Mind & Meaning

How to know if you’re exhausted or just tired

April 10, 2022

Serenity Here
I devour health and wellness information, and love to share everything that works in my life, so you can use the same self care and lessons in yours!
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Burnout. It gets the best of us. I know, I’ve been there too many times. Every time I try to pull back, my driven self pulls me back into the fire. I know it’s bad for me, it starts slow and then over time I pick back up the pace. Because I can, because I know I can handle too much. And those two words – too much,  have turned into – at what cost?

I have the privilege of working with a lot of women. I hear things like, “I know I have to slow down”, or “ I know I can’t keep going at this pace,” and “I know I need to start taking better care of myself.” The unfortunate fact is that knowing and action don’t always connect. 

We feel guilty. Another thing I hear often, and I get it. But, when those words are spoken out loud, women often realize how ridiculous it sounds. Guilty for making yourself a priority, and taking care of yourself. Because we put others’ needs in front of our own. 

You know deep down you need it, but somehow you simply don’t do it or it doesn’t feel right when you do, because it feels like it’s at the expense of something else. 

I had a nervous breakdown in my early thirties. Three young kiddos, two jobs, one of which I was caring for another person, and the other working often up to 80 hours a week. I simply hit a breaking point. I mean, of course I did!

And I’d love to sit here and say I never pushed myself like that again, but that simply isn’t the truth. I did. I did until it cost me more. Until the lesson was so devastating that it practically forced me to stop. I don’t want that for you! It does not have to be like that, and it’s my mission to support you in taking better care of yourself. 

I truly believe that when you can do that, you can give so much more, and the world needs women who are so well nourished that they have the time and energy to make the difference they were born to make. 

Sleep is important, and you can be getting enough sleep but simply be exhausted or burnt out. There is a difference, and it’s important to know where you land, in order to take the right action. Sleep isn’t going to completely solve exhaustion. If you are getting enough sleep, that is a clear indication that it may be burnout. Although burnout can lead to sleep issues if not addressed. 

Burnout’s been a thing for over 50 years. I’m sure it’s been around longer than that, but that’s when it was finally identified as burnout! Originally describing those in professions whose responsibility is to help others, and resulting in consequences from severe stress.

Nowadays the term is used more broadly and rightfully so, it’s a self sacrifice that leaves us exhausted, emotionally drained, and with little energy to even make it through the day. You feel tired not because you’re lacking sleep, but because every ounce of you is depleted. Your cup is empty. 

Burnout can often be confused as depression as well, because of the overarching similar symptoms like: feeling down, exhausted, and seeing a decline in performance at work. The reality is that prolonged burnout could lead to depression, so it’s important to recognize the signs and start taking action. 

The action part is difficult when you’re exhausted. Here’s the thing, nothing’s gonna change if nothing changes. Get quiet, and start to listen to yourself. Journaling and writing can be a great way to start to get things out, and get clear on what action you need to take. 

If it’s a meaningless job that no longer inspires you, think about what you want the next chapter of your life to look like and what action needs to happen to get you there. Create a plan, and take steps towards that plan, if even small to start. 

Some great ways to re-energize yourself during this time are: getting sunshine, taking a walk outside, and breathing in some fresh air. You’ll get the benefit of sun, nature, and movement. All three of these things have been shown to boost mood. 

Jot down some other things you can do for just you. Can you take a day off? Take a warm bath, pamper yourself. It’s so important to try and make yourself a priority as much as you can to start to pull yourself up.

You got this my friend, you’re not alone!

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