So, we live in a world where busy-ness is a normal way of life and exhaustion, its partner. I've seen a lot of "recover from exhaustion" posts but not many of them apply to parents (especially single parents) or even people with other day to day obligations. So, here are a few tips to help you feel less exhausted and more grounded without telling you to quit your job, take a day of silent, private, contemplation, or other thing many of us really can't do.
1) Take your shoes off. Ideally, you'll read this in warm and not too wet weather and you'll take your shoes off outside and walk barefoot in some grass, or a garden, or somewhere that you can really feel the earth. Are you parenting/caregiving? If so, take the people you care for to walk in the grass with you.
If you can't get outside, grab a small towel and a straight backed chair. Put the towel on the floor by your feet and using only your toes, scrunch the towel up, moving it along until you've worked the towel all of the way along to the end.
I learned about this from my cousin, the Cranky Daoist (also a professor of Traditional Chinese Medicine) and it works like a charm. He uses it to deal with jet lag. I'm finding it works well with life lag.
My instructions make no sense at all? Well thank Dogs for the internet. Here's a video on You Tube that shows a demonstration.
Can't do that? Try this next one.
2) Make yourself a cup of tea, hot chocolate, coffee, warm milk, hot water and lemon, anything you find comforting (ordinarily). When the beverage is the right temperature - not cool but not hot enough to scald you - take a sip and don't swallow. Instead, close your eyes. Take a moment to savour the flavour and identify it. Is it rich? Sweet? Bitter? Astringent? Soothing? Alert-inducing? What does it make you think of/remind you of? Swallow it and take another drink. Go deeper into it. What do you taste? What good memories come up? Bad memories? No room for them, just the good and savouring ones. One more sip and just totally savour it.
3) Shower. I know this is a difficult one for a parent, especially a single parent. If you don't have a daycare option, see if you can trade with a friend to watch your kid(s) and then you'll watch theirs. You only need about 15 minutes, though you'll likely want more.
I just did this one so I'm intimately acquainted with it. It's shocking and rejuvenating and I think you might know where I'm headed. Yep, cold shower.
Sometimes I like to have cold and then warm, sometimes, like today, I need the shocking, liberating, freeing effect of all cold. Sometimes I do cold, warm, then cold, it all depends on the day and my mood and all of those variables.
Whatever your mood and where ever you want to place the cold, let it shock the bad, blah, dark, angry, whatever is holding you back, right out of you. Let it shock it out and carry it off. It can be returned to the earth and recycled. If you need soothing, you can follow it up with a hot shower but sometimes it's best to just hop out of the shower right after and leave all of the gik (yeah, you read that right) behind.
4) Another recycling option- find a place in nature. Ideally it will be a quiet, private place where you can be alone (I'm giggling a bit remembering how easy that would have been with a four year old). It's ok with you can't be alone - you can teach this one to your kids.
Lean against a tree or, if you have no trees around, be close to plants or growing things. You must be in contact with something natural for this to work and while trees work best, it doesn't have to be a tree.
Make contact with the earth - with your feet, sitting, or even laying on the earth. Imagine there is a conduit running from your spinal column into the earth and everything bad, yucky, or negative is going through you and into the earth for recycling. Be there for as long as it takes to feel cleansed, or until someone needs a snack/potty/ other demand and you have to get up. Teach your kids to do this too. Let the earth take all of the stress and troubles and cares. You still have to deal with your day to day life but the earth can take some of the stress from them.
5) Plant something you can eat. You might not have money, time, or space for a garden or even a packet of seeds. Most food banks, permaculture centres/programmes, etc. can help get you started, often at no charge. All you need is a pot and something like calendula seeds or nasturtium seeds. Not only are these edible (so safe for small people) they'll absolutely brighten up your life and are pretty fool proof. Seeds+dirt+ water = sprouts. A bit of sunlight= growth and blooming. They're low maintenance. You'll be amazed at how they brighten things up.
6) Forage something yummy. There are few things more fun (for me, but maybe because I'm weird?) than getting some food for free. This is also an adventure you can take your kids on but make sure, before you eat anything or feed it to anyone else, that you really have what you think you have. Some things, like Hawthorn berries or Rowan berries don't taste like much but make good liqueurs. Other things, like lambs lettuce, can be steamed or sautéed to eat - find a reputable foraging site and get hunting!
Here are a few I love (in no particular order):
So, that's a decent smattering from the northern hemisphere. I know there are others and please do send them to me if you'd like them included.
That concludes your six tips to help get you back online when things are feeling off. They shouldn't cost you anything, can mostly be done if you're caregiving, and don't require too much effort.