Exhaustion: It’s time to enjoy a bigger piece of the pie
If you are one of the millions of people saying, “I am so exhausted” to declare YOU’RE OUTTA GAS AND HAVE NOTHING LEFT TO GIVE. I hear you. I’ve been there. And I am here to help [ta-da].
It was only a few months ago that I was reciting, “I’m so exhausted” incessantly for why I didn’t want to do anything. Why I didn’t want to cook, hang out, talk, and didn’t enjoy my work. Why I didn’t care. I’d say, “I’m just too exhausted”. And I was. Saying it had become my only way of coping.
My mornings were orchestrated nightmares leaving me frazzled and worried that I’d forgotten to shut the garage or frantically scrambling through my purse for my cell phone. When I’d get to work I’d wait in anticipation for the silent buzz of my cell notifying me that my son spiked a temperature or had raging diarrhea and would need to be picked up immediately from daycare. By the time I’d get home with my son in tow I’d meet my husband who’d be there to pose the question, “What do you wanna do for dinner?” Needless to say, I was tuckered in by 8pm, and fast asleep by 8:30. Like I said, I was exhausted.
I couldn’t articulate what I was experiencing so instead I drew a pie diagram to illustrate where my energy was being devoted. It was a serious wake up call when only a hairline slither was devoted to me. I knew I couldn’t sustain this. So I dove head first into some uncomfortable conversations [mostly with myself] and made some difficult decisions so I could get my mind, body and spirit right! My solution led me here, to you! Yours will look different. But believe me when I tell you, there is one. It’s hard to imagine when you’re exhausted.
Now before you mentally check out and assume this will be another article promoting acts of self care like yoga, exercise and a healthy diet. Stop. I get it. I remember thinking:
“I don’t have time for that stuff. I am too exhausted”
Jumping from utter exhaustion to hitting the gym may be a stretch. So let’s talk about how you can get closer to carving out a larger piece of the pie for yourself.
FACE IT. YOU AREN’T SUPER HUMAN!
I don’t know about you, but I have this really annoying habit of thinking that I need to be super human. It sounds a little like this:
“Other people do this everyday and aren’t complaining.
Suck it up. Don’t be so weak. People have it way worse.”
This pattern of thinking keeps you stuck in exhaustion. So you continue swimming against the current [drowning] and then deem yourself ungrateful if you talk about how miserable and hard it is. [No way. You can’t do that.] UH, SURE YOU CAN!
Thinking like this is the epitome of “kicking someone while they’re down”. In this case, that’s you. Not cool. You’d never say this to someone you care about. So try to look at it from that angle. The good ole’ friend perspective. And then give yourself permission to be a human with limitations. You are the only that can. Especially when the problem starts with your thinking. You’re still a “super” human in my book!
GET YO MIND TIGHT WITH MINDFULNESS
We live in a culture that until recently had considered multitasking a valuable and desirable trait. Only now do we realize how detrimental it is. You’ve probably gotten so good at juggling that you aren’t even aware of how this contributes to your exhaustion. You just, do, do, do!
Think of mindfulness as exercise for the mind. It builds concentration and focus to help you avoid doing too many things at once. You live more intentionally this way.
Here’s how it works using an example from my own life. The other day I made the decision to be present during a morning walk [and avoid multitasking]. I pleasantly greeted people we passed; admired the sea grape plants; and watched the waves crash. I was totally relishing in the moment. However, my focus slyly drifted away as I thought:
“I could totally talk about mindfulness in my next blog article, blah, blah, blah.
[Stay present] Oh yea, the waves.”
Ironic, right? This happened a few times, but I remained patient and diligent. My point is, mindfulness takes practice. Doing too much and exhausting yourself starts with compulsive thoughts and acting on them, so slow down.
Here’s a few ways you can start practicing mindfulness throughout the day:
- Take 10 deep breaths in the morning before getting out of bed [focus on your belly rising and falling]
- Use your non-dominant hand when brushing your teeth and focus intently on this action
- Pay close attention to street signs, clouds and buildings you pass while driving
- When your mind wanders [which it will] gently bring it back to the present task. And by gently I mean, avoid criticizing your effort.
ASK FOR HELP [shocker]
The bridge to relief begins with awareness and ends with advocating for youself through communication. This is challenging since it involves all kinds of messy issues like; trust, rejection, and worthiness. But the bottom line is, you need help. Maybe you aren’t sure in what capacity that is yet [and that’s okay].
