One of the things that is hard for any of us, is to take care of ourselves. We live in a society that is go, go, go. Instant gratification and it shows in our lives. Granted, COVID has slowed that down a little bit, but we can always find ways to stay busy – even inside.
Maybe you are working just as much, but doing it from home and now your home and work fall too close together and it is wearing on you. Maybe you have a family and are taking care of kids, cooking, cleaning, and probably helping them with school a lot more now. Maybe, like me you have been serving in your church and truly enjoy it, but still are not taking care of yourself.
Recovery from trauma is in itself a full-time job. Most people do not realize that therapy sessions are hard work, as is working through emotions and feelings you deal with every day that go along with the trauma. It is draining in itself. Add daily living and it takes all or more than the energy you have.
Plus, sleep is tougher for those with PTSD, depression, and anxiety. So, you start out your day with less energy than most. Add the physical aspects of pain you might experience, like fibromyalgia, and that drains you even more.
All of this is why many who have endured significant trauma are unable to “work” an actual job full time. There is just not enough emotional or physical energy to do it well. Though, your main job right now is to work through your trauma or you will always struggle.
I got quite active in my church food pantry when COVID hit. I began working two days a week, every week for 6 hours each day. That was an increase from one day a week for about 3 hours each. Plus, I am outside most of the time and in the summer the heat, and the winter the cold wear on me. Both make fibromyalgia worse. However, it wasn’t just the number of hours or the hot or cold.
I had been doing this for almost a full year without a break. When I thought about it, most everyone else that I serve with had taken a vacation. Well, I don’t have the means or anyone to do that with, but I still need a break. After talking it over with my counselor and praying, I decided that I needed to take two weeks for myself.
I had lost the cheerfulness of giving and serving, and God wants us to be cheerful givers. I didn’t want to not show God’s love to those I encounter coming through with their struggles. So, I decided to step away for a bit.
I’m going to spend this week and next week (today is February 15) and spend more time with God, more time getting the writing done that He has laid on my heart, and tackle some needed things around my home. I have been so tired I have not been able to keep up with my own life because I am so drained between trauma work and serving.
I do believe God has been increasing my stamina to get back to work as I am pursuing some avenues to begin that, but it a step by step process to get where we need. Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint.
Even Jesus saw the need to rest. He would often go away to a solitary place to pray and refill Himself for what He was to be to the people. He then also encouraged the disciples to rest as well.
“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:30-31
They were followed to this place by others, but Jesus proceeded to feed all 5,000 that showed up, encouraging them to sit and eat, along with the disciples. Rest.
How are you feeling lately? Have you taken time to rest or do something for you? Even a half hour or hour here and there can make a difference.
I encourage you to pray about how you can rejuvenate and take care of yourself so you can have energy to do what God has for you in this life.
© 2021 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.