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/