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  • Hope For Your Soul

    Grief fatigue is real. You’re not alone if you’re exhausted in loss. Grieving is all-consuming and leaves us tired as we navigate the hard emotions and long to-do list that often follows loss.

    But more sleep may still leave you tired.

    Why? While sleep is crucial, it misses the other kinds of rest we need. Dr. Saundra Dalton Smith says we need seven types of rest and as I read her work, I found it especially applicable to grief.

    Let’s look at seven types of grief exhaustion, seven ways to rest and what God says about our rest.

    NOTE: I wrote this for those battling grief but Dr. Dalton-Smith's work is applicable across the board. All of us need all these types of rest. So read on to diagnosis the tired you're feeling.

    1. Physical exhaustion in grief

    Grief is surprisingly physical. It affects our eating, sleeping and energy. It can show up in headaches and stomach aches. For months after Dan died, I carried a painful, physical ache like someone had hollowed out my insides with a carving knife.

    Sleeping is the primary way to help with physical tiredness from grief. Ask someone to specifically pray that you’ll sleep deeply each night. Several people covered my sleep with prayer and as hard as grief was, I never had trouble sleeping.

    Other restful activities like breathing exercises, long baths or prayer walks can help us physically rest. Give yourself permission to pause during the day, to lie down or nap and let your body rest.

    Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10, ESV)

    2. Mental exhaustion in grief

    Grief takes up enormous head space. There’s fear for the future and regret over the past. Worry about how to navigate loss and second-guessing whether we’re doing it right.

    Memories, conversations and the details of Dan’s death were on constant replay in my mind. I was fighting decision overwhelm while trying to wrap my mind around the reality of loss and the enormous changes it brought.

    “Mental fatigue sets in when overactivity of the brain leads to brain cells becoming exhausted,” says Dr. Dalton-Smith. That grief fog makes it hard to remember, focus or think through a problem. And mental fatigue keeps us from peace.

    We can find mental rest in three practices. First, we need to offload our negative thoughts like worry, fear and regret to God. Second, we need to feed on truth daily in God’s word. And third, we need to turn up some praise music. Whether it’s singing at church or listening to Alexa at home, praise music helps me clear my mind and refill on God.

    You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts you. (Isaiah 26:3, ESV)

    Join me here to discover the other 5 ways to feel completely rested.


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