Saturday, January 22, 2011

An Overnight


Sometimes I am chugging right along doing what I do... loving and serving my husband and children, teaching, running the home, serving where I can, snippets of creativity, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, I hit a wall of tired.

That happened about a week or so ago. Deep, achy tired swept through my mind and body. Many different reasons why...holiday-fatigue, early risings, a death of a high school friend, and flu-recovery. My head was hurting on and off for days...my body was heavy...my emotions running thin.

These are the gracious warning signs that I need to take care.

My husband and I discussed where I was and my need for extended sleep and some quiet to process. My life is lived in constant interruption and I start to feel the frazzle from that and the short-term memory always short-circuits.

So on Thursday, Mike tracked down a night for me at a nice local hotel for $54 on Hotwire. By Friday afternoon, my bags were packed and I was on my way! I prayed immediately that God would allow me to receive this time and His care and not feel guilty or selfish or irresponsible.

I arrived...and rested.

Then I listened to my old CD of Twila Paris's Sanctuary and knit.

Dinner and a leisurely browse at Barnes and Noble.

Back to the hotel to lotion up and pamper my long-neglected hands and feet.

And then crawled into a big, comfortable bed with clean sheets, lots of pillows, and a few cookbooks and sewing books.

Sleep! I turned out the light at 9:15pm (awakened twice to adjust the temperature) and slept until 9am.

Coffee and fruit downstairs along with an English muffin with butter and jelly.

Went to the room for a long, hot shower and got dressed slowly and without pressure.

Several hours of praying, reading One Thousand Gifts, journaling, searching the Word. Refilling and refueling and refreshing.

Called downstairs and got a late check-out time (a must!)

Packed up and left. Headed to an office supply store for new pens, fresh note cards, and writing pads. A browse through Michael's for a box to hold playdough supplies. A stroll through Pier 1. Late lunch at Panera.

I received an email invitation from my husband to come home at 5pm today for hamburgers and potatoes, and Cranberry Ginger Ale. Oh how he loves me well!

Women, take care. Listen to your body and your emotions and when they nudge and moan, give them attention. Taking time to nourish and strengthen our minds and bodies and emotions and spirit gives us more to give to others.

Acknowledge weakness, eschew martyrdom, and find what you need to be well.


photo by noodle and lou

13 comments:

Julze said...

Yes...I can totally relate to your post. Fatigue/exhaustion is deliberating when not managed and is something I've experienced after my beautiful boy was born almost 12 years ago (PPD). Even now, I have days of needing to just be "nice" to me...and to take things quietly until my strength is restored again.

I have bought One Thousand Gifts too and look forward to reading it!

Have a blessed day!

BethS said...

Yahoo for you! I did the same right before my third baby (in three years!) was born and it was wonderful. I sense the need to do it again shortly after J returns from his deployment.

I can't wait to hear your thoughts on One Thousands Gifts. I just ordered it.

Enjoy your homecoming tonight!

laurel said...

Wow, Aimee, that sounds incredible! I hope you feel refreshed and rejuvenated!

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Good for you! I think that kind of time away is just necessary for mothers (and sometimes fathers, too.) My husband and I "trade retreats" once a year. Oh, how I love my weekend away!

Andrea said...

I so love that!!!!! sounds exactly like what I would do!

♥ Tina said...

You were wise to listen to your body.

If I had listened to mine, I wouldn't have burned out recently. It's taking me a long time to recover and has been a steep learning curve.

Blessings, Tina xx

debbie bailey said...

You are so wise to do something about it when your body and mind cry, "Enough!" It takes you a few steps away from the precipice. For several years I always felt like I had one foot on and one hanging over the edge. The mini-vacations I took saved me from going over the edge. I spent mine the same as you; lots of time in prayer and the word and journaling. There's nothing holy about the kind of martyrdom that wears you out so you're no good for anyone. Keep taking those breaks, Aimee!

Ali said...

I'm so impressed with how you listen to yourself and your need to rest. You are very pragmatic! I'm also impressed that you were able to talk to your husband in a way that you could work out the issues together. You two must be very mature! When I get like that I complain and don't think of helping find a solution. Then I tend to make my husband feel attacked and blamed for not helping me enough. Have you always known what you need and how to achieve rest in a healthy way? Can you write more on this? I wondered how you communicated this to your husband with out it causing conflict.

~ Ali

Bonita said...

Aimee, this posts makes me smile a big, toothy grin. I'm so glad you did this for yourself (also for your family). I wish more women would recognize the signs and do something about them. Also, that more husbands would follow your husband's lead and let them.

Aimee said...

Tina: (((hugs)))
I have learned these hard lessons of taking care by living through a horrendous bout of burnout in the summer of 2007...it took me a LONG time to recover from that (6 months or longer?!) It sobered me and humbled me like nothing else...I never want to go through that again and my husband never wants me to go through that again :) Burnout is REAL and can be prevented...but we have to be the ones to take care of ourselves b/c no one else will! It's WISE and GOOD and so needed.

Ali, yes, I will write soon about how we have gotten to this place as a couple and our communication with each other. I have learned to state my needs clearly and respectfully without manipulation or blame...just matter of factly and honestly. My husband loves me and really does desire my highest good so that helps :) He watched me go through burnout and how REAL it is and never wants us to go through that again so when I tell him that I am seeing the warning signs, he really listens and tries to brainstorm with me and work with me to ease burdens and responsibilites. He and I try not to live with a 50-50 mindset in our relationship, but we both try to serve and love each other 100-100. This is also after 13 years of marriage and going through the trauma of a 8 month separation 6 years ago.

Tracey M. said...

I am so blessed to be connected to blogs like yours, women who truly are in love with the Lord and seek to serve them with all their (refreshed) hearts. This post was very encouraging. I used to do a yearly retreat for a solo hotel getaway to celebrate my baptism anniversary and this is such a good reminder of taking time to slow down and recoup. Thanks for sharing this!

Ali said...

Thanks for writing this post. I've been married just shy a couple months shy of 10 years and we have 3 kids and have had 2 miscarriages. I've been pregnant or breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant (we've had several fertility issues) most of our marriages. All that to say I've been hormonal drained all these years too!

I do not have a good example of "taking care" of myself. My Mom was pretty much drained and not supported during my entire childhood. She is still depleted from raising children and kind of detached. I don't want that to happen to me but, I could see it happening.

I could so relate to your post with feeling overwhelmed, fatigued, exhausted and drained. It makes me feel guilty because I love my husband and our kids and our lives. I wonder why I'm not stronger or able to handle everything.

I haven't heard very many women talk about having these same feeling and then working with their husband to find a positive solution! I'm so impressed that you are "real" and that take care of it so simply as a team with your husband!

I really hope you post more on this topic!

Thank you!

~ Ali

LobotoME said...

that sounds like a glorious 24 hours or REST! good for you for taking care of yourself!