How often do you hear someone say they’re exhausted?
Sometimes when people say that, it’s not from any kind of physical exertion but from something or someone bringing them down—or should I say weighing them down? Yes, extra psychological or emotional weight really can make you feel just as exhausted as running a marathon would.
Take it from me: I know. For seven months I was exhausted.
I came home from work drained. I was constantly tired even though I was sleeping more than I ever did before. As I was going through my “I am exhausted stage” I knew it wasn’t from any physical exertion. Something else was going on. Something in my life was not working. I needed to stop and to do some self-analysis, or as I call it: getting off the treadmill of life to think clearly. Once I know why something isn’t working, I can fix it to get things running smoothly again.
So that’s what I did. I got off the treadmill and went down my checklist.
- Kids? Good, healthy, thriving
- Family and friends? Good, healthy, enjoying life
- Work? Eh…not so good. Not healthy and I was not thriving. I was not being fulfilled professionally.
Because my work situation wasn’t going so well, I dug a little deeper there to see if it really was at the root of my exhaustion. I did a full assessment of the situation by looking inward as I asked myself a series of questions: Why was I was so unfilled? Why was this not working for me? What could I control in the situation? What could I not control?
The answers led me to look outward to determine if there were other factors contributing to my exhausted state. After more questions and a thorough, honest examination, I realized there were a few things going on.
First, the situation I was in was not tapping into my desire to be part of a team; one that would allow me to contribute to an organization and utilize my strengths. Second, I was not being creative and working on projects that enhanced my growth.
Clearly, I was exhausted from the strain of trying to force myself to fit into a situation that wasn’t right for me. And, since I couldn’t change the situation, that meant I needed to make a change for myself.
Ugh, really. We all know change is not always easy—especially when we’re already exhausted.
However, change is a constant. It is always happening whether we like it or not. We have the choice either to deliberately create a change or we can let change happen to us. In my experience, being deliberate is the best way to go about it, since that is where you have the most control. So I decided to make a change and find a new position that would inspire me.
And that’s exactly what I did. The result? I’m invigorated by my job, not exhausted by it.
What about you? Are you tired? Really tired or is there something else going on? Do you know for sure? Or, do you need to do like I did and get off the treadmill of life? If you find you’re saying yes to things when you really mean no, then perhaps you’re tired from the emotional strain. If you find you’re taking on your friends’ issues and problems, not just supporting them, then maybe you’re exhausted from the mental and emotional weight.
If you realize you’re exhausted but can’t figure exactly why or out what to do to revitalize, I have several exercises in my book, Life Happens: Bounce Back! that could be helpful. In the book, I not only discuss the need to frequently take breaks just to stop and think about your life, but I include plenty of ideas on how to spend that alone time so that you can get the break you need. I even include questions to ask yourself to help analyze where you might be stuck or where you’re carrying additional mental or emotional weight.
So, be honest now, when was the last time you took time to ask yourself who you are and what is important to you? Since summer is often a time when the world slows down, perhaps now is a good time for you to get to know yourself even better by getting off the treadmill of life for just a little while.