Hey there beautiful fam.

Today is April 23rd, 2020 and I am currently bundled up under my favorite blanket next to my goldendoodle watching the NFL draft on television while my husband is attending an NFL Draft watch party at his family’s house.

Why am I not there?

Well, because I have to work tomorrow.

And work isn’t normal, guys. Work is on a whole different level now. I work in a nursing home, so we are definitely not on the “front lines” of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is really stressful and sad. I just could not bring myself to socialize tonight – I just don’t have the energy for it.

I love my job. I adore my co-workers and residents. I am so grateful to be employed during times that are this hard and unpredictable.

But dude – I am freaking tired. I am exhausted and drained and just want to sleep all day tomorrow. The struggle is real.

I wanted to write a quick little post to let other essential workers know that they are absolutely not alone during these crazy times. If you feel tired and worn out and are wondering exactly how much longer you will actually be able to carry on this way, you are not alone. I want to give you permission to be tired. I want to give you permission to exhale. You are kicking booty, friend. You are doing unbelievable work in the midst of a pandemic – a freaking pandemic. Thank you for serving our world.

I also wanted to share just a few quick tips that have been helping me thrive through this season. I believe that I have grown the absolute most through previous seasons of hardship. It’s when the going gets tough that I find out who I really am and God reveals himself to me in fresh ways. Yes, I am tired, but I am also doing the best I can to stay connected to Christ, friends, and myself during these times. We cannot lose who we are or drift away from habits that give us life just because life is hard. You can do this and you can do this well. Here on some tips that will hopefully help you to find some joy in the midst of chaos.

1. Stay Anchored To A Firm Foundation.

My firm foundation, my rock, my everything is God. Without spending time with Him, I would be drowning in this season. Every morning I am spending time journaling, praying, and reading the bible – just like I usually would. This ritual is helping me stay grounded in who I am and who God says I am. I miss church dearly, but I am so grateful to be able to watch pastors online. You don’t have to attend church to feel connected to God, friend. He is all around you – if only we would open our eyes.

My relationships with my husband, friends, and family members are also foundational pieces of my life. During these times, I am choosing to be more intentional about conversations with them (especially my husband) and am pouring myself into these relationships in ways that I may have not had time for in the past.

My health is also a huge foundational piece of who I am. When all this crazy mess started, I kind of went off the deep end with junk food and stopped exercising regularly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally psycho about my health (Bojangles and Starbucks are favorites of mine), but I do find joy in caring for myself. When I stopped caring for my body, l began to feel even more tired, even more moody, and even more foggy in the brain. Taking a step back and choosing to continue to exercise at least 5 times a week and eat good foods (especially vegetables) that make me feel good have helped give me some energy and life back. Am I still tired? Absolutely. But I’m not nearly as tired as I would be if I wasn’t taking care of myself.

What is your foundation? It may not be the same as mine, but I truly believe that as long as you stay anchored to something that is true for you, then you will be able to thrive your way through this season with more joy, rest, and love in your soul.

2. Rest, baby, rest.

I’m crazy about resting. I will decline plans with loved ones simply because I need to read on my back porch and chill for an hour. I used to be so concerned with pleasing other people and being everywhere at once that I would run myself thin and would end up harming the commitments and relationships I was supposed to be showing up for. Not anymore. I know myself and I know when I am running on empty.

Your body needs rest. Like literally, SLEEP PEOPLE. As I mentioned earlier, I am not on the front lines of this pandemic. I cannot imagine how different sleep schedules must be looking like during this season for those who cannot take as many breaks. I’m here to tell you, though, that if you are not sleeping, then you are slowly chipping away at your best self. Your body needs sleep to recover from the stress of this season. At the very least, choose to sit down and take a few deep breathes.

Your mind needs rest. It’s really hard to escape the craziness of the COVID-19 pandemic. As an essential employee, I have to be in the know about this virus and about new rules and predictions that are constantly changing. My brain will spiral out of control, though, if I do not allow it to stop thinking. My new safe haven has been our back screened-in patio. I’ve been sitting out there with a book or with my husband or with the dog and just letting myself be – no craziness, just stillness. Your mind needs rest in order to process all the things of this season too.

Your spirit needs rest. Resting with the Lord is powerful. God changes perspectives, hearts, and mindsets. He sometimes changes my circumstances, but normally, when I choose to spend time in prayer and dump my soul to Him, He changes me. He changes my perspective and gives me the strength to show up for my residents and co-workers and husband. I am not perfect (duh), but when I am connected to God, I sure do feel better about how He enables me to show up for the world around me.

3. Give yourself and others all the grace.

Lastly, I want to encourage you to give yourself grace. If you are like me, then you probably try to fill your mind with uplifting information and encouragement. There is a lot of content in the world right now about what we should be doing and how we should remain positive in the midst of COVID-19. While I do agree that God has changed my perspective about this pandemic and that He can help you do the same, I want to give you permission to feel the magnitude of this situation. You are essential. You are having to work. It’s okay to be a little bitter as you watch people you love staying at home and completing all the home projects. It’s okay to be upset that you can’t visit your children or spend this time pouring into them. It’s okay to grieve the loss of events or plans because of this terrible virus. It’s okay to be mad. It’s okay to eat the brownie or drink a little. Give yourself some dang grace, friend. It’s okay.

If you want to be better, then be better, but stop beating yourself up if you are having a hard time seeing the silver lining in a PANDEMIC. Give yourself tons of grace.

And then, pick yourself back up. Give yourself a constant clean slate and love on those around you in a fresh way every single day.

With that being said, it’s also important to give other people tons of grace. Everyone is a little on edge right now and that’s okay. Everyone will react differently to the COVID-19 situation. Everyone has a different home life, work life, past, and brain. We are all different. Let’s choose to give each other the same grace that we wish to receive.

We are going to get through this together, and I believe that God is strengthening us and making us even better because of what we are walking through. Thank you, again, for all you are doing. You are amazing and I appreciate you deeply.

Just a few questions for reflection:

  1. What is my anchor? What things help me to be the person I want to be? How can I stay connected to this during these times?
  2. Can I schedule a time to rest my body, mind, and spirit today? When will that be?
  3. Am I giving myself grace?
  4. Am I giving others grace?
  5. What things might God be teaching me during this season of chaos?

Check out this Tik Tok video I created for essential workers:

Sincerely,

Caitlyn Sabdo

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