This week, I noticed something that bothered me.
I noticed that I’m having a lot of trouble being present. I’ve been getting caught up in thoughts, cleaning, planning, or other distractions that take me away from the moment at hand. I haven’t paid attention to the little things, and I’m sure I’ve missed out on tiny pockets of joy because of it. I’m tired. I’m so freaking tired.
One afternoon last week, exhausted from a long day of work/life integration, I found myself lost in thought while tidying the kitchen, completely missing out on the fun that was happening in our living room. I felt uncomfortable and strained, like I was being pulled in a million different directions. I had to fight to tear myself away from the kitchen sink, but eventually I stopped what I was doing, and left it behind to go play, making a mental note to revisit that uncomfortable feeling.
I noticed that the rest of the week my mind had one foot out the door, concerned about the next thing, the next, and the next, determined to embark on ALL THE THINGS I had promised myself. Noticing the internal pull to something else, I’d refocus, tenderly trying to pay attention to what was in front of me, and inevitably I’d find myself, again, thinking, planning, and missing the moment.
In my peak energy, I thrive on the excitement and the significance of what I do with my time, usually pushing through my body’s tiredness and ignoring my need for rest for the sake of moving forward with attempted gusto. Productivity may stay afloat, but my spirit suffers, as evidenced by the multiple burnt out meltdowns (aforementioned here and here). With all this important stuff to do, how can I know when enough is enough? What could possibly wait or be abandoned?
I noticed more and more that the root of my uncomfortable feeling was (and is) how tired I am feeling, a reflection that made me even more uncomfortable. Who wants to be tired? Recognizing fatigue means having to give in to rest, and ironically, rest takes more effort than just pushing through.
Feeling tired gets a bad rap, but if you think about it, what’s wrong with being tired?
My body is telling me, loud and clear, that I can’t do it all right now, and it’s time to rest. Fatigue is not an evil entity, it’s a kind but persistent signal that it’s time to slow down, to rest. There is merit in fatigue, and though often easier to push it aside to keep achieving, but I can’t keep pushing myself to the point of burnout.
Energy is precious, and what is it worth if it’s always in abundance? I have to remember that our energy is not meant to be a constant, consistent force to drive productivity. Energy waxes and wanes, sometimes predictably like the moon, and other times fluctuating inconsistently, impacted by a hundred different factors. Energy is about more than “just” getting things done.
This week, I am listening to and honoring the ebbs and flows of my energy. I’m putting the miles-long to-do list away, reducing it to “necessities” on a post-it. I’m making a point to inadvertently leave my phone out of sight, limiting the temptation of distraction. I’m watching my son play with reinvigorated focus, I’m chewing my food, and I’m basking in each sweet moment of slow rest. When I’m feeling pressured to do it all, I’m giving myself permission to let it slide, because a lot of it can wait. I’m resting when I’m tired.
For any readers who are fellow go-getters, running on empty (or near to), let’s take some time to rest today. Soon, we will have a boost in energy that we can leverage and ALL THE THINGS will still be there, ready to be conquered. For now, they can wait.
It’s a good time to rest. What’s wrong with being tired?
How do you know when it’s time to give yourself a break? (really though, how do you know? this inquiring mind wants to hear!) What do you do to rest and recharge?