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Updated: Jan 11

Ok let's have an honest talk about burnout. It's real folks.

In our modern world we run awfully fast. In addition to our primary jobs, many of us have "side-gigs." In the pursuit of lofty goals we push ourselves so hard sometimes that we have no days off. Many households are being run by single parents. That's a lot to carry alone. Cell phones are a blessing, but also mean that we are "available" 24/7. Even in downtime we are busily scrolling social media and games. There is immense pressure to keep our bodies and homes magazine worthy. To remain interesting and vibrant. Kids are involved in after school activities year-round which keeps both parents and children on the move, to the point that it becomes difficult to have a regular old-fashioned family dinner ever. The American mindset celebrates over achievement, often without considering the cost. To relationships. To physical health. To peace.

It can reach the point where you feel tired almost all of the time.

Physically Tired - It's hard to get out of bed in the morning and face the day ahead. You find yourself falling asleep watching movies, and having difficulty exercising or performing mundane tasks. Housework falls behind. You avoid activities you once loved, because you simply feel too fatigued to enjoy them. Sometimes you get too tired to even fall asleep easily. That sounds counter-intuitive, but anyone who has suffered from insomnia understands what I mean.

Mentally Tired - You have a tough time concentrating at work, and find yourself making careless errors. Reading is exhausting, and curiosity reaches a low point. It feels like you just can't absorb any new information. You become easily distracted, and lose track of time. If you've ever been driving and realized you totally zoned out, you get a sense of how dangerous this can potentially be.

Emotionally Tired - Cry a lot? Often not even really knowing why? Relationships can begin to feel like a burden. You can hardly stand to hear someone else talking, and don't have the internal bandwidth to be supportive of even your closest friends and family. Social interaction is draining. Everything feels draining really. Nothing sounds fun anymore. Losing yourself into addiction or other comfort measures brings temporary relief, but longer term anxiety. But you do so long for relief.

Spiritually Tired - The spark of passion has grown dim, to where you can hardly remember what it felt like to deeply dream or desire. God feels so remote and distant that you struggle to connect. You've lost a sense of purpose, and daily life takes on the heavy weight of monotony and boredom. Sensory pleasures (delicious food, breathtaking views, enchanting music) just don't inspire joy like they used to.

Sound familiar? So So So So tired. Sometimes these symptoms are an indication of something serious like depression. If so, please love yourself enough to seek the services of a trained professional who can help you through that. There is NO shame in asking for help. I have myself at various times in my life. Sometimes though, exhaustion is a message from your body and soul that what you really need is REST.

Physical Rest - Sleep. Deep, extended sleep that includes REM cycles. Almost all of us are sleep deprived, and off kilter in our circadian rhythms. Make this a priority. It can both extend the actual years of your life, and the quality of the life in those years as well. If you struggle with apnea or insomnia, make an appointment with a medical doctor for solutions. Get the electronics OUT of your bedroom. Turn off the TV and phone at least an hour before you plan to be asleep. Establish a before-bed routine that allows you time and space to ramp down from the day and relax. Take naps as needed. And during the day, try to move a little slower. There is no need to push yourself to the limits every waking hour.

Mental Rest - Do less. Seriously. Do less. Multitasking overly divides your attention. It is impossible to give 100% of your mental energy to a dozen things at once. Mental rest comes from the ability to focus on one thing at a time, with clarity and vision. Be present in the task at hand, not mentally existing in the past, future or obsessing on something unrelated. When conversing with someone, or even when watching TV, put the phone down and don't also be scrolling on Facebook at the same time. When out hiking, try to enjoy the experience without planning your next work presentation or starting your grocery list in your head. Give yourself the gift of sensory involvement in the present moment. Give your mind the gift of rest. Not from thinking. We are always thinking. But rest from thinking in endless chaotic circles, and just BE for awhile.

Emotional Rest - Introverts - spend as much time alone as you need to feel peaceful and grounded. Extroverts - seek out the company of a crowd if that fuels and energizes you. The key is to carve out space for introspection and self understanding, so you truly know what you need, Then retrain yourself to believe that you are able and allowed to have it. You are not your parents or peers. You are not bound by your past or habits. You are not your career or bank account. Your value is not defined by your social media following or your physical appearance. Rest comes in embracing your nature as it actually is, apart from all external influences, and then learning to love yourself exactly as you are. You are whole and complete, right now today. You don't need to DO anything to be worthy of love. Sit and breathe into that understanding, and see what peace it brings to your heart.

Spiritual Rest - This will look different for everyone depending on their viewpoints on spirituality. For me it involves trusting in God to teach me through prayer and meditation. I find great comfort and direction in that. I also commune and find peace in nature. For you it may be a different journey to the same ultimate end - connecting to your core center, and walking paths your soul messages guide you toward. Rest in spirit comes when we learn to stop resisting the leading, and move forward in faith and hope. There is great healing to be found in that surrender.

I am one who naturally tends to resist rest. I lean on the false narrative that I can't. "I have a job! Kids! There is no time to rest." But the truth I am slowly learning is that I can't NOT rest anymore. BECAUSE I have a job and a family, they deserve the very best of me, and I simply cannot give that to them without adequate rest. Make the time, whatever it takes, or your health or mental state will ultimately break down and force you to anyway. Rest is a gift to give to yourself that blesses others around you too.

It really is ok. Your well-being depends on it.

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