Today I feel so tired, I wonder how I’m not collapsed in a worn-out heap on the floor. Every bone in my body is aching. I feel almost sick to my stomach. All I want to do is rest.
This type of exhaustion isn’t your normal, every day feeling of being tired. It’s how you feel when you’ve overdone it so much that your body is screaming at you to rest.
We have seasons in life where everything hits at once. Work may be especially busy — and at the same time, our kids may be sick. Whatever the reason, we all have weeks where life is more demanding and we have to handle whatever crisis comes our way. When this happens, it takes a toll on us.
In the past, before I knew about self-care, I would ignore my body. If this doesn’t sound crazy to you, I’m glad you’re reading this article!!
How is it possible for you ignore your body when it’s almost SCREAMING at you to take a break?
In our culture, we have a bad habit of ignoring our bodies. It’s awfully inconvenient to feel tired. We have things to do! Instead of resting and recharging, we do the opposite. We drug ourselves with caffeine, sugar, or both. We pop painkillers. We glance at Facebook every 10 minutes.
We’ll do anything to distract us from what our bodies are crying for us to do: just rest.
You can imagine that there are consequences to ignoring our body. It never goes well, does it?
We get sick
The biggest problem with pushing through is that it can make us sick. Our bodies are sending us a clear signal to rest. When we ignore this signal, nothing good can come of it. Our bodies will try to cope as best as they can and without the resources our bodies need, sickness can occur.
There are many scary statistics about the number of diseases that are caused by stress. Ignoring our bodies is the root cause of this type of stress. Our bodies are smart and they know what they need. They also send us signals. We are doing ourselves a grave disservice when we ignore these signals and when our bodies can’t cope, disease may set in.
Also, when we feel this poorly and we force ourselves to work, we’re not working efficiently, anyway. If we’re cooking dinner, we’re cooking it so slowly, it may take double or triple the time it usually takes. If we’re cleaning, we’re moving at snail’s pace. If we’re watching the kids, we may start yelling at the smallest annoyance.
It takes so much longer to do the same work, it may not be worth it to push through — though you can’t seem to stop!
How to recharge when you feel exhausted?
When you next feel this tired, below is a list of things to do to help you recover.
– Take a REAL break. When you feel this bone tired, please please please take a break. I don’t mean take a break by checking Facebook or Instagram. I mean take a break that will actually be restful. So many times we THINK we’re taking a break because we’re looking at our emails or watching TV, but these aren’t actually real breaks. Your mind is still buzzing and you’re not actually getting the rest you need. When you feel this tired, you need to sleep or sit on your couch and do nothing (no electronics!!). You probably need to hydrate with fresh water and perhaps enjoy a healthy meal. Don’t self-medicate with media and junk food. When I feel this way, I usually ask my husband to take over for a bit. Even resting for just 15 minutes — real resting, not social media resting — will have a huge impact. Those 15 minutes may be the difference between being functional with my kids and a screaming fest…
– Focus only on the critical. Even when we awful, we push ourselves to do everything. When you’re bone tired exhausted, let everything go that doesn’t need to be done. I know you’re cringing at this — you can’t leave the kitchen a mess! You need to make the dinner you’d planned. Let this all go! Serve breakfast for dinner. Leave the kitchen a mess. I know sometimes it’s harder to let things go than to take care of them, but your health is more important than a clean kitchen. Your kids will love having frozen waffles for dinner. If you get the rest you need now, you’ll (hopefully) have the energy to deal with it tomorrow!
– Take a sick day. If you’re like me, you have a badge of pride about never taking sick days. Unless I have a high fever or the flu, it’s rare for me to take a sick day. But if you feel so exhausted that you feel like passing out, my friend you need a day to rest. Your body is sending you a clear message – it needs to recharge! Please listen to it so you avoid actually getting the flu. Note, if you’re feeling this way on a weekend, you may still be able to take a sick day! You can ask your spouse or family member to take the kids out. Or you can hibernate in your room (with the door locked!) Be creative!
– Fall back on your good habits. Most times when we’re exhausted, we fall back on our bad habits. Let’s reverse that! The days you’re feeling your worst, do your healthy habits. Instead of eating junk food, have a smoothie. Instead of drinking coffee, drink extra water. Here’s a hard one — instead of staying up late watching TV, go to bed a decent time. Falling back on your good habits when you feel bad may be difficult, but it will make a huge difference in how you feel. Your body is exhausted and it needs REAL nutrition and rest. Feeding it junk food and screens will continue to deplete you. If this falling back on your healthy habits is new to you, give it a try and see what a difference it makes. It’ll change things up in so many good ways. I can’t wait to hear about it!
When you take care of yourself, you’ll not only feel better (and we all want that!), you’ll actually have MORE energy. You may be surprised to find that when you feel better, you’re also in a better mood, which makes you a better Mom and Spouse. So take the rest you need! Leave that guilt at the door and you’ll see what a difference it makes not just in your day, but in your whole life.