Notes on Working Hard and Resting Hard // Personal

 
The world will tell you how to live, if you let it. Don’t let it. Take up your space. Raise your voice. Sing your song. This is your chance to make or remake a life that thrills you.
— Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect
 
 

If you know my husband and me, you know we have had one heck of a year so far! The highs and lows (mostly lows) of my husbands mystery illness have been front and center for 13 months now, and lately life has either been too sick to work or work extra hard to make up for those sick days. 

For as much as I talk about finding joy in the little things, if I'm honest, I haven't been doing that lately. I've been working and thinking about working, thinking that if I can just do enough, I'll make everything better! 

Until six weeks ago when I crashed big time and spent the whole weekend in bed, and then missed a few more days of work due to getting sick again. That week forced me to take a good hard look at myself, at my health, and where I was headed (answer to all: not good). Things that were easy two months ago are almost impossible right now. It's a humbling experience to say the least.

My pride says to fake it 'til I make it! I'm fine! Keep going! It's the lie that my worth comes from what I do/how much I can do. Anyone else?? 

Maybe it is God calling a big cosmic time out on me; giving me a chance at a new way of living. This is what I know. I have always been a more is more person and something shifted in me this summer. Something inside me said, ‘No more!’
— Shauna Niequist

What do you do when you're constantly stressed, overwhelmed, or feeling burned out? What if you can't change all of the external stressors in your life? 

Well, that's what August was all about for me, and this is what I've found so far:

Change your mindset. Commit to take care of yourself before the dog hair is vacuumed. Give yourself permission to relax when it's time to relax, and whenever possible, make time to relax!

I'd love to hear your favorite ways to rest!!  Here's what I've been up to:

Me: "I'm going to go color and take a bath before bedtime."
Derek: "Okay. Are you 5?"
Me: "Essentially."

I bought a coloring book. I watch One Tree Hill while I wash the daily pile of dishes. I listen to music while I do the outside chores every morning and evening. I spend more time snuggling and playing fetch with my dogs. Sometimes I put my phone down and have 3 hour heart-to-heart with my husband and accidentally stay up until midnight. Sometimes I go to bed at 8:30. 

I'm trying a new way to do Bible study and have quiet time, thanks to a sweet gift from a friend. Some days on my way home from work I stop at the park and read/write, then lay on a bench in the shade and just watch the birds. I'm not allowed to have coffee or sugar right now, so it's dandelion root tea and honey (it's surprisingly good). Whenever the weather isn't too hot to handle, I try to be outside in nature -- finally put my hammock up after wanting to for 6 weeks! If that doesn't relax you, I don't know what will. 

So, my health is still confusing and crappy, but I'm focusing on what I can change and changing it! I've already found so much beauty along the way, and I'm thankful for the big crash if it means a big change. I wonder how many of us are in need of a drastic change in the way we do life, but resist it because we're afraid of who we'd be if we weren't trying to be Superwoman all the time.

I'm realizing that if this Superwoman is always busy working, always irritable and harsh, I don't want to be her!! I'll be the less productive but way better version of myself, thanks. This life is a lot happier already.

Is this something you struggle with too? Are you good at chilling out? I would love to hear your experiences -- your challenges or the ways you deal with them. Comment if you feel like sharing!!