I am a highly sensitive person. Emotions are at the surface, my brain processes very quickly (too quickly sometimes, which equals over-thinking), and I feel deeply. I love this part about myself, but it has taken some time to learn to love my sensitivity. When you’re told often that you’re “too emotional” or “don’t be so sensitive,” it can really become something you’re embarrassed by…or even ashamed of. Over the years, I have learned though that this part of me is just a part of how God has shaped and crafted me to be uniquely me. I have come to understand myself as an introvert and the ways I need to fill up in order to remain a good mom, wife, and friend. Have you figured out how you need to be filled up? Because we all need filling…only so much can be poured out before the needle is on E.
Keeping Your Bucket Full
1. Spend time with the Lord.
I won’t deny that this is a difficult thing for us to do. Whether you’re working 40+ hours a week, caring for a family, running a business, or even if you don’t have a busy life. It seems that spending time in prayer and in the Word is just too easy to let slide. I read a quote by Francis Chan that was really painful to read but so true. He said, “The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time.” It is the human condition. We are independent and willful creatures who stiff arm the one who crafted us when He is the one we most desperately need to fill us up.
Another thing I need to remember to do is to be in prayer. Offering up a silent prayer every single minute for the things I am facing keeps me in communion with the Lord. It helps me to stay mindful that He is with me and to ask His help in moments of need, praise Him in moments of blessing (three hour nap, anyone?), and ask Him for direction in my day.
2. Do something you love.
I know everyone and their mom and their mom’s uncle’s neighbor’s dog walker has written about this, but maybe its because its true!! So many times I find myself feeling refreshed and empowered to tackle the tough to-dos when I’ve spent an hour doing something I love doing. For me that is reading a good book, surfing through new recipes, or studying for school [yes, I am a dork], it fills me up. This isn’t just because its refreshing, but it is also because I am investing in me. I am taking a moment to practice my own worth. Did you know it brings the Lord JOY when you are enjoying His creation? Why did he gift authors with words or photographers with an eye for beauty or chefs with the ability to mix flavors? Because our enjoyment in His creation brings Him glory. Our enjoyment in the beauty He spoke into being fills our spirits to a refreshing overflow.
3. Get outside.
As a person who lives in Arizona, I have no lack of readily available sunshine. Although we have soaring temperatures that make me want to bury myself miles underground, the benefits of getting outside are more than just recreational enjoyment. You may not be an outdoor person [I was camping-phobic for years because I didn’t like getting dirty. :P Now, I am a mom. Enough said.], but getting outside has benefits just from sun exposure. It can boost your serotonin and endorphin levels as well as your immune system. When I was sick over the winter, I would go stand outside for a few minutes each evening and it helped me to feel a little better each time.
4. Eat and eat right.
If you are unaware…listen closely…food can affect your mood dramatically. I’ve learned this simply from eating gluten free for the past three years. Food can make you feel grumpy, sad, irritable, and depressed. Just last week I had a meal that I thought was gluten free [I had eaten it before and it was marked gluten-free at the restaurant], but it turned out to be contaminated. For the next two days, I felt like I hated the world. I was depressed, snippy, mean, and irritable. I snapped at my husband and kids more times than I care to admit.
Also, for me as a mom, my diet consists of coffee and dinner most days. Not good. I drink coffee and wrangle monkeys [while I try and get homework done!] until 3:00 or so when I realize I didn’t eat and then think, “Well, dinner is soon…” and just have a snack and then dinner. If I am not…and if you are not…feeding your body nutrients, you are going to be tired and run down. So eat! Eat!
5. Be mindful.
Okay, so this one may seem a bit wonky, but hear me out. In being a highly sensitive person, I am painfully aware of each emotion I am feeling. Sometimes, I am unable to identify them, but I know I am feeling and I am feeling deeply. One way I handle this is by being mindful. It isn’t easy and takes practice, but it simply takes sitting (or at least stopping what you’re doing), taking a deep breath, and identifying how you’re feeling. Be mindful (which is also known as being present) of where your tension lies. In your neck? Back? Face? Relax those places. Allow yourself to identify exactly how you are feeling. Explore those feelings. Discover the underlying reason. Feeling tension in my neck and face because I am feeling stressed in the moment…why am I feeling stressed? Because the kids are fighting over who gets to open the fridge (literally just happened right now). How can I alleviate this or at least make it manageable? Take a deep breath, offer a compromise, give hugs, and pray for peace.
I would encourage you to try these things. Really do them. And see if they help you to feel refreshed. Most days, I am running on empty, so doing extra makes me want to kick and scream…but remembering these five things helps me tremendously in my pursuit of peace in my home. xo