Hot days, no rain, and my flowers were wilted and exhausted; bent over and looking depleted. Taking my sprinkling can outside filled with fresh cold water, I gave every flower a good drink as the day ended and shade covered them. Even before the morning sun, I could see those flowers starting to come back to life; but the next morning they were alive, perky, and pretty!
If only getting refreshed were possible! If only a glass of cold water could replenish what we’re lacking….but can we really get refreshed?
We know the usual suggestions to get refreshed:
- Get rest
- Have times of quiet
- Do things you enjoy
- Be with people you enjoy
But let’s break those down and see if we can consider some specifics that might help each of us think a little outside our “usual” box. First, we’ll consider the what we need; then in parenthesis we’ll consider how to get what we need:
- Get rest – Rest looks different to each person. To some it means a nap, to others it means leaving busy conversations to a quiet place for a break, and to others it means a different activity from the daily and everyday activities that make the need for rest important. (Can we make sure someone else – like our spouse – takes over and we can take a nap? Can we go outside on the hammock and get 20-30 minutes alone to replenish our thoughts, emotions, read a book or the bible to get a new perspective, or take a walk or run with a friend to get those endorphins going and a new conversation and person to chat with?)
- Have times of quiet – When our days are busy and noisy and maybe even loud, we need to consider what quiet looks like to us. Is quiet silence? Is quiet a different location? (Maybe what one needs is a new spot. Not like going away for a week but like the porch or back yard. Perhaps it’s another room where you’ll get a few moments alone. Consider if that time of quiet should be accompanied by a book, podcast, or other mode to switch your mind and boy from chaos to quiet.)
- Sleep – This one can be tough, especially when little children are in our life and they are up a few times in the night. But sleep is still needed and important, so one needs to get creative. (How about taking turns being on night call. Figure which nights work for you and help each other out. Consider the next days’ needs and who needs sleep the most. Another idea is to trade off Saturdays or other days off from work…Dad gets to sleep in on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays and Mom gets to sleep in on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays. This way no one is pretending not to hear the children!)
- Do things you enjoy – This, of course, is the million-dollar question for everyone. No one can tell you what you should or do enjoy. But there is an easy way to determine your “likes” and what you “enjoy”: (What do you reach for when there are 3 things you have to do? The one you first do you probably enjoy more than the others. We tend to procrastinate things we don’t want to do or don’t enjoy. Take that principle and thought to things like hobbies, sports, listening to music, playing an instrument, making a phone call, etc. and see what surfaces to the top for you!)
- Be with people you enjoy – This one is something we think is the most important. Family and even friends sometime take a lot out of us. We can’t get away from our own immediate family in the same way we can and should from extended family and others outside our family. THIS is important. (Who gives you life? Find those who ask questions of you and show interest…not ones who suck life out of you with their problems, issues, and challenges; people who inquire, share, converse without taking up all of your energy and time. Remember it should be a two-way conversation, not a monologue. It shouldn’t be a hard to make a list of maybe 3 people who give you life. Consider taking a walk or having a cup of coffee with such a person. Make sure you, also, don’t suck life out of them! Additionally, you can find other families in your same situation of similar likes and dislikes, ways of raising the children, similar disabilities, etc. that make the journey of life better!)
Take inventory in your own life and see what you need. “Need” is the key word you need to consider. As you do that, choose from the 5 points above, find one you most need, and see what you can do to make it happen. You can’t wait for someone to notice you have a need. Make your need known and a solution that might work. If it works-repeat it. If it doesn’t work-try something else! It will take trial and error but in the end it will be so worth it because, like the flowers on our deck, you will become refreshed, perked up, alive, and attractive!
Dr. Joe and Cindi Ferrini share their newest book: Love All-Ways: Embracing Marriage Together on the Special Needs Journey (order at www.cindiferrini.com). They are authors, speakers, and bloggers for several blogging sites on marriage, family and special needs. They speak nationally for FamilyLife Weekend To Remember Marriage Get-a-Ways, authored *Unexpected Journey – When Special Needs Change our Course, and have been interviewed on Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, Janet Parshall at “In the Market”, Chris Brooks of “Equipped” and various other radio and television venues. Connect with them at:
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