A mandatory vacation you ask? Yes. You see, I’ve let myself get a little overloaded lately. I’ve worked and worked and for a while I quite loved it. (I’m a little messed up that way.) But just like any other mere mortal, my tank started to run low. Very, very low. I was losing the joy in my daily duties. I was tired. And some might say I was just a tad grumpy. Just a tad.
This week, I’m off at the church. We have a weekend in the mountains camping trip planned. Getting ready for camping (especially tent camping) can be quite an ordeal for a family of 5. I was actually starting to dread that as well. But then I decided–the buzz words for this week will be easy, simple and relaxed.
Easy camping menu to plan for. Slower pace. More sitting on the porch. More reading on my own and with my youngest. Walks down the country road. A little more peace.
Where I plan on spending a little more time this week.
I think, for moms, it can be quite difficult to take a time off or give ourselves some rest. Because even if we have a break from work outside the house, our families still need food and laundry. Kids still need guidance and discipline. Bills still need paid. The daily life at your house (or even your vacation spot) never stops and some of us feel like we still need to keep spinning a hundred plates in the air at all times.
If it’s not always physically demanding, it sure is mentally.
That’s the reason for the mandatory vacation. I don’t get to escape from the daily stuff. (And that’s okay.) But I was carrying far too much of a burden in my little mind. The activities building up, the to do lists I was trying to cross off–they led to a stressed mind. The stressed mind led to anxiety. The anxiety saps energy. And then the grumpies move in.
So it’s time for a little reset. Time to remind myself that I don’t have to make it all happen. I don’t have to get it perfectly done. I never was anyway. And I needed the reminder to give the burdens to God and just give my mind some rest.
And if I can end those few days with a trip to one of my most favorite places, surrounded by the people I love, then even better.
So if you want to take your cues from me, I hereby give you permission to give yourself some sort of a little vacation this week as well. May we all find a little rest and joy on the way.
Other rest related posts:
I hope you had a very wonderful Christmas! It was most definitely a good, full season for us. I kept myself pretty busy right up until Christmas eve with preparations both at home and church. It all went really well and I certainly consider it time well spent.
However…this lady was a bit tired when it was all said and done. I sort of liken the holiday season as a marathon of sorts, and when it’s all over, you’re ready for a little rest.
And rest I did.
In what my husband referred to as an uncharacteristic move, I actually snoozed on the couch a bit late Christmas morning. I had gotten up early to work on a little breakfast prep, had coffee with my husband, unwrapped presents with the kids–and while everyone was happily playing, I napped.
But that wasn’t the end of it. No. The next day, I burrowed into my nest on the couch with some reading material, a pot of tea, a pillow and blankets and rested and napped some more. Heavenly!
My husband had a couple extra days off, and since we didn’t really have a vacation this year, we declared it to be our “staycation” and reveled in a little much needed laziness.
In the days since, I did drag myself off the couch to clean and bake and sweep up a multitude of pine needles (the curse of the real tree). I’ve avoided the computer for the most part and spent a little time outdoors.
Have you rested yet?
I’d bet that you ran around like a crazy person in December too. Your family might have even struggled with some illnesses that left everyone tapped out. Have you given yourself permission for a little extra R&R? Because we all need to give our bodies time to recharge and recoup.
Once upon a time, I could go, go, go and go some more and not really feel any worse for wear. But recently, I’ve begun to realize that I need to pay attention to my body, both physically and emotionally for signs that I’m wearing thin. And I’m learning to give myself permission to be slothful every now and then–to avoid exhaustion and illness and burnout.
Hopefully, sometime between Christmas and the return to routines in January, you’ve been able to find some down time. If not, make it happen!
Grab a book, draw a bath, or go for a stroll…Give yourself some time to put your mind and body at rest.
How have you decompressed from all the holiday frenzy?
As moms, we give all we’ve got to take care of those we love most. But in this series, we’re giving some time to the one we tend to neglect–ourselves. If you missed last week’s post, check out how important it is to begin with taking care of your spiritual self.
Finding a Rhythm of Rest
Rest. Even the word itself makes me feel a little better. But all too often, rest can be elusive. At the bottom of the never ending to-do list.
I can see some rolling their eyes. Rest? But you don’t know what my days are like! You don’t know what I’m responsible for! I’m so worried about my family, my finances, my health! And these are legitimate statements. Fact is, life is jam packed. There are obligations, emergencies and the relentless nagging of the day to day.
Not trying to depress you here. Just saying that I get it. You’re busy. And you’re tired. What you and I need is to find our rhythm of rest.
