Sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I get really tired. And then there are days like the past few weeks when I’m beyond exhausted. Now admittedly, I’ve come by it honestly. I had two big conferences two weeks apart. Three days later we left for Houston for a week with our kids – read, being grandma. Much as I love my granddaughter, she can wear out people much younger than me. We got home and a few days later, left for Mom’s (after a couple of intense days in the garden). Time at Mom’s is always a physical and emotional strain. This month and last, we’ve had to heft a wheelchair in and out of the car in addition to dealing medical appointments, other appointments, and her other needs. Add to that Mom’s well-perfected negative attitude and a four-hour drive each way, and it’s a sure recipe for fatigue. Then when we do return home, it’s back-to-back appointments that have been jammed into too few weeks.
This week I hit a wall. Deep, deep fatigue. The kind of extreme fatigue that feels like you’re slogging through quicksand and sinking fast. The kind of fatigue that feels like your feet weigh 100 pounds each. First trimester fatigue! I hate it when that happens. Since I lose so much of my month to caregiving, I feel I need to work double time when I get home. But this month, I couldn’t. Every time I turn around, I feel like I’m hitting a wall.
It’s times like this I remember Elijah in 1 Kings 19:1-8. Remember how after Elijah had conquered the 400 prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel, Jezebel threatened his life? After this huge victory, he ran like crazy to escape her threats. Finally he sat down under a broom tree and whined to the Lord. But Yahweh, rather than criticizing him, had some ravens deliver some take-out and told him to take a nap. Yahweh knew that without being refreshed, Elijah wouldn’t make it.
How do I cope? Pretty much like Elijah (without the ravens):
- Whenever possible, I schedule appointments later in the day and allow myself to sleep in. And I don’t let myself feel guilty.
- When I hit a wall during the day, I take a nap. I can’t spare the time, but I can’t go on. Seriously.
- I try to eat healthy food — more protein and less sugar.
- I try to discipline myself to get more exercise. A short walk reinvigorates the brain cells.
- Most important, I don’t neglect my time with God. It’s easy to think I don’t have time when my day is already starting late, but prayer and Bible study need to remain a priority.
What do you do when you’re utterly exhausted? How do you regroup?