I took a wonderful vacation week with my family. We spent most of the time outdoors in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. The minimal phone and internet contact refreshed my soul.
When I came home, I was grumpy for days. At first, I couldn’t figure out why when the time away had been so restful. Then I recognized reality had hit me hard as soon as I walked back in the door.
Illness and lonely deaths. Financial struggles. Storms and disasters. Injustice and hatred. Uncertainties. Limitations.
Anger. Discouragement. Fear. Desperation. Depression. The emotions wear me down.
So, I went back to thinking about perseverance, resilience, how to
survive thrive in these crazy times. I went back – again – to some of the basics and am attempting to live them out. Maybe they will help you too.
- TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Eat healthy foods. Drink plenty of water. Exercise. Sleep enough. I know. I know. We get tired of hearing this, but these elements are proven powerful for our well-being. It is a constant battle, but anything we can do to strengthen these habits will help us get through the hard times. It’s true.
- ACCEPT THE NEGATIVE EMOTIONS
We are living through a never-before, stress-filled event that impacts every area of our lives. There are no quick cures and no easy answers. Recognize the emotions stirred up are real and valid and unpredictable and continuous. They WILL accompany us. There is no reason to layer self-criticism, shame, or condemnation on top of what is already a heavy burden.
Whatever amount of acceptance for human messiness (impatience, blahs, lack of productivity, weight gain) you have given yourself – it is not enough! ~ Juliet Funt
- SHARE HONESTLY
Safe and trusted friends and family can be an essential source of comfort, encouragement, and motivation when we can’t come up with those ourselves. It takes humility and courage to admit that we aren’t doing well and need help, but I have received enthusiastic, willing, even grateful-for-being-asked responses. Don’t isolate or hide your problems. We need each other.
- PRAY AND JOURNAL
I’ve learned to start each day with my hands open and a simple prayer asking God to show me what He wants me to do that day. I’m not great at it, but journaling (thoughts, day’s happenings, gratefulness) also has a way of giving me perspective and purpose in dreary days.
- TAKE TIME FOR THINGS YOU LOVE
For me, this means getting outdoors – getting glimpses of God’s unique animal and plant creations near our home. I’ve also taken up small-space gardening – herbs, tomatoes, and butterfly-attracting flowers. It does not have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time. Small amounts of joy give energy to combat weariness.
- LEAVE SOME SPACE
As we go along, we learn how this new normal is affecting us. Back-to-back Zoom meetings are exhausting – we need less screen time, breaks between sessions, and Zoom-free days. Remember, we cannot do all things. Each “yes” to one thing is a “no” to something else. Say “yes” and “no” thoughtfully and intentionally.
I know the pandemic and its effects are dragging on longer than we anticipated. The weariness of the continual stressors drags us down. I write this for myself and with a hopeful prayer that it will give you lift for the days ahead.
If you feel comfortable, please let me know in the comments how you are doing. And if you have another helpful reminder for us, please share that too.