An antidote to spiritual fatigue

I get the clear impression that many of us are experiencing spiritual and emotional fatigue. The pressures, stresses, strains, anxieties, fears and responsibilities are pulling us in too many directions simultaneously. If we paused right now, reflected, and put together a personal list of what is wearing us out, I imagine that list would be quite long. There is only so much we can take before we burn out. 
Here are some ideas of what we can do to ameliorate our spiritual and emotional fatigue. 
We can begin by creating clear boundaries with our consumption of news and social media. How much time do we devote every day to trying to keep up with what is going on in the world, particularly with the Israel war with Hamas? We can start by cutting this amount of time in half and see if we begin to feel better psychologically and physically. 
We can slow down. Everybody has a to-do list. And everybody will continue to have a to-do list. Let’s carve out time and devote our attention to what we need to accomplish in the future by being present in the moment. Look outside. The fall colors are still gorgeous. The misty air is beautiful. Better yet, get outside. If we can’t take advantage of the network of nature trails, we can at least walk around the neighborhood. Connecting with nature is inherently therapeutic. It enables us to recalibrate our priorities and be grateful that we are part of the awe-inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
There are plenty of other ways to slow down and exist more in the moment. We can turn to music, TV, movies, cooking or a long bath. We can connect with a trusted family member or friend and make time to catch up, grab a cup of coffee, visit a park or go to food cart on the other side of town.
We can also turn to our rich variety of Jewish communal organizations. Synagogues, Jewish Family and Child Service, Jewish Federation, the MJCC and OJMCHE, among many others, are offering an array of programs and services that enable us to connect with one another. (Here’s the link to the federation community calendar.)
We can also remember to have fun. There’s a kid trapped inside each and every one of us, whether we are 2 years old or 92 years old. Let’s get to know that kid again and remember how to play.
I must talk about the importance of sleep. Too many of us don’t get enough of it. (I am guilty as charged…) If we can, don’t feel guilty if occasionally, we sleep late or wake up without setting an alarm clock. When was the last time we woke up when our body told us it was time to get up?
In no particular order, we can also indulge in a new podcast. We can re-arrange a room. We can plan a vacation. Find something to look forward to. Visit your local library and simply wander around. Walk by sections you’ve never been to before. There are so many treasures waiting for us that can expand our horizons.
If necessary, depending upon how emotionally or spiritually fatigued we are, the time may be right to establish a relationship with a therapist. Family and friends can help us, to a point. Sometimes the healthiest decision we can make is to turn to a trained and trusted professional.
Something else we can do? Exercise. For years, I have looked to exercise as free therapy. During my last three annual checkups, my primary care doctor has reminded me that I need to lose 10-15 pounds. I finally dedicated myself to putting his words into action. During the past few months I have made simple decisions: I am hitting the trails more often, and when I don’t have time, I walk around the neighborhood; I no longer add creamer to my coffee; I have decreased the amount of food I eat at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and when I get hungry, I eat healthy snacks; every other day, I do an intense 10 minute session of weight-free circuit training. This new routine has paid off. My clothes fit better, and more importantly, I physically feel better; it no longer hurts my knees to climb stairs. 
These are a small number of ways we can address our emotional and spiritual fatigue and develop new habits to refresh and recharge. As the nights grow longer during these fall and winter months, may we all make an extra effort to be healthy and vibrant – both physically and psychologically. 



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