I want to be a strong person in every way; spiritually, emotionally, physically and intellectually. I went through a period of time where there were so many big things happening, some good and some crisis situations, I was worn out, drained. Have you ever experienced that?
The scariest part about it is that when you’re going through it, often times you don’t realize that exhaustion is the problem. At least that’s how it was for me.
I knew everything that was happening was just life and I considered myself to be a strong person, but suddenly I found myself reacting differently to life. I was extra tired, not full of energy as usual; I had a very difficult time concentrating; I felt numb inside, not my usual sense of joy; I was getting upset by silly things, my normal ‘go with the flow’ attitude had deserted me; I was feeling like everything was a huge endeavor and also felt very anxious, which was really unusual for me; and the worst part, the absolute worst part is that I found myself feeling sorry for myself. Ugh, I have no desire to become a victim of my own life.
As I was realizing this more and more, I was watching something on TV and a commercial came on regarding a medication for depression and I realized I was showing a lot of the symptoms they were describing.
“What?! Not me, I’m never depressed, I don’t get depressed; what the heck is happening??”
That was my reaction . . . denial. Then I thought maybe I really had some chemical imbalance or something, there had to be some explanation. How could I go from being the fun-loving person I always was to this person who was always tired and just not feeling much joy?
Turns out there was an answer, probably an easy one if you were someone observing from the outside. I was exhausted; spiritually, emotionally, physically and intellectually, completely exhausted.
Exhaustion can lead to some very unpleasant conditions and results, let me tell you, and I didn’t like it. I should have immediately booked a month long vacation at some resort and given myself time to rejuvenate, but who can do that when you’re in the middle of a busy life?! Instead I decided to draw a line in the sand, STOP feeling sorry for myself and figure out how to get back to being me. I needed to rebuild my strength in every way. Here are some things I’ve been doing that have been helpful. If any of this resonates with you, you may find them helpful too.
1. BECOME MENTALLY STRONGER
I realize I have to choose each day to not feel sorry for myself and to keep focusing on the MANY things in my life for which to be grateful. Keeping a Joy Journal is helpful. I also play a couple word games on my phone. It helps me both exercise my brain and gives me something to do while relaxing as I have a difficult time just sitting doing nothing!
2. BE KIND TO MYSELF
I allow myself to take a break. If I’m tired, I give myself permission to sit down, put my feet up and watch a movie, play outside with our Great Dane, go to lunch with a friend or take a day off. This is much harder than it should be, I still struggle with it. I’m not sure when it happened that I feel I ‘should’ be productive every minute of every day. I’m really growing to like this taking a break thing though!
3. DO MORE THINGS THAT BRING ME JOY
I had become so used to doing all the tasks necessary to keep up with everything during those challenging years that I didn’t even notice that I was no longer doing a lot of the things I love to do. Spending time outside, riding bikes, drawing, dancing, laughing . . . I have become more aware of making time to do these things.
4. CULTIVATE AND NURTURE
Cultivate means to prepare and/or develop. Nurture means to care for and encourage the growth of someone or something. In the energy of ‘put the oxygen mask on yourself first so you can take care of others’, I’m becoming better and better at cultivating and nurturing me. It’s not selfish, it’s exactly the opposite. I highly recommend it.
I decided when I stood at that proverbial line in the sand that I would CHOOSE to be more joyful even if it was difficult. I decided to be bold about finding joy in every day, even when I didn’t feel like it. That is what led me to create Boldly Joyful to become a resource for anyone who is feeling the same way. Here’s to choosing to be Boldly Joyful!