What do you do when you are worn out in soul and body?

This week has been exhausting. A change in work schedule required both a change in sleep schedule and a change in spiritual schedule. Getting up at 5:30am rather than 8:00am is not really that much of a jump in time, but it took me a while to start falling asleep earlier. I am still trying to figure out what to change in order to get enough time for spiritual life. I usually attend daily mass, but haven’t been since Sunday. I used to go to a 6:45am mass, but haven’t in a few years so it seems so early! Catholics fast for at least an hour prior to receiving communion, so an early mass means either a really early breakfast, or no breakfast. Since I love my morning food I need to start getting up really early. It is worth it, but I am lazy, so it is not easy.

Even though I added other times of prayer to my days this past week, I have found that missing mass has left me very drained. When I am drained I hide. I don’t actually crawl under my bed (as I often tell my husband so he will know where to find me) but I certainly want to. Instead of hiding physicaly, I ignore voice mail. I just don’t check it at all unless I see a missed call I was particularly anticipating. My family knows to email me since I will at least scan emails. But they also know to not expect a response unless it is urgent.

I also ignore my blog and feedreader. Somewhat surprisingly I still check a few blogs. I don’t tend to comment as much, but there is something really wonderful about scanning something which is both amazingly intimate and yet does not require my particular attention.  I feel as though other people are still really alive and well, even when they are simply articulating their own exhaustion, or even isolation.

It has not always been this way. When I lived alone I longed to connect with others. Phonecalls were always a delightful way to counteract self-obsession. There was an abundance of time by myself, for myself. I typed riduculously long emails and wrote many thoughtful cards. When I was tired I reached out to others. These days I withdraw until I have a chance to replenish with time alone.

Do you have any quirky ways of withdrawing when exhausted? Any suggestions for living so well that you’re never tired at all?

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15 thoughts on “Exhaustion

  1. kaitlyn

    I withdraw as well. I don’t pray as often, I resent my Bible readings, my conversations are shorter if not ignored, and I want to sleep ALL DAY. I understand what you’re going through!

  2. Cole

    You sounds as tired as I do! But I like your reason for tireness much better than mine. And now that I know you aren’t commenting as much – I feel special that you commented on my blog. :-)

  3. BB

    It’s been one of those weeks, hasn’t it?!

    When I feel exhausted, I tried to do something productive. I usually complain about it too, but if I accomplish something (cleaning, cooking, ANYTHING) I tend to gain some energy.

    This should help: IT’S FRIDAY!!! Have a good one!

  4. Christine

    Add me to the list as another person who withdraws. I’m pretty listless and practically do nothing. (At my worst, I would sit/lie on the couch watching 10+ episodes of Law and Order.)

    I usually find that going over to my parent’s house helps or just being around upbeat people that I trust.

    As for not being tired all the time, if you ever find out that secret, please share!

  5. Jenny

    When I’m exhausted, I get really introverted. I hate talking on the phone! I get crabby at my husband and dogs too easily when they want my attention, b/c I just want to be left alone.

    One way I pull myself out of the exhaustion slump is yoga. I find it to be a good combination of being relaxing and rejuvenating. Which is great, b/c it’s usually stress that leads me to exhaustion in the first place.

    I also find that when I slack on my faith and church, I often find myself leading towards that path of exhaustion….so I try not to get off track in that aspect of my life too. Church and prayer gives me the same sense of rejuventation that yoga does.

  6. Jenna

    I withdraw exactly the same way. I find myself aimlessly wandering the internet, never contributing, just moseying. I don’t pick up my phone, have it on silent all the tim (husband does not like this). My inbox begins to overflow and gets to the point where it takes an entire day to answer everything. It’s always tough to eject myself from these funks, as I convince myself that sleep or money would solve the problem. Sleep is an escape, and money would allow me to go to the spa. Since I really can’t use either I make t0-do lists instead. Having a list that I can cross off seems to help me feel motivated.

  7. Annemarie

    I have been feeling exhausted these past few weeks. We have had a lot going on (started right before Holy Week) and it hasn’t let up since. Planting season has begun, helping my husband with a book proposal, dealing with some flu thing in the house, etc. etc. My solution is to make sure I take a half hour and do whatever makes me feel better. Usually it’s reading or taking a quick nap or whatever I feel like for that day. I also make sure that I keep up my prayers because when I get tired that is one of the first things I forget. And they do give me strength so I don’t know why I skip.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog…I appreciate it.

