Let’s talk about health for a minute.
Health has two different sides to it, which most people know. There’s emotional health, and physical health. What most people don’t seem to know, is how much your emotional health can impact you.
I’ve been learning recently that I’m a wreck when I don’t get enough sleep (like, eight to eight-and-a-half hours still isn’t enough on a daily basis). When I’m low on sleep it’s like I start to lose control over my emotions. I’m sad, and depressed, and anxious a whole lot more easily, and it makes it really hard to live life, and even want to live life.
I generally love to help people in any way I can, so I’m pretty invested in my church (I’m on the worship team on Wednesday nights, in the 2’s and 3’s class room every couple weeks, and I’ve started doing more offertories). I love doing all those things, but it’s a lot. For a while there were only one or two Sundays a month that I was actually in service. Now, I loved doing all those things. I liked staying busy, and helping people. But, when I started to get more tired because I wasn’t taking care of myself, I realized that I couldn’t keep pushing so hard. Here’s some examples:
Example #1: Say I’ve got an offertory lined up, and I’ve been practicing for a month or so, and a week or two before I’m scheduled to play, I start getting a cold. I’m on week two of my cold, my offertory’s tomorrow, and I’m still not well enough to play. So, I text my pastor and let him know that I won’t be able to play because I’m “sick”.
Example #2: It’s the same situation as before. I’ve got an offertory lined up, and I’m totally ready for it. Well, this time, I’ve been helping a lot at church, and we’ve been going through some rough family stuff, so I’m completely exhausted. Mentally, physically, and emotionally. It’s the week I’m supposed to play, and I’m so tired that every day I wake up and just want to cry. I call my youth pastor and tell him I can’t play because I’m “sick”.
So often, when I’m physically or emotionally tired, I think I’m fine. “Just tired,” I tell myself. Well, the reality is, that when you’re tired, you can become physically sick. When I’m tired, my appetite drops, so I don’t each as much as I should, and it can make me feel worse. When I’m tired, and I don’t have as much control over my emotions, it can make some of the simplest things become the scariest things. I think, “Oh, I won’t let my fears win, I’ll just keep pushing, and be brave, and I’ll be fine.” But, the truth is, I won’t be fine until I listen to what my body’s trying to tell me and take care of myself.
I never thought “being tired” was a good enough reason not to do something. But, especially as a kid, being tired can make a huge difference. Last year around Christmas, when I was really depressed, I just kept pushing on like life was normal and tried not to let my depression win. In some cases, that’s good, and important. But in others, it’s just ignoring the problem. It wasn’t until I listened to myself, and realized that I need a change, that I really started to feel better. Both physically, and emotionally.
Telling people no can be one of the hardest things you can do. When I have to tell someone no because I’m tired, or sick, I’m afraid they’re going to judge me. I know a lot of people who would jokingly say something like, “What? You’re just tired? Come on. I know you can do it. Don’t be lazy.” And, even as a joke, that stuff hurts. Especially when you’re already exhausted. It often makes people do things they know they shouldn’t because they feel like they’ll be judged. I know I have. But, we can’t give in to that. Who cares if they judge us? Who cares what they say? What’s important is that you are okay, and that you are trying to make the best decisions you can. If something isn’t the right thing for you, you should never let anyone pressure you into doing it. Maybe consider what they have to say, but you’re the one making the choice. And if they don’t like it, then they can just deal with it.