“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
— Matthew 11:28-30
The other day after school, Mae Belle did something uncharacteristic. We were outside at a friend’s home, and she laid down on a bench, folded her hands behind her head and crossed her feet.
I know a lot of you have very chill kids.
I do not.
(And, actually, it turned out that Mae Belle was getting sick with strep, we discovered by that evening.)
But I think a lot of us are craving a deeper kind of rest right now, like the kind that Jesus talks about in the Gospel of Matthew.
Last Sunday I said, “Things are hard, hard, hard right now. Hard for parents sending kids to school. Hard for those on lockdown in retirement communities. Hard for those caring for aging parents. Hard. Hard. Hard.”
I feel like I’m preaching the same message every Sunday. I am ready to preach the “joy comes in the morning” sermon, trust me, but the best I think I can do right now is to remind you of some of the tools within your resilience toolbox.
1 — Self Compassion
Before you read anything else, hear this. Things are hard. If you aren’t doing these things please don’t beat yourself up for it! When living in survival mode, some best practices get thrown out the window. If you can’t do all of this, that’s OK. Start with grace. Start with self love. Start by talking to yourself like you would talk to your best friend. And if this idea appeals to you check out Kristen Neff, pioneer in her field, who has a website with guided meditations and several books on self compassion.
2 — Drink a Glass of Water
My best friend tells me this often. It is a good idea to start your day with a glass of water. It is a pretty amazing, easy & free tool to reset your body and mind.
3 — Eat Something Green
How many of us have been eating comfort food since March of 2020? I know my waistline isn’t telling any lies. You probably don’t have the energy to change all your eating habits right now. But just eat something green, like throwing a little spinach in a smoothie or packing a salad for lunch. Eat something green and then celebrate that you did something healthy today. Easy as that. Bonus points for if you go outside and breathe some fresh air or go for a walk and get some kind of simple exercise.
4 — Call Your Doctor and/or Your Counselor
Have you put off your routine doctor’s visits over the last year? Time to put on a mask, trust your vaccine and go see your doctor. Have you noticed changes in your body or in your mind? Tell your doctor about it. Then celebrate that you have your you-know-what together today.
Read these words like a love letter from God every day. Set a timer for five minutes and do nothing except focus on your breath and drink deeply from the Spirit of the Living God. Journal. Trust me, it is even worth getting up an extra 30 minutes early. And, y’all, I am a twin mom who lived with utter sleep deprivation for years. Still, getting up a little earlier than everyone else saved my life. Just do it.
I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts and reading a lot of books and articles lately that suggest all sorts of “secret sauce” methods that will somehow fix things right now. And what I’ve decided is that there is no quick fix. We are experiencing trauma, and we weren’t built for sustaining this level of trauma for this long. So if you do everything in this article, I do not promise it will fix you or fix this mess of a world we are living in.
But, my loves, maybe by doing something on this list your life will feel just a little more bearable. And if so, then it is worth it. Because you matter. (Not your work. Not what you produce. Not how successfully you have navigated this poop sandwich of a pandemic…)
You matter to God and you matter to me.
Praying with you and for you. Cheering you on. Believing in the light that is still inside you.