The Happiness Connection  

Find peace in exhaustion

I’m exhausted and puzzled.

After these all-consuming few months with my parents, I’m giving myself three weeks of down time to recuperate.

I’m one week into this recovery period, and I’m still feeling incredibly tired. Shouldn’t I at least notice some improvement by now?

It’s strange that it can take weeks, months, or even years to get to a point of extreme exhaustion, yet we somehow expect to recover within a few days.

It’s like taking an hour to walk somewhere, and then believing you can travel back on foot in five minutes?

If you spend a year depleting energy, why should you think you can replenish it in a week?

There are lots of life events that can bring you to a place of extreme physical or emotional exhaustion. Work, parenting, relationships, and caregiving are common reasons.

Once I realized that energy might move in and out at the same rate rather than seeping out and flooding in, these are three things I’ve encouraged myself to focus on.

Accept what is

Our current sunshine and warm temperatures usually make me feel invigorated. Not this time. I’m loving the weather, but I mostly just want to sit in it, not take my dog for a walk, clean up my house, or weed.

That’s OK.

You don’t have to keep moving forward and push through your tiredness and lack of motivation. Don’t judge yourself or expect things to be different. Simply allow your life to be as it is.

Take as much time as you need to recover

Just because I decided to earmark three weeks to focus on recuperating, that doesn’t mean I’ll be completely recovered at the end of that time.

It’s OK to feel tired. It’s OK to need more time. Don’t pressure yourself for it to be different.

I’ve been exhausted before, but not at this age or from this situation. I can only guess how much time it will take.

I’m still helping my mother. I visit every few days bringing items she wants, getting signatures on documents, or finishing tasks I haven’t managed to do yet.

These all require energy, which slows the replenishing process.

I remind myself daily that recuperating will take as long as it takes. Setting a recovery date is unrealistic.

Choose a healthy lifestyle

Eat well, drink lots of water, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and try not to add unnecessary stress to your life.

There’s a lot to do to get my life back on track. My home is a disaster and more cluttered than usual with the arrival of things from my parents’ house.

Rather than sinking into comfort foods and relaxing drinks, I’m choosing to be healthy.

I walk my dog twice a day, regardless of whether I feel like it or not. I’m eating nutritious foods and making sure I drink lots of water.

The biggest difference is that I’m paying more attention to how I feel.

When a feeling of tiredness washes over me in the middle of the afternoon, I rest or take a nap. If something feels stressful or hard, I leave it.

To help with this, I’ve chosen not to make to-do lists.

That doesn’t mean I have no awareness of what I want to accomplish. There are things I want to get done, but I’m not pushing myself with a specific timeline.

Currently, I have a pile of items I want to put into the basement. I gathered them together yesterday. I hope to get them moved today, but if I don’t, there’s always tomorrow, or the days after that.

It’s good to remind yourself that life isn’t a race. There’s no link between the speed of your recovery and how good a person you are. There are no extra marks for how quickly you bounce back from physical or emotional exhaustion.

Find peace in this situation by listening to your body, accepting your situation, and enjoying what is.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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