Photo by Ian Burt
Whew - I'm not gonna lie. I am a weary mama. Various factors in the past two weeks have been draining, to say the least. Thankfully, I've learned some strategies to get through this time and emerge even stronger.
Physical causes make a significant impact on our energy levels. But I know that emotional issues have just as much an effect on my spirit during tiring times.
Here are a few ways to combat the undercurrent of emotional fatigue:
1. Take it one day (or minute) at a time.
Photo by Amy
Earlier this month I posted one of my favorite motivational pieces - Just for Today. Of this poem, the point I revisit often is #7:
"Just for today I will try to live through this day only, not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do things for twelve hours that would appall me if I had to keep them up for a lifetime."
That advice is so helpful and so true. Usually when I find myself emotionally worn out, it's because I'm projecting current circumstances into the future - "What if my kids always have this issue, how can I keep going at this pace, etc." This is negative, spiral-down thinking.
Proactive thinking looks like this: "How can I deal appropriately with this screaming child? Now it's time to change one diaper. I'm going to work on my blog for the next ten minutes, etc."
It's so easy to live in the moment - just watch your kids. They do it naturally. You don't have to keep going forever, you just have to keep going this instant. Living this way, forever takes care of itself.2. Cling to the good.
What one thing did your child do right today? Maybe your daughter snatched toys away from her brother, tried to bite you, and took off all her clothes in anger. But, did you see how well she cleaned up when you asked? And that smile - beautiful!
Photo by D Sharon Pruitt
Write 'the good' down if it helps. And every time you think of your little girl throughout the day, visualize that moment. You'll likely have more than one - if you make the effort to look for them. These positive images need to remain at the forefront of our minds.
Every day we progress a little more. So do our children.
3. Meditate and pray.
In my life, my Christian faith serves to ground me and remind me of the bigger picture. It keeps struggles in perspective and relieves me of feeling as though I must deal with my problems alone. How freeing to hand burdens over to Someone who carries them much more thoroughly than I ever could manage - a very peace-inducing lifestyle.
It's been said that "a soul occupied with great ideas best performs small duties" (Harriet Martineau). Sometimes the constant work of motherhood begins to feel monotonous - that's why the great thoughts of Scripture, philosophers, and other wise authors provide an emotional strength and mental stimulation to carry us through challenging times. I share more specifics about focusing our thoughts in my upcoming book, Steady Days.
Maintaining emotional endurance is key to enjoying life with little ones. And if you're in the middle of a difficult season, don't forget the power of hope. Every day your children are growing older, making new discoveries, and becoming more mature. Every day you are gaining more experience and wisdom as a mama. Those two factors combined can only mean a steady growth over time and a hopeful, positive future to look forward to.
So enjoy the growth and journey today brings your way!
***Which of these three points (or others of your own) do you find most helpful when dealing with emotional fatigue?***