Running on Empty
Let’s do a pulse check. Where is your personal gas tank at right now? Is your gas tank full, where you feel comfortable, and confident that things will work out today, tomorrow, or next week? Is your gas tank at half full where you feel decent, a little worried about tomorrow, but overall in a steady state of it will be alright? Or… is your gas tank empty where you are in a state of increasing mood swings, laced with inconsistent snippiness, and a general uncertainty about if you can get it all done?
It is impossible to catch up on the fuel that you need to function. But, you have control over how long you allow yourself to operate on empty. Sometimes we (and by we I mean me) tell ourselves this elaborate lie, “I will use the weekend to catch up on my rest,” and strangely your weekend disappears and you find yourself less rested then you were during the week. If you are at the point where you feel tired… your body is already in a state of fatigue.
I live in the world of fatigue, and I am also very aware that this world of fatigue is of my own doing. The thing with fatigue is it impacts everyone. Whether you have kids or don’t have kids, have a job outside of the home, or work from home, whatever your situation, fatigue does not discriminate. Fatigue is also not a competition or up for comparison. Every person’s fuel tank is different, and it is of poor taste and downright rude to tell someone “oh you’re tired now, just wait until you have kids.” If someone tells you they are tired, and/or if someone appears tired, I encourage you to instead ask them this question “what are you doing each day to actually rest your body, your mind and your soul?”
What strategies have you included in your day to make sure you have a rest point? A point where you refuel (not catch up because that does not exist) but actually take the time to refuel. Here are four of my favorite examples of actually refueling:
- Reading- The art of disconnection through reading gives your mind a chance to just breathe and focus on an outside world. Now let me be clear… reading The Facebook does not count. I mean actually reading… a book… that is not someone’s really long news feed. An iBook counts!
- Napping- Yes.. this actually works! Studies show at least 10-30 minutes of napping per day will actually give your body a chance to rest and refuel. If you are able to nap in a moving vehicle (planes are my favorite), you get bonus points!
- Exercise- This can actually provide a physical release of stress and anxiety, which ultimately gives your body rest from stress. It also doubles as a re-energizer. Be careful not to use exercise as an excuse not to sleep… this will result in more fatigue.
- Artistic Expression- This can be singing, coloring in an adult coloring book, painting, anything to allow yourself a creative outlet that requires little to no thought (wine drinking could be considered artistic expression… sort of).
You have to own what you do to refuel. Give yourself a break, and let yourself rest. You can only run on empty for so long…