If you are comfortable enough to say, “I’m so exhausted” it’s likely there is someone listening who wants to help. But they aren’t mind readers. They follow your lead. So be aware of mixed messages you send by inundating yourself with a gazillion to-do’s or brushing off assistance with, “Oh no, that’s okay. I’m fine”. It’s important that you communicate your request clearly, and then let go of control. [Eeek…that last parts a doozy.]
[Listen to this 15 minute podcast for tips on communicating boundaries] http://blissfullyordinary.com/blog/dany-queen-of-boundaries/
Feeling stuck in exhaustion sucks the joy out of life. It doesn’t make sense for you to create joy for so many while leaving none for yourself. You have permission to enjoy a bigger slice of the pie!
So lets hear it! Tell us why and how you’ve gotten stuck in exhaustion and what has been helpful in moving yourself closer to relief.
If you enjoyed this article you might enjoy http://blissfullyordinary.com/blog/move-with-the-flow/
Copyright: vgstudio / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: loganban / 123RF Stock Photo
All too often I find myself getting burned out. You made a lot of great points and while some just make sence, those are typically the harder things to do. Like asking for help, I am the worst about that! Great post. 🙂
Hi Faith! Thanks for sharing. I agree. The “asking” part is very difficult for a number of reasons, most of which we create by our distorted thinking. Our thinking is the result of past experiences and the messages we’ve received throughout our life telling us why asking for help is not a viable solution. That is why I like mindfulness practices. They help to simplify our thinking and bring it down to a basic level. Distorted thinking is armor we use to shield vulnerability. Thanks for visiting! xo
I’m realizing that my slice of pie is actually nonexistent. I just worked 3 hours at home after putting in a 10 hour work day. I think it’s time that I start digging into the pie a bit more and not feeling guilty about it! Great advice!
Hi Tiffany! You bring up such a great point. GUILT! Ask yourself, “why shouldn’t I enjoy more of the pie?”. I bet you can’t come up with a good reason. Especially, if you are someone as dedicated as you sound. You are very deserving of some yummy pie. Eat up:) Thanks for sharing. xo
These were great and original tips. I’m going through a phase of feeling burnout and not passionate about my work. Since, I know this I’m working on a plan to change it and I will add your advice in there. You hit the nail on the head about being mindful and present in the moment.
Hi Lay! Thanks for visiting. I’m so glad you find the tips useful. Sometimes a “phase” is a good thing…even when it is accompanied by feeling exhausted. Perhaps what you are experiencing is signaling a change in direction. Get some rest, but don’t give up! Be well. xo
I’ve been so exhausted for so many years because my health is bad. It gets worse when I go go go and don’t rest and take care of myself. I’ve learned to be mindful of what it takes to feel better. I’ve let the house chores go, I’ve missed events with friends, if I’m tired, I nap. Also, letting myself be ok with not doing everything all the time and be a super hero like you said has helped greatly. Thank you for the reminders. 🙂
Hi Michele! Thanks for checking in. Glad to hear you are listening to your body and getting the rest you need to be as efficient as possible. It isn’t easy setting boundaries that protect your well-being from burnout. It sounds like you have found strategies that are working nicely for you. Nice! xo
I’ve been told many times, “You need to slow down!” and I know I do. I always rush through things so I can get MORE stuff done- which will mean, less stress for me… but really only adds more stress to get stuff done! It’s a never ending cycle. I don’t want to feel like I have to rush through life. It’s too good! Thank you for this blog. I am going to take your brilliant advice and slow my roll. After all, I love pie!!
Hey Sharon! I know it’s crazy, right? We think checking things off the list will relieve stress but soon find out it only just frees up more space to do more. I am glad this blog met you at the perfect time. We all need a little reminder to slow down and enjoy the moments of our life. Love to you! xo
It’s so easy to get to the point of burn out! Love all your pointers especially the one about asking for help. I always think that I can do it all myself or don’t want to bother anyone else with my issues. Gotta overcome that thinking. Thanks so much!
Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts Rebekka [cool spelling BTW]. I’m totally with you on the “bothering” people tip. That’s so common. Many people who believe they “should” be able to do it all by them self usually think this way because they’ve learned they can’t trust others to help. It’s very tricky, but all it takes is one person to prove this belief wrong. Take care xo!