon of hope and light for others. But those things are still not yet in my core—when I let stress take over me, I sink down to what I really know.
If you feel like I do, know you’re not alone. I don’t know how to fight off this blanket of tiredness, stress, and life, but what I do know is that we have to. We have to because it’s right. I can’t justify the poor way I treat others because I’m tired. I can’t neglect the way I treat myself because I just don’t feel like it. I can’t set aside my responsibilities indefinitely because I don’t feel up to it. So here’s my plan to do what’s right, even though I don’t feel like it:
Go to bed at a normal time. We are not typically late night people. But lately Chadd and I have stayed up late while at least one of us is working, bumming on the internet or watching tv. There’s no quality time spent together- we’ve just dredged through the night and finally make our way to bed by 12 or so. This leads to a frustrating and short sleep, as we’ve just procrastinated going to sleep without any feeling of fulfillment. In order to find good pace in our life, we need to start by spending quality time together even if we need to work on projects, and set those projects down at a decent time. This will lead to a less stressful sleep, and we’ll get more rest to take on the day.
Wake up a little earlier than my kids. As the baby has slept better through the night, I have no excuse not to get up before our kids and get something done. While I’d like to see myself get up and get my exercise and quiet time done, for you it could be anything- bible reading, sorting paperwork, read a book, eat breakfast by yourself, anything that helps you feel happy and grow a desire to keep going. While Crystal Paine is working on getting up at 5 am every morning, I’m happy with getting up at 6 am—we should get plenty of sleep and still wake up around an hour before our kids. Between going to bed and waking up at a set time, I should be able to get on a normal schedule that will help me function better day to day.
Make a small to-do list each day or week. When I have something to look forward to, I work better. To-do lists drive me nuts because I have to cross things off. I feel like having a weekly or daily to-do list might help me know what I need to do so I can stay focused.
Remember my purpose. It’s so easy to forget why you do what you do. I forget that I am patient because I have been shown patience and I want my kids to learn patience, empathy and how to treat others. I forget that I’m there to show them what grace and mercy look like. I write because I want to share our story, and help you know you can do it. I care for my family because I love them and want to meet their needs. Having a purpose turns work drudgery into focus.
Stop depending on results. I keep looking at the scale, looking at my kids, looking at my blog and expecting results to motivate me to continue. I only feel motivated to continue doing what I need to do when I see positive change happening. The truth is that some things in life don’t happen overnight. It can take months to teach my kids, weeks to lose a pound, and none of that has any impact on what I need to be doing. I need to do it because it’s right, not because it’s following my timetable.
Take a breath… and then keep going. There is nothing wrong with taking a break from life for a moment- dishes can be done tomorrow, a treat can be enjoyed tonight, and work can wait a few minutes. What’s important for me to do is keep going. Eating well, exercising, marriage, motherhood… these are all a part of my life, for the rest of my life. I will never be perfect at it, but I can’t quit either. I’m in these for the long haul, and I can’t give up.
I don’t know how long it will take to work out of this slump, but I know I have to try. Then hopefully, one day, I’ll get stressed and fall back on what I know—rest, purpose, focus, motivation, and the will to keep going.
This post was originally posted at trainedbytoddlers.com on 1/20/2016.