Jeanne Takenaka

How do we keep going forward when we’re exhausted?

I’m exhausted. The month of May held much more than I anticipated. I loved celebrating Peter’s graduation and having family come from around the country to be part of the celebration. I didn’t love being sick for the first half of May or all the stress of end-of-school-year activities. Now that we’re into June, I’m fatigued physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally. We’ve all been at a place in life when we’re exhausted, but what do we do when we can’t step off life’s merry-go-round in order to rest?

Small white buds of flowers about to bloom...a peaceful photo for when we're exhausted
11 Tips for How to Cope When We're Exhausted—We’ve all been at a place in life when we’re exhausted, but what do we do when we can’t step off life’s merry-go-round in order to rest? #tellhisstory #exhausted Click To Tweet

In the middle of last month’s chaos, I couldn’t just withdraw from life. Taking care of my family and myself while preparing to celebrate Peter with family created a hard deadline. I couldn’t tell life to stop and wait a few days. 

I’m not a doctor or nutritionist, I’m a mama with a complex family. These tips have helped me deal with exhaustion when life just won’t stop.

Long white flowers bowed down, symbolic of how we sometimes feel when we're exhausted

What to Do When We’re Exhausted

Spiritual Tips

I say this a lot, but spending time with the Lord is crucial, especially when we’re exhausted. When we take even a few minutes to be with God, He has a way of meeting us and giving us manna for each day.

Meditate on God’s word. It’s amazing how God brings verses across our path right when we need them. When this happens, take a few minutes to really think about what they’re saying and how they apply in the season you’re in. Pray them over yourself and your situation. 

Give yourself grace. When we’re dealing with a lot of life and we’re TI-RED, we need to give ourselves grace . . . both in not trying to do everything and in being kind to ourselves when we make a mistake. And especially in not taking on anything new.

11 Tips for How to Cope When We're Exhausted—Give yourself grace. When we’re dealing with a lot of life and we’re TI-RED, we need to give ourselves grace #tellhisstory #exhausted Click To Tweet
Small white flowers in full bloom on a spindly branch

Physical Tips

Do what you can to get enough sleep. Most of us know the importance of giving our bodies the opportunity for sleep. Sleep impacts every aspect of who we are. If you can, when you feel tired during the day, take a short (less than thirty minutes) nap.

Choose healthy foods and drinks. Sugar is a quick fix for the taste buds, but it’s a poor substitute for healthy food. Whole foods—vegetables, fruit, good proteins—will fuel our bodies when we’re tired but can’t stop life from spinning on. Staying hydrated also increases our alertness during the day.

Go for a walk, even if it’s short. A change of environment, and sunshine’s Vitamin D can do a lot to refresh a body (and spirit). 

Two geese and their five goslings following...symbolic of how parenting sometimes leaves us exhausted

Mental Health Tips

Prioritize. Determine the most important things to do in a day and let the others go. Hint: “Most important” doesn’t mean every item on your to-do list. I select three things in a day I would like to get done and order them with a 1, a 2, and a 3. I don’t look at the other twenty-seven items until those three priorities are completed.

Make time to take a break. Even in my busiest days last month, when I recognized that sense of becoming overwhelmed, I gave myself permission to spend a few moments doing something I enjoyed or that relaxed me.

Discover what helps you to feel rested and give yourself permission to spend some time doing those things each day. If you want to learn more about various kinds of rest, read the posts I wrote last autumn about choosing rest. Sometimes life’s demands don’t stop, but those demands are not the boss of us. We can alleviate exhaustion with restfulness.

Ask for help. There’s no shame in either delegating some of your tasks or in asking for help. When life throws a lot at us, it’s easy to feel like we must power through. But, if someone asks how they can help, first say yes. Then give them things to do that will ease your burden.

Most of all, remember God is always with us. Our Father didn’t say he would be with us sometimes, or when the going is easy. He says He’s with us always (take a look at Matthew 28:20) and that He’ll never leave or forsake us (See Hebrews 13:5). Invite him into the season you’re living in. Lean on Him. Rest in Him.

White pelicans and other birds doing what we should do when we're exhausted...finding time to relax

After the Busyness

With graduation is behind us and extended family returned home, I’m still fatigued. It’s going to take time to find my “new groove,” both in the season of having a graduate living at home and in the season of setting up new routines. But, I’m looking forward to slowing life down, easing into a new daily schedule, and focusing on the things that feed my spirit and body.

What about you? What helps you deal with exhaustion when life doesn’t stop? Is there a tip you would add to this list? 

Most weeks, I link up with Grace and Truth, Anita Ojeda, Instaencouragements, and sometimes Let’s Have Coffee. Come join and read more encouraging posts!

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