Creating Margin in Your Life: Part 3


Fatigue, studies suggest, often has its source in emotional rather than muscular or cardiovascular exhaustion…” – Richard A Swenson, author of Margin.

Are you at a point in your life where you are so tired that sleep doesn’t help? Maybe you’ve been in negative margin status for so long that you forgot what it feels like to be normal. Wouldn’t it be great to feel clear-headed and awake?

“Does anyone feel clear-headed and awake?” asked my sister. “That sounds nice. It sounds too good to be true.” My sister made this statement during a conversation with me ten years ago, back when she was single and had no responsibilities. I was pregnant in the first trimester of my third pregnancy. I had a 12-month-old baby who kept pulling over my parents’ Christmas tree and rummaging through the trash. I had a 2 1/2 year old who had trouble taking naps with his younger brother in the same room. I felt foggy in my mind every day, and I wanted to puke every time I smelled coffee.

Do any of us ever rest properly? Do we put unnecessary pressure in our lives through too much activity? The book Margin lists lots of practical ways to restore margin (and rest) into our lives. Here are some of my favorites, in my own words:

  • Drink more water, eat more leafy green foods, and sleep 8 hours a night.
  • Cultivate friendships that uplift you.
  • Laugh more.
  • Have a healthy hope for your future.
  • Spend less time in front of the television.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no. “If there are one hundred good things to do and you can only do ten of them, you will have to say no ninety times,” the author says.
  • Unplug from technology occasionally.
  • Don’t live beyond your means financially. Be content with what God has given you.
  • Plan for free time. (Block off sections of the calendar to intentionally do nothing.)

The author also mentions enjoying anticipation of an event, and then relishing the memories of that event. Because our schedule is so full, we don’t have time to look forward to an event. We have no time to think fondly back on an event that was highly anticipated. Half the fun is looking forward to an event. If you have no down time, you can’t feel that anticipatory excitement. The event itself is just rushed through to cram in another activity. This is no way to live. Let’s all take a deep breath and live the life that God has called us to live.

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12 Responses to “Creating Margin in Your Life: Part 3”

  1. Great tips, Susan! I think us Moms will never not feel tired but it’s so worth it! Never thought I would be this happy feeling tired 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  2. Susan says:

    Nice post, Susan. Life can get busy and hectic at times. Your last paragraph is interesting. I find that if I don’t take the time to reflect on the past event, my mind will just wander to that reflection during some other busy time, because I feel such a need for that reflection. Thanks for sharing.

    • Susan says:

      It’s as if we must process the events that happen to us, whether that means we daydream while cooking or not be able to fall asleep right away because we must think about it.

  3. Teresa says:

    Your first statement really resonated with me:
    “Fatigue, studies suggest, often has its source in emotional rather than muscular or cardiovascular exhaustion…” I totally agree with this. My life has been so emotional lately. I am continually giving it all to God, but I keep picking back up parts of it. I need to work on resting in God!
    Thank you!

    • Susan says:

      Resting in God is exactly what we need. We can be still and quiet in His presence, and then He can guide us as to how to function. An inner sense of well-being helps in being able to thrive in our lives.

  4. Donna Miller says:

    That’s really interesting that fatigue stems from emotional exhaustion more than physical. But so true! I have been there when I felt like I had no hope and was completely drained in my brain and emotions. I love how you included things we can do to create healthy margins in our lives. I especially love uplifting friendships! TY for your uplifting post! xo Donna Miller

    • Susan says:

      You’re welcome. Female friendships are vital, since the way that we commune with each other is different than we do with our spouses. We need to be able to be lifted up by others to have hope in this sad world.

  5. Diana says:

    I need some margin of rest and rejuvenation right now. My triplets have been under the weather since Christmas. Now it looks like its my turn to get sick.

    I love all your practical ways to restore margin, especially living within your means, unplugging from technology, and cultivating friendships.

    Happy New Year

  6. DONNA MILLER says:

    Great post Susan! I, for one, need to always be mindful I’m not over filling my life. Margins are so important for my well being and sanity. Love your tips. The greatest one I had to learn a lesson in is saying ‘no’ when I need to. People pleasing and mis-guided guilt will lead us to pick up assignments that were never meant to be ours. God is so good, and when He helps us to create any white space (margin) in our lives, we need to let Him be the only One to fill it, not us. ❤

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