By Chris Reed

As I’m typing this, the common energy drain in all our lives is coming from COVID-19. The response to and effects of the virus have caused many to feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. And who knows how much longer this will last.

I don’t know about you, but fatigue in my life produces many undesirable results:

  • I lose patience and get frustrated and angry
  • I think and speak negatively
  • I become harder to please
  • I give up and give in faster
  • I doubt my abilities and purpose
  • I ignore truth and become irrational
  • I can’t concentrate well

I could go on, but I’m getting tired of thinking about all this negativity, so I’ll stop there.

As Parents, I know that many of us can feel guilty about resting and self-care. I want to free you from that unhealthy thought and tell you it’s more than okay for you to take care of yourself! In fact, you need to take care of yourself first.

Every time we fly on an airplane, we hear flight attendants sharing some variation of the Oxygen Mask Rule, “Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.”

The reason you take care of yourself first is so you can help others. Parents, take care of yourself first, so you can help your children. You can help them become healthy adults initially by modeling health to them.

Here are 3 Steps to get Rest:

  1. Understand the difference between ‘rest’ and ‘escape’
    Rest energizes us while escape leaves us depleted. I’ve found that rest enables me to regain energy, strength, confidence, and even my sanity, so I can approach the responsibilities of tomorrow with my full potential. In contrast, while escape may provide me with an immediate gratification that brings happiness, control, or numbness, it ultimately brings me to tomorrow feeling less prepared, less capable, and less hopeful. (An example of escape in my life is binge-watching something on Prime or Netflix)
  2. Prioritize rest and be intentional about self-care
    Remember the Oxygen Mask Rule and schedule restful actions in your days and weeks.
  3. Remain consistent in your pursuit of rest
    Give people you trust permission to ask you how it’s going in this area.

Here are Some Ways I Rest and Avoid Exhaustion:

  1. Get to bed on time
    Me when I don’t get enough sleep 🤬🤬🤬
  2. Enjoy time with Jesus at the beginning of and throughout each day
    Reading Scripture and praying brings me peace. I’ve also recently started brief times of meditation using a new app called One Minute Pause.
  3. Hang out with the right people
    I don’t isolate from others, but I also don’t spend time with people who drain me. I enjoy time with those who breathe life into me, who add value to me, and who I have fun with.
  4. Get out of the house
    For me this can look like going to the gym or to a coffee shop. It can be a walk around Lake RSM with my beautiful bride or a meal with a friend. Maybe playing basketball with my kids or walking around the Irvine Spectrum alone. Also, sitting in the backyard listening to the birds and looking at the stars. The Sun and the wind along with different sights, sounds, and smells really energizes me.
  5. Do a physical workout
    Sweat is sweet. This has been more challenging for me since my gym has been closed, but I know I’m headed down a dark path if I don’t do cardio and lift. Thanks YouTube!
  6. Eat healthy and take supplements
    Unhealthy eating results in me feeling sluggish and tired. My diet drastically affects my mood.
  7. Monitor my media intake
    During this crazy time, I don’t watch the news more than once a day. I keep it minimal only getting the highlights and not doing any deep dives. I’m also not on Social Media much.
  8. Mind my mind
    Sometimes my mind will visit unhealthy places. I don’t want it to remain there. These places are composed of thoughts brought on by Satan’s temptation and my imperfection. I strive to follow Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
  9. Listen to worship music
    I have a Spotify worship playlist that either plays as background music at home or blasts loudly for all our neighbors to hear. Sometimes I’m polite and wear earbuds.

So, there it is. A few things that help me not to feel exhausted during exhausting circumstances. What would you add to this list? Taking naps? Getting your nails done? Reading? Do it!

I hope this helps. I just prayed for everyone who reads this post. Remember to model what a healthy adult looks like to your children. It begins with taking care of yourself which includes resting.

The Saddleback Parents Team
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