Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
Psalm 116:7 (RSV)
Sometimes one’s soul becomes frazzled— in a state of extreme physical or nervous fatigue and agitation.
What causes a frazzled soul?
Lots of ‘overs:’ – overworking, over-committing, over-drinking, over-reacting, over-eating—even over-caring.
More than a few ‘unders:’ – under sleeping, under-exercising, under-eating, under-stimulation, under-confronting—also, under-caring
The soul frazzled by ‘overs’ often feels overwhelmed, exhausted and resentful.
The soul frazzled by ‘unders’ may feel self-pity, bored and unloved.
God has assigned each of us responsibility to steward our own soul. One function of that stewardship is recognizing when our souls are frazzled and taking action-steps to help remedy the situation.
How can we care for a frazzled soul? Here are a few ideas:
- Begin with gratitude. Research shows thankfulness changes our brain’s chemistry.
- Ask God for insight, or my favorite—the gift of ideas.
- Carve out enough time each day to pray; read Scripture or inspirational material; journal thoughts and feelings; or bask in silence while simply being.
- Rather than focusing on what is less than ideal, focus on what is right. Instead of lamenting about what I cannot do, consider what I can do.
- Identify activities/people/situations that suck energy from your soul as well as ones which nurture your soul.
- Determine actual needs of those with whom your life intersects. What meaningful or kind attention do you feel is necessary? What obligatory actions do you engage in that enable one you care about to stay stuck in unnecessarily needy or unhealthy behaviors.
- Learn how to say kindly but firmly and without guilt, “No” or “Not right now.”
- Learn when to say “Yes” gladly and graciously.
- Recognize, respect and embrace the limitation of whatever season of life you are in right now. Keep in mind, it is only a season, and you are traveling through it. The way things are today is not the way they will always be.
- Practice stress management. Breathe deeply; exercise as much as possible; eat healthily; drink alcohol minimally or not at all; and schedule enough time to get good-quality sleep.
- Tend to your own medical, dental and mental health issues. Oftentimes, a complete physical exam is the best place to begin.
- Connect with those who share and understand your season of life or unique predicament.
- Find a mentor. Talk to a trusted and trustworthy friend who may be a bit ahead of you in experience or maturity. Join a support and/or recovery group.
- Invest in working with a therapist, life coach or spiritual director.
- Get away to a quiet, restful place that works for your schedule and budget. If you’re like me and enjoy a change of scenery or love to travel, schedule a getaway—a personal retreat or vacation. The two photos I’ve included in today’s post are from a recent trip my husband, Ron, and I took to Southern California. There’s no place where my soul feels more nurtured than walking barefoot on the beach. While there, we visited five different beaches. I did a lot of walking, and Ron did a lot of picture taking.
This stately egret showing off on the Oceanside Pier doesn’t look like she has a frazzled bone in her beautiful body!
My soul speaks peace to me
While walking barefoot by the sea.
~ Sue Reeve
Blessings on your soul—whether frazzled or at peace…