Giving Grace Through the Exhaustion

Do you ever have those moments where you’re not exactly sure what’s going on, your mind is completely unorganized, you can’t think straight, and you can’t pinpoint it, but you’re feeling a little off, or lost, or “something”? I’ve been feeling like this a lot lately, and just when I think I’m finally figuring things out, my world get turned upside down again.

Interestingly enough, last night’s #tlap chat helped me to process and shed some light on where I was by making connections to images that were shared. Dig deep, maybe reflecting on these images will help you see more clearly, too. Here are some of my favourites:

It all seem so deep, doesn’t it? But I find it interesting that I was able to put words to my thoughts when I was prompted to reflect on how an image spoke to me, but failed miserably until I had those images. Powerful!

Sometimes I feel like when I’m “in it”, my vision is blurred. If I had a friend who was in my situation, I’d have all of the tools to help her through it. I’d know just what to say (or what not to say and just listen), or what advice to give her if that’s what she was looking for. But me, in it? Much, much harder.

Sometimes it helps me to step outside and look inward as if someone else was living my current reality.

Last week, my mom shared this article with me: Why Am I So Tired?. As I was reading it, I was nodding along and said to myself “geez, I know this stuff, I teach this stuff, why haven’t I realized that I am currently living this right now!?” It explained so much, and it’s like I needed it to slap me in the face to realize it. It also gave me a new sense of empathy for students who are struggling with these big emotions and exhaustion during our regular-not-during-a-pandemic school days. Although I encourage you to read the whole article, here are the stand out points for me:

Our bodies work so hard when we are constantly in a flight or fight mode:

“No wonder you are exhausted; your body has been functioning all day long in fire-fighting, fight or flight mode, and nothing you can do can change this for any significant length of time. What’s worse is, each time your brain is again assaulted by news of the contagiousness of the virus or the rising number of people sick or dying, each time we enter a grocery store and see bare shelves triggering thoughts of scarcity, or hear that there may not be enough masks or ventilators to save lives, our brains are again kicked into high alert. This is the definition of a chronic state of community trauma.”


The unknown is a very difficult place to be (this one is huge for me):

“In the case of the coronavirus pandemic, however, there is no timeline. We’ve never seen this virus before and have no clear idea about the time it will take for herd immunity to it to be built up, and for our lives to begin to return to some semblance of normal. In this case, the trauma is chronic and on-going. Studies have shown that it is uncertainty that is the most stressful condition under which our body can be. “


It’s okay to grieve the loss of our freedom like we once knew it:

“We know that grief can take a huge emotional toll, and wear us down physically and mentally, and it is no different when we are grieving the loss of our own freedoms and way of life.”


All emotions are normal, even if they seem to contradict themselves:

“It is not unusual during periods of traumatic stress, for example, to be more irritable than usual, to feel more anxious or depressed, or to feel an aversion to physical touch or closeness that is a change from ordinary. And what about joy? Excitement? Relief? Gratitude? These feelings appear so much at odds with current events and, yet, it is not uncommon for those enduring traumatic stress to experience a range of seemingly conflicting feelings.”


I love how the article finishes by saying that we all need to give ourselves grace. Grace as we walk through these uncharted waters. Grace as we try to make sense of our new normal. Grace as we work from home. Grace as we also try to teach our own children. Grace as our children go through all of these unknowns, too… because it’s not just hard on us, it’s hard on everyone. Grace when we can’t process everything and feel lost, even when we should know the answer. Grace.

Are you exhausted? Yeah, me too. Hopefully now that we better understand why we’re so tired, we’ll be able to give ourselves an extra dose of much needed grace.



  1. Jennifer Casa-Todd

    April 29, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    A wonderful post (as always). I briefly saw the visual provocations during the TLAP chat and LOVED them. Amazing you were able to reflect so deeply. Hugs, friend. We will get through this. ox

    1. Annick Rauch

      April 30, 2020 at 6:06 am

      Thank you so much, Jen. And yes, we will get through this. They just announced phase 1 of restoring services beginning May 4th here in Manitoba, so the light is starting to shine through.

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