About a year ago I started feeling extremely tired, more than that, exhausted. My son was sleeping brilliantly and had been for months, but I felt exhausted. I would sleep well and wake up tired. I would do things in the day and by the time I got home at lunchtime to put Jonas down for his nap, I would struggle to muster up the energy to walk up the stairs, let alone do any of the chores I needed to do that afternoon. This was difficult, I hated feeling like this because I am an active person; I love ‘doing’ things all the time. I felt trapped and I hated it.
I don’t drive and so I walk everywhere. We go to groups every morning and I usually walk 45 minutes to each and then walk the same back home again. Often we would go out in the afternoon as well. More walking. More energy, and a more exhausted Mummy. I found myself in this routine where I was always doing and very rarely stopping.
I started praying. I asked some friends to pray for me as well. I didn’t want to feel like this and I needed wisdom on what to change. It was around this time I really felt God impressing on my heart that I needed to be wise. I needed to take control over my routine and my activities and actually allow myself time to stop. It doesn’t matter about what other mums may or may not do, this was about my capacity!
I used to find it hard to say ‘no’ when friends asked me to do something. Being a stay at home mum my diary was always blank so to speak and so whenever someone asked me to do something I would usually say yes. I would book things in the morning and then more in the afternoon. This was what I had done since having Jonas and the pattern I had created for myself.
The trouble was, my capacity in this season couldn’t quite keep up. And nor could I emotionally. If I was doing things with friends all day, and not having 1-1 time with my boy, I would end up feeling bad. Not feeling like I was doing things how I wanted to do them. This was exhausting.
Something had to change.
I decided to write down a list of drains and fills, things that drain me and things that fill me. If you haven’t done this I encourage you to. I wrote many things down but one was this; seeing people in the day fills me and I am drained if I don’t see anyone BUT seeing people all day long and not having 1-1 time with my boy, or time to do my chores that I know I need to get done, drains me. It exhausts me, and I end up feeling unproductive. This wasn’t something I had really understood about myself before now.
I decided to change my routine. Not religiously, but my new goal was this; to go out in the mornings to see friends, to let Jonas have fun at groups, then at lunchtime to be home. During Jonas’ nap I just sit, I read and relax. In the afternoon I am then free to do my jobs and to spend quality 1-1 time with my son. This isn’t free time that I needed to allow to be filled with things if I was asked to, this was planned time. Intentional time in order to achieve some of the things that I value. At the end of the day I feel energised and productive.
I can honestly say everything has changed. I really love life, I feel productive, I have so much more energy and I feel in control.
I heard a quote recently that went something like this;
Everyone is always busy and exhausted, we all have too much on our plates, but the thing is, we only have as much on our plates as we have allowed to be there.
This blog is called Making Space. Why, because I really see and know the value in making space. We can’t allow our diaries and ultimately our lives to be filled. We need to take control for our calendars, our time and our values. We need to make the space to stop, to reflect, to rest, sometimes to recover. My time is mine and it is up to me how I spend it. If like me you are exhausted, perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, I would encourage you to stop. To look at what you can change. What can you take off your plate?
Perhaps you’re a mummy reading this, perhaps you’re not. But whoever you are, one thing is for sure, if you are exhausted, you need to allow yourself time to stop and consider your day-to-day routine. Because sometimes in the busyness of life we just continue doing, we can forget about stopping. We can underestimate the peace, and joy that can be found in being intentional with our time. In making space for those things that really matter.