Monday, August 15, 2016

Healing the Weary Soul



Soul-weary, it's my term for emotional burnout. It's what I feel after, oh, ten minutes of hearing the news. We've all experienced it—the feeling of emotional fatigue and lack of inspiration. You're a happy person, but the world has a way of beating down your door, shoving garbage in your face, and making you feel sad and alone. It's even more troublesome if you're particularly empathetic. 

Aside from booze and chocolate cake, what does a person do about it? Here are my personal tips for handling soul-weariness. 


Disconnect

This is THE most important part of rejuvenating the soul, in my opinion. We are in constant connection with everything—news, social media, your nosy mother-in-law. We are addicted to our phones and all the overstimulating tidbits they send our way. Don't believe me? Watch other diners next time you're at a restaurant, particularly couples. If one gets up to go to the bathroom, I'll bet you a Popsicle the remaining patron will be checking their cell phone before their date has even crossed the room. 

We can't just BE anymore. We have this subconscious drive to be engaged, and it's not healthy. I'm not immune. Recently, on an electronics fast, I found myself reaching for the TV remote with no purpose in mind. 

And I found THAT very disturbing.

If you're feeling burned out and world weary, disconnect. Trade the television for a book, preferably one made of paper. ;) Skip the radio and listen to silence. Turn your cell phone off, or at least set it to vibrate. It's okay to miss a call. Up until fifteen years ago we did it ALL the time. Make a conscious decision to disconnect from anything that distracts you from you.

I recommend doing this for an entire day, though I understand that's unrealistic if you have children. But even just an hour will do you some good. You'll be surprised by what you discover about yourself when you don't have outside forces distracting you.

Go to Nature

For me, nature is not right outside my door. Well, I guess it is, but it's not what you imagine. It's hard caliche (clay) soil and some pathetic-looking scraggly shrubs. So when I'm feeling soul-tired, I take a drive into the mountains. It's the one blessing of where we live—we're just a mere 70 miles away from evergreens and clean air. Of course, it'd be better if it weren't 70 flipping miles away, but I'll take what I can get!

If you're feeling emotionally drained, take a walk. A REAL walk. Get into some trees, get your bare feet in the grass, sit in silence and just be. If you do nothing other than turn off your cell phone and spend an hour hidden in the silence of the forest, you've taken marked steps in rejuvenating your soul. As they say, a witch goes to nature to heal!

Meditate

I meditate at least twice a week, but my aim is to do so daily. Even just five measly minutes can have a powerful effect when it comes to meditating. And if you're feeling too flustered or scattered to sit in silence, it's even MORE important you take a few moments to do so! I prefer chakra meditations (this one is great for beginners) but mind-focusing techniques are also invaluable. As the saying goes, control your mind or it will control you. Our mind is the physical connection between our body and our higher self. Like any other organ, it needs to be cared for and nurtured. Constant stimulation and noise does not do a mind good. Embrace silence. Seek darkness. Meditate and center your mind. You'll find you're more alert and focused if you meditate regularly. 

Essential oils

When I'm feeling the beginnings of an emotional burn out set in, I rub my feet with Revitalize essential oil from Starwest. It has uplifting essential oils, like lemon and sweet basil, and it works while I sleep. When you're feeling worn out, it's nice to have something that does the work for you!

You could also put a few drops in a diffuser and use it while you meditate, adding aroma and purpose to the room! ;)

Other essential oil options that help us balance, focus, and find rejuvenation are peppermint, sage, clary sage, rosemary, and citrus oils. 

Listen to your body

If you're feeling soul-weary, it's only a matter of time before your body catches up. Before I began listening to my body, I'd keep pushing, pushing, pushing myself to do more. I'd drop into bed exhausted, chastising myself for not doing one more load of laundry or for forgetting to make a grocery list. I could feel the fatigue in my bones and in my chest (which I eventually came to understand was my heart chakra), but I'd ignore it. "Rest is for the weak! Be strong!" I'd tell myself.

Foolish girl.

I started to notice a pattern. On days when I felt as if I was dragging myself—body and soul—through the day and didn't take the time to rest, I'd inevitably end up super sick the following day. Sometimes it was a migraine, often it was respiratory infections, but I'd nevertheless find myself on my ass, too sick to even enjoy the time off. 

Don't wait until you get sick. Take the time now. Take an afternoon to read. Call out of work and binge on Netflix. Skip making dinner and treat yourself to a meal out, sans dishes. My mother calls these "down days." And you know what? That woman rarely gets sick!