  8. Mindy

    Sometimes, exhaustion is just how life goes and we have to truck through it… Other times, it signifies that we need to slow down and clear off our plate a little. I’m in the second boat. :) (Kind of like when I get sick, I’m like argh! I knew I didn’t sleep enough this week or eat very well…) I think “living well” means not over-committing yourself to things, making a little time each day to do something you love alongside the “have tos” of the day, knowing when you need a little more rest, or can handle less rest, and of course, reading the Word and praying for strength and endurance. Mass or no Mass, it is God alone who sustains you during these times! :)

    1. Rae Post author

      You are very right that it is God alone who sustains. The problem is that I am still fairly immature spiritually.

      So, even though I set aside time for God, it ends up being very scattered (and thus unprofitable) unless there is structure. And the structure that I provide for myself often contains only shallow prayer because I just can’t make myself focus and thus meditation=non-existent. So, even though God is sustaining me, I’m doing a pretty bad job of receiving the sustenance.

  9. Mindy

    PS. Thanks for checking out my blog still, I feel like it is sorely lacking! Seems to be that time of year, when things get a little crazy… blogs suffer indeed, lol.

  10. Kathleen

    I get up super early (like 4:30 a.m.) every day for work, and it took me awhile to get used to the schedule. Now when 8 p.m. rolls around I start getting ready for bed, and try to be asleep by 9. It works, except I get thrown off a little on weekends and it’s not all that much fun. But when I don’t get the sleep I need I’m irritable and emotional, and not only do I not enjoy that, neither do the people around me!

  11. Elizabeth

    Hi, Rae!

    Boy, I really know how you feel and I was also somewhat comforted to hear that you don’t return many phonecalls or e-mails when you are overwhelmed. I do that, too, and carry a lot of guilt over it.

    I guess how one replenishes oneself would depend on whether they are an introvert (like me) or an extrovert. Extroverts need social interaction in order to renew themselves, introverts need solitary pursuits and alone time. Ugh. Well, yeah, spiritually, I think you are on the right path to try and find spiritual time…You know, right before I married, I worked for a huge investment company that had it’s offices in a tall high rise in downtown LA (I’m getting to a point here) and somewhere in the building there was a small Catholic chapel (really!) and they always held a noon Mass. I know this because I am always drawn to any place where people are praying and so I would often attend, even though I’m LDS. Could you find a noon mass somewhere? Would that be more convenient? Don’t worry. You will work it out. Say a prayer for inspiration on how to order your life so that you can find the spiritual replenishment you need. You will know what to do.

    Okay, this is a bit personal, but everyone has to go to the bathroom, you could put your scriptures in there and read a little…When my kids were really little I had to get creative. :) I don’t know about you but really early and really late I’m no good at either praying or reading scriptures, because I’m too tired. Maybe mid-day?

    Let me know how you figure it out. Maybe it will give me good ideas for myself…We read scriptures as a family at supper, because the children are trapped by their food (ha!). Personally, I just say my longest prayers when the house is empty of people at some point during the day.

    Well, have a great day, friend. Try some diversion that is light-hearted today and get to bed and at least TRY to sleep early.

    Hope this helps!

    1. Rae Post author

      Your ideas are wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I actually used to go to noon mass before the schedule change. At this point I am shooting for the earliest mass for the present time and hoping that this schedule will change again in a few months so that I can get more sleep. I think that it is so wonderful that you are drawn to prayer, even when it is not of your own faith. I share your attraction but many people do not understand.

      My mother used to use the bathroom trick! I remember that she would keep a Bible above the washer and dryer and stop to read a bit while working on laundry.

      Thanks again for your well wishes. I did get to sleep early and it was wonderful.

  12. Sophia

    When I’m exhausted…I devote it to ME time. Time for some solitude, some mindless entertaining…but then I end up even more exhausted and bored and frustrated. Personally, there is no better therapy than a simple prayer, listening to some inspiring hymn songs.
    As for living life without any tiredness, IS there some kind of being out there who really can have such a life? But life would be very boring without any sort of excitement and work, right?

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