For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to love, and a time to hate (Ecclesiastes 3:1,3-4,8).
How have you been feeling? Now, in full honesty, at some point over the past few months, have you felt like throwing yourself on a bed in despair or screaming angrily into a pillow? Or feeling overwhelmed, have you Zoomed a friend from the floor of your closet with a glass of wine and a bowl of potato chips? Or have you realized with disgust you cannot remember when you last washed your hair or made the kids get dressed? (The above examples may or may not be based on real life events.) Joy, fear, anger, disgust, sadness—quarantine and COVID have infected us all with emotional overload. One day about a month ago, I went for a two-hour sanity walk until my husband called my cell phone to see if I planned on coming home. I was still undecided.

In all seriousness though, we are currently steeped in a global pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 120,000 Americans while confronting the reality of discrimination and racism that has plagued this continent since before the founding of our country. To say these last few months have been emotionally draining is an understatement.

As Pastor Jeff shared in his sermon on Sunday, we humans experience a wide range of emotions and there is a time and a season for the expression of every feeling. Allowing ourselves to experience and embrace a complexity of emotions is the mark of being an evolved individual. However, according to  The New York Times and  The Washington Post , emotional exhaustion and burnout are at an all-time high. If you browse the list of symptoms associated with emotional exhaustion, it sounds like a play-by-play of the roller coaster most of us have been riding these past few months. Though we may be getting more advanced as a society at naming and dealing with the span of our human emotions, we are also pushing our psyches to absolute limits.

So, let’s take some time this week to recognize that emotional exhaustion is real, quarantine fatigue is real, racial battle fatigue is real and now more than ever we need to care for our emotional well-being and extend a caring hand to our neighbor in need. Because we are still in this together.
Below are a few things we can do to help reduce and recover from emotional exhaustion. You can also check out these links for more information on the  symptoms and treatment for emotional exhaustion  as well as  reducing emotional fatigue during this pandemic .
Reduce Your Stressors
So often we think in order to reduce our stress we must check more things off our to-do list, when actually we may just need to do less of the things that do us harm. Neuropsychologist Theo Tsaousides suggests tuning out of the 24-hour news cycle and limiting our time on social media can help us maintain emotional stability. It is important to stay informed, but too much information can also “lead you down a rabbit hole that will overwhelm your system.” Try balancing your news and social media consumption with a humorous book or TV show. Laughter is good for the soul.

Establish a Routine of Self-Care
Establishing a consistent routine has been one of the hardest struggles for many individuals and families during quarantine, especially since summer has started. Dr. Tsaousides warns that when our routines are out of whack it forces our brains to remain in an uncertain cycle of adjusting and re-adjusting, learning and re-learning. When combined with constantly changing information about the pandemic, our brains and emotions can reach overload. Creating new routines around self-care habits, such as cooking healthy meals, getting daily physical exercise, practicing mindfulness and meditation, and spending playful time with loved ones, can significantly reduce emotional fatigue and prevent burnout. Find your favorite and start a new habit.

Share Your Feelings with Others
The Bible reminds us again and again that we are never alone in our struggles. In 1 Kings, we are told that the prophet Elijah suffered from physical fatigue and emotional exhaustion so unbearable he sat under a broom tree and prayed to God that he would die. In his hour of most need, Elijah expressed his feelings to God and found rest and renewal. During this unprecedented season of our lives, we, too, can turn to God in prayer and express all we are experiencing and feeling. We should also not be afraid to share the depth of our emotions with our friends and family. As author and speaker Brene Brown asserts, there is abundant beauty and power in vulnerability. We must not be afraid to embrace a courageous life of imperfection, emotional authenticity, and unflinching self-worth. Just as God designed us.

Written by Andrea Laux, Director of Adult Discipleship
Did you miss our virtual worship Sunday?
Click  here to view to our livestream.
The Gospel and Race
You can still join our study from the West Ohio Conference on  The Gospel and Race . We meet Thursday evenings at 7:00pm via Zoom.

Use the link below to join. You can also join using the Meeting I D: 810 0493 2785 and Password: 451905. If you have questions, please contact  Andrea Laux .
Friday Night at the Movies
This week we will be watching the Audrey Hepburn classic Breakfast at Tiffany's. Please bring your own lawn chairs and snacks. Important note: The church restrooms will be closed except for emergencies.

The movie starts at 8:30pm!