Have you ever felt that you didn’t have any energy at all, or completely spent at the end of the day? Do you feel tired in the morning when you’re supposed to have at least some energy after a night of rest? Some people, busy with the hustle and bustle of life, feel like they just need to learn how to deal with it even if it’s hard. While others feel tired so often that it has become normal to them. But exhaustion should not be normalized.
The good news is you can do something about it. The first step is to recognize the reasons behind your exhaustion. Here are the most common.
Lack of sleep. With so much going on in your life, you may sometimes think that you can’t afford the luxury of proper sleep. When you plan your day, do you write down ‘sleep’ as one of your priorities? Does it even make it to the list? More often than not, we only sleep with whatever time is left over after our day.
You might think that you accomplish more by sacrificing your sleep because you can spend more hours completing a task, but this idea is counterproductive. Without enough sleep, the human body is at suboptimal capacity. Difficulty maintaining focus, increased irritability, and vulnerability to stress are just some of the known effects of sleep loss. Science suggests that lack of sleep decreases your productivity so the chances are high that you end up working more to make up for it, which can become an exhausting daily pattern.
So what can you do?
The most common suggestion you’ll find in the media is to reassess your priorities and stop doing the least important things. But what if everything seems to be important and you can’t really find anything to cross out?
The trick is to know the time when you need to wake up then count backward until you have the hours of sleep that you need. Then add another half hour for relaxation. That time will be your hard stop. You can then plan on how to fit everything else that you want to do with the remaining hours left.
Instead of focusing on reassessing your priorities, put sleep as the first item on your priority list.
Pleasing others. One of the most common motivators of our actions is trying to please others. Pleasing others involves a high tendency of conforming to other people’s opinions or expectations even if you don’t want to. This is exhausting because you end up doing what you don’t want to do or act in a way that is not true to yourself. Pretending takes a huge conscious effort and tremendous willpower that drains your energy. You become so focused on the comfort and welfare of others that you begin to neglect your own.
Sometimes pleasing others can be underestimated and confused with generosity but pleasing others is done at the expense of your happiness and helping others is a genuine act that lifts both the giver and the receiver.
So what can you do?
The most important step is, to be honest with yourself on what gives you fulfillment and joy, then define the things that make you feel otherwise. This then gives you a clear backbone in defining your boundaries and expectations. The next step is to communicate these boundaries and expectations to others. These steps may be difficult at first but can free you from unnecessary stress and anxiety and can eventually lead to self-nourishment, healthy self-regard, and vigorous intent to share your happiness with others.
Being TOO ‘anxiously engaged in a good cause’. Have you ever done something where you put in so much more effort than required that it ended up being overdone or too perfect? It’s not bad at all. Going the extra mile is good but it can also be unnecessary. Sometimes you can be caught up in the idea that you must go above and beyond to be appreciated but the truth is, the simple effort that you put in to serve or help others is more than enough.
Extra effort can provide ‘nice to have’ additions but the people you are with are more important.
Going the unnecessary extra mile every time will only cause exhaustion and exhaustion does not equal perfection.
Disregarding personal time. In today’s overscheduled world, how do you find the time to give to yourself? Personal time allows your brain to reboot, think more clearly, and engage in deep thought on what drives you, inspires you, and makes your life fulfilling. It’s an opportunity to connect with your true sense of self, without any distractions. It is the unstructured time and space to let your mind wander, process, and decompress without fear of being judged and influenced against your will.
This is not to say that personal time can give so much energy that you won’t feel exhausted after a hard day’s work, but science suggests that personal time can help you to be in a better and healthier mindset to accomplish your tasks, which can lessen mistakes, repetition, and stress that often lead to exhaustion.
And not only your mind, but your spirit needs personal time. Taking a few minutes throughout the day to pray to your Heavenly Father, read a scripture verse or two, or just sit quietly and think about things you are grateful for in your life can make a huge difference in how you feel, calming you down and giving you a more eternal view that can put stress in perspective.
Not forgiving yourself. Do you constantly torture yourself with thoughts of, “I could have done better?” It’s not bad to think about what you could have done better and use that knowledge to improve your performance. But when you start beating yourself up because of it, it becomes a trap—a trap that can kill your will to move forward and progress. If you focus on the mistakes and not the lessons, and then spend time imagining what could have been, it’s easy to fall into a spiral of self-blame which can be emotionally and mentally exhausting.
Falling into this trap only impedes your progress because there’s no point in agonizing over something in the past that you have no control over. Instead, focus your thoughts and motivation on what you can do to improve in the future.
The journey ahead might be a little bumpy but you can be assured that the Lord will bless you with inspiration, comfort, opportunities, and aide along the way. The light of Christ that is within you, will always be there to provide divine influence as you strive towards daily progression.
Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Celebrate small wins. Aim for excellence, not perfection because God doesn’t expect you to be perfect in this life, and perfection is not a pre-requisite to becoming successful—whatever success means to you. Success is so much more blissful when you’re less exhausted, isn’t it?
So take your time and reflect. What makes you feel exhausted? What activities deplete you mentally, emotionally, and physically? What makes you feel alive? What activities make you feel that you’re one with your true self?