If You Are Feeling Weary, You Are Not Alone.

I have begun to notice a shift with many clients and friends over the past week. It is like we have entered into this new phase of isolation/social distancing/stay-at-home way of being. Many of us rallied to do what needed to be done and we have stayed the course. We have settled into the routines of our new way of work, e-learning, cooking and round the clock clean-up. And we have physically separated ourselves from others.

And now many are “totally over it”.

I am hearing how folks are tired of the restrictions and tired of the mundane. AND that is COMPLETELY understandable. This shift is happening for lots of folks and some may be feeling themselves slipping into a state of weariness. When we feel weary and tired and bored, sometimes there can be an urge to rebel and sometimes it can lead to a place of hopeless – feeling like today is going to look like the day before and the day before looks like the day before and so on and so forth.

It may be time to assess if this is possible. I remember so many times during grad school when I was working two jobs, going to class, studying, taking care of my home and every day felt like the day before. Many times, I thought I was totally going to lose it or give up and jump off course completely. I kid you not. I had to shake things up from time to time in order to find renewed life and renewed energy and renewed focus.

Many of us say we do not like change but it is more likely that we don’t like change that is imposed on us. Change and variety (on our terms) can be energizing. Sometimes we have to add some variety in order to get that second wind. (And potentially a third and forth and fifth wind).

Maybe today is the day you do something different than the day before and the day before that…especially if you have felt yourself slipping towards weary.

Here are some possibilities…

Start a challenge with friends. – I am doing a daily yoga and plank challenge with a group of ladies.

Write notes of encouragement to send to others.

Write words of affirmation on post-its and hide them in your home for your kids or spouse to find.

Begin learning a new skill – calligraphy, an instrument, origami, card tricks. Show others what you’ve learned.

Try a new recipe. Add some unique things to your grocery list for the week.

Play balloon volleyball in your living room. Turn it into walleyball if you so choose.

Have crazy hair day – not just “don’t do your hair” day.

Get dressed up for the day.

Skip down the street with your kids.

Write a surprise sidewalk chalk message to neighbors but don’t let on that it was you.

Find a new musical and learn the songs and sing them loudly.

Watch funny cat videos.

Set down your screens for the day.

Bring back some of your old favorite tunes.

Plant something and begin caring for it.

Start looking for and identifying birds in your neighborhood.

Set up a zoom with an old friend or with family.

Read through joke books.

Play with legos.

Create.

Laugh.

Dance.

If you are feeling the weariness, you are not alone. It doesn’t make you weak and it doesn’t make you ungrateful for what you have.

If the discouragement and weariness is getting too heavy. Please reach out to your people. Or reach out to a pastor, support group or therapy office. You are not alone.

Please continue to care well for yourself. 

Fueling Peace at an Anxious time

In this pandemic state, we are talking a great deal about how to remain healthy and how to prepare for potential quarantines. There is a lot of information being disseminated regarding the virus. This information can be useful in learning how to best respond.
It is times like these when it is imperative to be aware of our own emotional state. Specifically, I want to address the issue of anxiety.
Symptoms of anxiety can include:
– restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
– being easily fatigued
– difficulty concentrated or one’s mind going blank
– racing thoughts
– physical symptoms such as trembling, racing pulse, shortness of breath
– irritability
– muscle tension
– sleep disturbance
Like this virus, some of us are more susceptible to anxiety than others. It is important to understand your own susceptibility (and those in your direct care) in these times.
Anxiety needs fuel to thrive. Sometimes we can eliminate the fuel source and sometimes we cannot eliminate the fuel source.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with anxiety during this pandemic, please consider if your anxiety is receiving energy from things that can be eliminated or reduced. Also, please keep in mind, as I stated earlier, that you may be more or less susceptible to anxiety than the next person. What your neighbor can tolerate with little increase in anxiety may differ from what you can tolerate.
To start, here are some questions to ask yourself and then consider if they can be reduced or eliminated.
Is my caffeine or sugar intake making me feel jittery?
Does scrolling on social media increase my racing thoughts?
Is the amount of news I am reading/watching increasing my sense of panic?
Are my conversations primarily about fears associated with the virus/fears of the potential impact?
Am I using numbing behaviors to escape?
Is my self-talk a spiral of complaint/comparison/what if’s?
In your attempt to care well for your emotional state, it is beneficial to consider something you desire instead of anxiety. For me, I desire peace. So we will use peace as an example. I am guilty of full-force fueling anxiety at certain times in my life. I have had moments of this throughout the past week and am recognizing the need to turn the tide.
What is best for me is when I consider how to fuel the emotion I actually want – PEACE. I have practices that I do on a regular basis that fuel peace in my life. It is crucial that I employ those practices now if peace is what I desire to fuel. Here are some things that bring me peace –
Spending time reading scripture
Taking walks
Listening to music
Listening to books
Singing
Exercising
Slowly repeating “I receive peace”
Cuddling and watching fun shows with my family
Dancing
Writing/journaling
Gratitude lists
Prayer
Having a conversation with the cashier
Complimenting a friend or a stranger
A hot shower
Taking my time while cooking a meal
Turning off my notifications and ringers
Sitting in silence
Stillness
Breathing deeply
Stretching
Laughing
Information is good. Learning what we are to do and taking appropriate steps is wise.
But please care for your emotional self well during this time. It is an incredibly important part of who you are. Please continue doing the things that keep you physically healthy but emotionally healthy as well.
-Christina Smith

To the Hurting Mothers

To the mother who has been labeled brave and strong but never set out to be –

   You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother whose heart tells her one thing and photos tell her another –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who never got to celebrate –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who looks down through empty arms to the scars where life once lived –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who stands at the grave to pour out her heart –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who longs for a hug with arms that ache and are heavy –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who wonders if her children will ever know the depth of her love for them –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who worries that she will never make up for the mistakes of her past –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who never planned to parent without a partner –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother whose home is tense and silent –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who repeatedly believes she is not enough–

        You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who is barely scaping by on time, energy, and resources –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who is so exhausted her hair hurts –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who sings the songs just to remind her of the past –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who juggles the schedule to fit in the doctors and the therapies –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who lies awake desperate for a diagnosis –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who cries out for mercy and answers –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who is holding the hand of another that is fading –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who is wrestling with trauma and working towards healing –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who longs for reconciliation

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who is trying to navigate the hard and unexpected –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who mothers those not bound by blood or document –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who wonders if she could have done more –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

To the mother who never imagined it would be this hard –

         You are loved and you are not alone.

There is One who promises to never leave you,

who promises to forgive,

who sees you completely and chooses to love you,

who would walk through a million fires to rescue you,

who sees you as significant,

who longs to hear your heart,

who is ready to comfort you,

who cares about every pain, every tear, every longing.

To the mother who is still wondering –

         You are loved and you are not alone.