Content Fatigue

I first heard the term “compassion fatigue” in a meeting for volunteers. It was about not trying to pour from an empty inner cup. Giving is good, but we have to be resting and taking in what we need to have anything to give. Excellent concept – and important for all of us to avoid compassion fatigue so we can say yes when God calls on us.

Then, in trying to grow as a mother, after walking through my young son’s suicide attempt, I sat in the middle of my bed, with books stacked on the nightstand, pod casts sending notifications on my phone screen, books due back to the library, and YouTube channels subscribed to, but the videos mostly untouched.

I’d read some. Listened some. Watched some. And soon the messages were blurring together, I wasn’t uncovering anything that I hadn’t just read/listened to/watched. But I was trying to keep up with consuming all this media to help me grow through this experience.

Good idea, bad strategy. It was too much. I was deep in the throes of content fatigue and not gaining ground in the whole growing-through-pain thing I was shooting for. I was momentarily caught up in so much content that I forgot to reach for even the hem of my Savior’s garment. I’m not really a “self-helper” so my piles of media were Christian based. Or at least Christian sprinkled.

I was overwhelmed and not seeing God in the mess – especially in the part of the mess that I was making for myself. I took books back unread. I deleted pod casts. I unsubscribed to YouTube channels and emails. I even stopped multiple Bible plans in my YouVersion app.

Not all of them, Bible plans are good food for our spiritual journey. But I am a busy mom and I needed to live in the mess, not in the piles of media, trying to become an expert or something. And when I crawled out of the rock pit of too much media, I was able to apply what I’d read, listened to, or watched. I was able to see the hand of God moving in my life, through people, and in the midst of painful circumstances.

Maybe you are drowning in content, not because of a tragedy, but because you are trying to learn something new. Or you are just greatly interested in something. Whatever it is, it’s okay to not consume it all. You cannot consume it all. There is too much content being created and released on a daily basis for one person to consume it all.

Read one book at a time. Listen to one or two pod casts at a time. Watch one or two YouTubers at a time. It’s okay if you don’t “complete” all of their content – get what you can for a while, then unsubscribe. You have to use what you’re learning to keep learning more. You have to apply it before it really starts to sink in.

Don’t beat yourself up because you haven’t watched/seen/heard the latest thing that is a craze. Pick content that makes you more of who God is calling you to be. Pick content that stretches your mind, challenges you and keeps you focused on Jesus.

Until next time,
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The Fine Art of Self Care

Self care came in a commercial package for me not so long ago – massages, chiropractic appointments, a hair cut, new essential oils, and more. And for a while, it felt like I was becoming a master of self-care. I enjoyed each of these things and was looking less and less at how they affected the checkbook. Good golly, I worked enough long, hard hours to justify the expense, didn’t I?

Self care looks different right now, today. We closed our business just a couple of weeks ago, and the hours have only been more grueling. I’d give my right arm to be able to afford a massage or the chiropractor right now. Suddenly every red cent in the checkbook matters, and I can’t spend money on these things I thought were the only way to self-care.

Turns out, though, that self-care is so much more than just these things. (And please know, I’m not taking away from chiropractic care or massage – both, I believe, are essential to health and wellness.)

Right now, self-care looks like these things:

Going to bed on time.

Getting up before the kids, so I can gather my thoughts for the day.

Putting my phone down.

In fact, I’m just going to park here for a minute, and say it again, sometimes taking care of myself means putting my phone down. No more scrolling, no more articles, no more messages. Because I’ve learned that my phone is the #1 reason that I begin feeling frenetic, like I can’t keep up. In the season we are in, I am juggling guilt, change, regret. Every article I read points me to all the things I could have, would have, should have. Then I can’t focus on the good things in my life, the goodness of God in my life, or how He is moving.

Sometimes self-care is a mental break from all that my phone bombards me with.

Sometimes self-care is a shower – nothing fancy, no aromatherapy, no relaxation shower gel, just a shower. Hot water, wash my hair, and conquer the day.

Sometimes self-care is reading a book, or more importantly, sometimes self-care is reading my bible.

Self care comes in the form of prayer – laying all of my worries at the feet of my Father and letting Him carry me.

Sometimes self-care isn’t alone, so much as it nestling into the crook of my husband’s arm and crying because this is hard. Or staying up late trying to make clay pots together. (I’ll share more about this adventure in a day or two.)

Sometimes self-care is doing hard tasks, draining ones, so that they are on the done side of the list, instead of the do side. Sometimes shortening the do list makes it easier to fall asleep at night.

Sometimes self-care is closing my bedroom door for some quiet to talk to my mom, because I need to hear her voice. Sometimes it’s not closing my door to talk to my sister, because she has just as much noise and chaos on her end and it’s how we do life together.

Sometimes self-care is writing – whether journaling, blogging, working on a novel. Writing is part of who I am.

I’d like to be able to make a trip to the chiropractor (and my tingling nerves would like it too) but in this season where I can’t, I don’t have to neglect myself. I don’t have to give in to this notion that self-care costs money that I don’t have.

How can you take care of yourself without spending any money, today? Share with me in the comments below.

 

Until next time,

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The Parking Space

Over the weekend I got to follow Helen and Lisa on an adventure to celebrate a memorable occasion in Lisa’s life. While Helen desired to be the supportive friend she’d always been, her heartache was tangible as she struggled with the perils in her own life – perils that seemed smaller once she was on vacation.

Being alone never bothered Helen, so she planned to spend her vacation holed up where she could enjoy the spectacular view and the peace and quiet of solitude. Her plans were wrecked by an unexpected encounter and she had to make a choice between spending her time to herself or sharing it with someone else.

Follow Helen as she wishes her best friend well on her new chapter in life and is faced with deciding whether or not to open herself to a new romance, the possibility of love, and the fear of trusting someone new. Get your copy of The Parking Space by Angela Christina Archer today.


The Parking Space

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