I firmly believe God never intended or intends human beings to live life on the jaded edge. In some ways, I’ve come to believe that if I feel exhausted on a continuous basis, I’ve missed the mark in some way, missed part of the plan God has for me on a day to day basis.
I decided to take a long hard look at our lives and figure out what makes us end up tired more often than not, and what we could do about it, or during it to make it more bearable.
So what have I learnt about tiredness and how to handle it so my life doesn’t become one sprawling grey cloud with only fleeting glimpses of sunshine?
1) Prioritise: One of the biggest things I realized about tiredness and exhaustion was this – the things that exhaust us are not necessarily bad things, but good things out of priority.
We all know the “bad” things that can make us tired – too much TV, too many nights out, bad sleeping habits etc. We all have something we’re dealing with/trying to get better at in that area. But what about the good things – church, ministry, family, friends, dare I say children? Is there a possibility we are giving too much time to one of these to the detriment of ourselves and our relationships? Not judging or prescribing here, just sharing something I’ve had to give serious thought in recent days. What it’s made me do is to give rest as much priority in life as possible, as opposed to letting it become that thing I do when all else is done. Does that mean some things will be left undone? Yes. Is it worth it? I think so!
2) Watch for Tell-tale Signs: What else? Well, I’ve learnt to be on the look-out for tiredness, both in myself and in Mrs Bonds. I’ve started to recognise the tell-tale signs that exhaustion is creeping in, like lack of patience, irritability, snappiness, etc (they all look the same don’t they?). In those instances, it has helped us when we’ve taken the time to recognise what’s going on and take steps to try to get that extra hour of sleep in, or cancel one engagement or the other so we can rest properly (yes, cancel – there’s that priority thing again!). Also, just knowing we’re getting close to the edge makes us more able to put in the effort to remain agreeable, rather than just let things like manners and courteousness slip away unnoticed.
3) Be Attentive to Yourself: Talking of effort, its been a real help for me to learn to rein in the things I really feel like “instinctively” complaining about when I’m tired (and that does take effort!). I’m much more likely to say something thoughtless when I’m tired, so just reminding myself that I’m tired and I probably can’t conjure up the aptitude to say what I want to say in a constructive manner has helped me side-step a good few issues in the past. And anyway, its quite likely the only reason I had something I wanted to complain about in the first place was that I was feeling a bit ratty in the first place. The words “vicious cycle” come to mind.
4) Just Because… For the sheer pleasantness, friendlyness and sexiness we feel when were alert and energetic, I feel it’s worth paying the price to either not run ourselves in to the ground in the first place, or at the very least, not charge around like bulls in a China shop if that can’t be avoided.
Those are my brief observations. I’d be glad to hear any more you have. I for one still have a lot to learn. Let’s talk about it.