What do you like to do for a break?
And, more importantly than that, do you know when you need one?
Here are a few thoughts on that topic:
First of all, who knows first when we are tired and ornery? Not us! It’s usually information that settles on us as we see a reflection of our own frustration and confusion in the faces of our spouse and children. Have you ever experienced that phenomenon only to be delusional enough to think that it’s everyone else that needs help and an attitude change…not you?
So there’s a clue: when it seems that the whole world has gone crazy, maybe we ought to glance in the mirror and see what’s going on with us! Are we overly tired? Dare I say, hormonal? Perhaps grieving for some reason? Or feeling helpless or distressed?
Sometimes we have a feeling that we can’t understand. Where did it come from? Why did it surface now? And what do we do to get back to feeling Ike ourselves?
The best thing that I know is to think backward. What were you thinking about in the last five minutes? Ten minutes? Or the last hour? Have you taken on someone else’s problems or discouragement? Have you been under the influence of rapid fire negative or evil thinking? Think back, did you believe what you heard?
Once you identify the genesis or your current state you can correct your thinking errors and replace those negative and ugly lies for beautiful and hopeful truths! Almost instantly, the light will turn back on in your mind and heart you will be able to move forward again.
Sometimes we can recognize that we need a break by feelings of apathy. When we’re overly tired, it is hard to care about anything isn’t it? And that state of mind is no good when it comes to being present with our children and our spouse and friends. And it feels rotten!
So a break. What do you do? Do you have ideas to share? (Please do!)
My favorites are:
Riding a bike. Since that day my dad let go of the seat and I rode off down the road balancing myself, I have loved feeling wind in my hair and and the gentle motion of gliding down the street. I love it that biking gets me places faster than walking and I love the exercise too.
Reading a good book. Oh man, isn’t it dreamy to go places and get to know people without ever leaving home? Reading is such a ticket “out” of our own story and into someone else’s. And oh the perspective and clarity we can gain by observing our own lives from the vantage point of someone in another time and place. During the years that I chose to be close to my little ones most of the time, I read biographies of people who inspired me and helped me to dream of the things I would like to accomplish in my life when the time was right. And who can resist a sweet love story?
Journaling. Talk about perspective! Writing out your thoughts can be extremely therapeutic and trans-formative. (If you’re worried about someone seeing something youv’e written that you think might be disturbing to them, write it on a loose piece of paper and then burn it after you’ve purged your soul!) Most often, we just need the opportunity to look back and get a sense of our own progress. Journals are therapy in the writing and in the reading later. Greatest treasure I have in my home is years of my life written in my own hand.
Talking to a friend. Ever notice how being with friends lifts your spirits and rejuvenates you without even trying? I hope you have a few or a lot of connections to people who are positive and moving forward in their lives! And if for some reason you don’t allow others into your life, those who could be a support and strength for you, maybe talking to a good therapist would be helpful. (Speaking from experience, there are times when, for good reasons we keep to ourselves and we may need help in resetting our boundaries to allow friends and loved ones “in.” )
Prayer, Have you ever felt that your soul was parched and dry and after prayer felt that you had been in a gentle spiritual rain? The spiritual power of prayer can truly change the night to day and restore us physically and emotionally as well. Pour out your heart to God and let Him lead you along your path with confidence that He will answer your petitions and help you get your needs met.
Dance in the kitchen. Tell silly jokes. Play catch in the backyard. Jump on the trampoline. Swing on a park swing. Make popsicles. Sit on a garden bench. Dig in the dirt or weed a garden.
Give of yourself. Sometimes just turning our minds to think of the needs of someone else is restorative to us. Going out of our little space to minister to someone who needs help is the greatest balm I know. Is there an elderly friend who needs a letter or a visit? Someone who is living far from home that you could reach out to? Turning outward unlocks the doors of loneliness and overwhelm that can so easily threaten our days. Imagine a swirling, spiraling line on a paper going in and in and in, getting smaller and smaller, then mentally stopping the pencil, and making it go in the opposite direction, spinning out and out and out, is a good analogy of getting in a rut of self-absorption vs. the liberation of expanding our lives to include others and their wants and needs.
Funny isn’t it, that we can be all about ‘other’s needs’ as we care for our children, and yet still manage to get caught in the trap of isolation when we, as we are caring for others, pity ourselves, thus becoming isolated from the people and places that would give us respite and strength to continue to care for our own?
It’s just one day at a time. Little by little. We gain experience and learn how to best spend our strength and live out the days God has given us. Taking breaks as we need them so that we can be happy now.
Much love to you,