Listen to your body. If you want to do nothing but stay in bed, do it. If you want to spend an entire day reading (my personal retreat), curl up with a favorite novel. One day is not going to derail your life plans, but it could mean the difference between feeling refreshed tomorrow and waking up sick!

Set boundaries

Boundaries are a necessary aspect to a healthy life and will look different to each individual. As someone who works from home, this means not allowing myself to check e-mail or social media "one last time" after my established work hours. For a mother, it may be limiting laundry to one day a week. Johnny didn't get his favorite shirt into the wash? Oh well. You're not a servant. You may be a mother, but you're also a human being who needs self-care. Establish boundaries and stick to them.

In many cases, this may come in the form of limiting time with other people. We all have that one friend who is in a perpetual crisis. Many of us have relatives that seem to suck the life out of us through the phone line. Pay attention to what drains you and limit it. If you're taking a day to yourself, avoid it all together!

Take a walk in the dark

I don't know whether it's the quiet or the actual darkness, but something about taking a walk at night feels like a giant bowl of chicken soup for my little Pagan soul. Winter is my absolute favorite time to take evening strolls. While everyone is inside avoiding the (moderately) cold weather, I'm outside basking in the solitude and frosty cheeks. Of course you'll want to exercise safety (I go with my husband), but if it's something you can do I highly recommend it!


Surround yourself with happiness

Listen, I love me some Orange is the New Black, but when I'm feeling soul-weary and marginally depressed, the last thing I need is to watch a chick shank another inmate. If I recognize the symptoms of burnout coming on, I make sure to surround myself with positive things that make me happy. Even though I adore Dean Koontz and horror movies, rampant murder does not feed the soul. So I switch to cozy romance novels and sugary-sweet TV shows (Like Cedar Cove or Hart of Dixie. Doesn't get more fluffy than that!).

Books, music, TV/movies, people, conversations—if you walk away feeling sad or dark, it's time to change the proverbial channel. Right now is a time to nourish and rebuild. Surround yourself with pleasant, enriching things and avoid the rest for a while. 

Remember, it's not selfish to take care of yourself! Nourish your soul, my friends!

What's your go-to when you're feeling soul-weary?


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10 comments:

  1. My favorite thing is tea and cuddles with my dog Jasper.

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    1. Dog snuggles make EVERYTHING all better! ;) Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Wonderful article! For the last five years or so I have been doing many of the things you have talked about. I have suffered a lot of loss over the past eight or so years and finally got counseling. It was there I learned about a little or maybe not so little thing called "mindfulness". There is a website called Sounds True and there are countless resources for mindfulness including mediation, holistic healing with essential oils, herbs crystals, and simple things like easy breathing techniques.I started with someone named Dr. Jon KabotZinn. He is the director of a center in Massachusetts. He has been doing this kind of work for over thirty years. There are of course many others but he's a great one to start with. I hope this will give you some ideas!

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Yes, mindfulness is a wonderful thing. =D I'm checking out Dr. Kabot-Zinn right now. Excited to learn more about him. Thanks for sharing this information! And thanks for taking a moment to comment. Many blessings!

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  3. *sigh* I just love your blog <3 Great post sister witch!

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    1. *Also sigh* I hope you know how much that means to me! Thank you so much for sharing such a sweet, considerate comment! =D =D Really brightened my day!! Many blessings, my friend! ♥

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  4. Okay, so I'm currently going through some very stressful life changes. It basically feels like my whole world has been thrown backwards and flipped upside down. Your whole blog is absolutely beautiful. Just reading it gives me some respite from the reality around me. I've been soul searching a lot, trying to find some ways to reconnect to myself and the world around me, all of the ideas posted here have seriously motivated me! I'm waiting for the sun to set as we speak so I can go and unwind in the woods. Keep writing and I hope you don't mind my commentary popping up here and there! :]

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    1. I'm so very glad it could be of some comfort to you! I hope things are starting to feel a little better. Just remember, EVERYTHING changes. So even the shitty parts will get better because we are in a constant state of transition.

      And I'm more than happy to see your comments pop up! =D Sorry it took so long for me to respond. You got sent to the SPAM folder. Bad filter!

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  5. Aside from all the elements in nature whose healing powers provide us the ability to recover some ailments that we might have, our bodies as part of nature also has its intrinsic abilities to maintain and heal itself. Emotion balance

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As always, consult with your doctor before implementing any recommendations from this blog or comment thread.