Those precious 8 hours
During the past few years, I’ve struggled with insomnia–a lot. I’d be busy all day, sometimes so exhausted in the afternoons that I could barely keep my eyes open. But then night came.
Sometimes I can fall asleep, but then I wake up at 2:00 or 3:00 and struggle for a couple of hours to fall back asleep. Other times I just can’t fall asleep at all and end up rolling over to check the clock into the early morning. It’s SO frustrating. If you’ve ever had trouble sleeping, you know.
There are probably a few different reasons for my insomnia. Stress–I just couldn’t seem to turn my mind off from situations with people or my looming to-do lists. Eating and drinking the wrong things in the afternoons and evenings–coffee and sugar became my crutch to get through the afternoon. Then there’s other culprits–worry, nighttime allergies, lack of exercise.
But when it started affecting my ability to be kind or coherent with my kids, I knew I couldn’t just give up and let the cycle continue. I had to TRY to do something to help.
- Cut off the caffeine. This sounds obvious, I know. But I had to make myself check the clock before I had another cup of joe. If I go past 4:00, I know I’m going to have trouble falling asleep until much later.
- Try to get some exercise. I’m not always as consistent with this as I need to be. But when I get regular exercise, especially outside where there’s some fresh air, I sleep better. Exercise helps me burn off stress or frustration, too, which contribute to my sleepless nights.
- Prayer instead of worry. It’s funny, but all the mental junk we take to bed with us never gets any better during those few hours when we should be sleeping. If anything, I can think more clearly and be less emotional about a situation after I’ve had a good night’s sleep. So I give it over to God in prayer and ask for His peace to fill my mind instead. Sometimes I stubbornly still worry. Then I need to pray some more.
- Reading at bedtime. Lots of us turn to a good book or a chapter of the Bible at bedtime. I find that it helps me shut down my swirling thoughts, relaxes my mind a bit, and makes it easier to fall asleep. Just don’t read anything too exciting or scary!
- Herbal remedies. I love to study herbal remedies and after reading up on sleep, I’ve settled on two things that really work for me. Bedtime Tea by Yogi and Lavender essential oil mixed in a little coconut oil as aromatherapy. (affiliate links) The tea has chamomile, mint (also good for upset tummies after dinner) and other herbs to help calm the body and mind. I like to settle into bed with the tea, dab a little lavender oil on my temples and either watch some Netflix with my hubby or read a little.
Knowing when you need a timeout
I have been trying lately, to not pack so many things in my afternoons, so that if I desperately need a 20 minute rest, I can take one. There’s nothing to feel guilty about. And I’ve noticed that if I give myself just a little bit of quiet, rest time, I can avoid dragon mommy and finish the day well.
This is especially important when I’ve had a particularly busy season and all my energy reserves are sapped. Listening to my body and respecting the need for a little break is hard for me–I tend to go till I drop. But I’m discovering the benefits for me and my family.
Where can you find a moment for a time out? Can you build a time for a break into your day? As Americans, we seem to value the go, go, go mentality, but the idea of a midday break has been built into many cultures for centuries. Tea time or siesta anyone?
The value of a sabbath rest
Somewhere along the line (and I am VERY guilty of this) many have decided that we didn’t need the day of rest that God prescribed for us. As we’ve been working to get a large building project done around here, we’ve gotten into the habit of working all day Saturday and as soon as we get home from church on Sundays.
I feel like I’m sending my kids mixed signals, since we used to try to keep at least an afternoon of rest sometime on the weekend. And beyond that, it’s taking it’s toll on us emotionally. A day off was time for being together, having fun, playing games or cuddling in front of a movie. When we don’t get that, we get cranky, weary, a little beat down.
I’m not finding anywhere in the New Testament where it says, “Never mind about the day of rest thing. You don’t really need it anyway.” I know there are different seasons of life. I know there is grace and we no longer live by the law. But I’m not so sure that we’re smarter than all the generations before us that made a day of rest a priority for their families. Not a condemnation to your particular practice. Like I said, we’ve moved in and out of observing a day of rest ourselves. But it’s something to give our thought and prayer to, for our good and the good of our family. There is great benefit in honoring the wisdom of God’s good plan for us.
Finding your rhythm of rest can be a tough assignment. You may have to say no to some things. You might not get it all done. But you will get something better. Rest for your soul. Peace for your mind. Recharging a weary body.
Rest is an important part of taking care of mom. Don’t neglect it. And don’t forget the One from whom true rest comes…
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
How do you make sure you get the rest you need?
Other posts in this series… Taking Care of Mom Eat What Fuels You Keeping Your Body Strong