Summer is winding down. Many of our kids have already started school. On our Whole House lives, we have been talking a lot about back to school. We long for schedule after the lack of it all summer. Some of us love the boundaries of schedule, we leap in with planners in hand ready to feel in control of our lives again. School begins. Activities and sports pick back up. Our volunteer positions need us again. We begin the year with anticipation and excitement for new beginnings like a fresh, blank sheet of paper to write on. So, why do we feel so exhausted?
The season is changing meaning our lives are changing. Even when there are good changes, it can bring on exhaustion. Good excitatory stress can cause exhaustion just as well as what we consider bad stress. The beginning of the school year or new season in our lives is a bit of both. How do we combat this exhaustion? How can we keep it from ruling our lives and ruining our days?
- Keep some in the tank. This is one I struggle with daily. I would rather ignore the daily stress and my body’s signals and keep going. How about you? When I have energy, I spend it three times over, overextending what my body can handle. When I do this, my tank is empty when I quit working for the day. The better thing to do (which I am practicing) is keeping some in the tank. You know the old saying “stop while you’re ahead’? Apply that here. Don’t stay up until 11pm reading just because you can when you have to get up at 5:30am. You don’t have to be falling asleep on the couch in order for it to be time for you to go to bed. Some nights I get in bed at 8:30 *Gasp*. I may read for an hour and then go to sleep. Maybe you can’t go to bed early, but you can keep some in the tank. You can take little breaks throughout the day to access how you are doing. Take fifteen minutes and just sit (maybe while your kiddos watch a show or play with play doh or nap) and just relax. Don’t pick your phone up, that’s a stressor in itself. Listen to your body. Breathe. Relax.
- Is it physical or mental exhaustion? When starting the school year or getting back into a writing schedule, there is a different kind of exhaustion. It’s mental. It’s worse than physical in some ways because I feel like I can’t do anything. The best cure for mental exhaustion? Some good old fashioned physical exercise. It’s tempting not to exercise because of exhaustion. I’ve fallen into that trap a time or two, then my body demands a long nap every day. That just makes me feel more exhausted. It’s wise to get to know our own bodies and what kind of exhaustion we are feeling so we can treat it properly. The remedy for mental exhaustion is a break from thinking and some exercise. Try a short walk around your house if you can’t work out for an hour. I take mini treadmill breaks through out the day or just walk around the yard, weather permitting. You don’t have to have hours to do a workout to move. Just move and give your brain a break.
- Give yourself time to adjust to the new schedule. If you are reading this and exhaustion is ruling your live and you think you will never adjust, give yourself some grace. It’s tough to adjust to new mental and physical activity. Don’t be too hard on yourself or your family. Some things can be set aside for a season. If you are trying to adjust to doing school with your kids or their new activities, it’s okay if you don’t vacuum up all those grass clippings around your front door right away (true story). It’s okay if some things are put on the back burner for a while. Friend, we can’t do everything perfectly, so let’s pick the most important things and to them well.
I hope these little tips have helped you today adjust to a new season. Do you have a good tip to stave off exhaustion? Please share it! We’d love to hear it.