Oh, winter! This happens to me every year. Without fail, the end of January rolls around and I start to feel extremely tired. No, I grow exhausted. Wearied. Fatigued. Bone-tired. All day long l dream of sleep. Seriously. The hustle & bustle of the holidays have ended, so there is not the excitement of the season to sustain me, and my ambition goes awol.
While numerous studies have proven that the darkness and cold connected to this season can be a factor in how one feels and functions, winter is not the actual root cause as to why I feel this way. It is merely the catalyst for deep seeded overwhelmingness that feels my mind.
I have a to-do list that hits the floor and keeps going. There is no time for me to be tired, but the reality is that it is wintertime and I am, so that generates to feelings of guilt, which induces more…"exhaustion". It’s a vicious cycle.
Are any of you like me? I have such a need within my personality to be busy, social, and working that I fill my plate to capacity, and at times it even starts to overflow and I start to (admittedly) buckle under the pressure of it all. In my case, winter only feeds this problem. Because I am already fatigued, I become susceptible to crawling back in bed and throwing my blanket over my head rather than face all I have scheduled in my life. Sleep appears to be my “logical” conclusion (exercise, more water, and proper nutrition are more suitable options), but there never seems to be enough rest because I still have a mountain of work before me.
While not an exhaustive list, while reflecting on ways to fight this dilemma, I have complied a short list that I hope is helpful for anyone who is going through a similar situation, including myself.
Practice Saying No-This one is hard for me. I like to be involved in everything (yes, everything) and I enjoy helping, so I can think up a million reasons why I need to accept. However, it is not always the wise choice. The undertaking may not be beneficial to our family, or others. Recently I was asked to teach a ladies Bible class. It was extremely difficult, but I reluctantly declined. I knew that I didn’t have the time in my schedule to properly prepare, and it wasn’t fair to those who would be attending the class to have a teacher who wasn’t putting the proper effort into the job. I still have a full calendar, but I may remain sane now!
Prioritize and Pace Yourself-I have often heard that those who get more done don’t just make lists, but they schedule their time. Instead of taking every task on your agenda and feeling buried beneath the load, think of what is most pressing and figure out a way to accomplish each commitment in small sections. Eventually your endeavors will be completed, and hopefully you will still have your sanity! Focus on one job at a time until it is time for the next one, and don’t drown under the big picture!
Prayer-This may seem like the least practical in terms of achievement, however it is the most vital. God will give you the peace you need to stay calm while you trudge through your ups & downs, highs & lows, stormy & busy times of life. Things may not always be perfect, or even rosy, but they can be accomplished without loosing your hair out or taking it out on your family. Devoted time in conversation with your heavenly Father can also help with your mood and clarity, which will give you that extra boost you need to “just keep swimming”!
Put God’s Word First-It is difficult to know how to navigate any trial in life without a guidebook. Whenever in doubt or distress, go to THE guidebook, God’s Holy Word. Will it miraculously make everything perfect? No, but it will escort you through ALL times of life.
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus tells us, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest”. There is no need to feel burdened when we know that at the end of the day, He is willing to help carry our load. That is a lesson I often need to remind myself.