So many of my clients have spoken to me about feeling more tired and experiencing more anxiety than usual. I’ve also felt this way lately. I’ve spoken to other therapists about it, and they’re also in touch with a similar trend.
I want to tell you that if you’re craving more rest, feeling somewhat unmotivated to work, or experiencing some anxious thoughts or symptoms (difficulty sleeping, intrusive unpleasant thoughts, increased heart-rate, shortness of breath), it’s 100% normal.
Why are we more tired than usual?
We’ve had to adjust to a lot of change very fast. At times we’ve feared for our own health, we’ve feared for the health of the people we love, we’ve even feared for our jobs and our income. At other times, we’ve thought, “What’s all the fuss? Most people who catch corona don’t even get symptoms. Why are our lives on hold for something that might not even be that serious?”
We’ve been oscillating between fear and irreverence. Between a feeling of normality and complete abnormality. Between savouring and impatience.
It’s a lot to process. And whenever we need to process new information (especially conflicting information), it takes a lot of physical energy to do this. When we learn, we create new neural connections and pathways so that the brain can integrate this information into its already established constructs of “reality”. Learning new things that are relatively straightforward takes energy, let alone when the newness we’re experiencing is so confusing.
Naturally, our bodies and minds become tired, so that we’ll rest, which means that our brains can use the energy we have to make sense of all the info and create these new connections.
And what about the anxiety?
Our brains can’t create new neural pathways effectively, if we insist on pushing through the tiredness and not giving ourselves enough space to rest. When we do this, we don’t manage to integrate what’s going on, and so we remain scattered, fragmented and lost. This leaves us feeling exhausted, frustrated and anxious. Essentially, life becomes overwhelming and it becomes very difficult to emotionally and physically regulate.
What to do about it: REST
It is okay to be tired. It is okay to need to sleep a bit more than usual, or to take some time off to read a book. We become ineffective when we run at 100mph all the time.
Like athletes, we all need times when we’re in action-mode, and we all need time to be in recovery-mode. Without good recovery, the action time is less energetic, less impactful, less successful.
So long, as you’re not passive all day everyday, it’s absolutely fine – in fact, it’s absolutely necessary to chill out. Remember, your brain is working hard to adjust – give yourself the space you need to do this, so that you can be even more effective in your relationships, your career and so on.
How to Chill
I was about to end this blog post, but I could hear you, you high-achiever, you… “How the hell do I chill – especially when there’s so much that I have to do???” I’ve got you covered.
A lot of high-achievers have an all-or-nothing mentality – you’re either all in or you’re all out. So, resting sounds a bit like throwing all responsibilities to the wind and drinking mojitos all afternoon in your bikini. Well, it doesn’t need to be so drastic.
Chilling can look like this:
- A 5-minute meditation before your afternoon meeting to ensure you get into a centred space and are able to think clearly.
- An extra half hour during your lunch break to read some pages from that novel you’ve been dying to get into.
- Choose a bedtime that supports you to get 8 hours sleep. Give yourself a half-hour window if you don’t like to be too strict with yourself; ex. Between 11 and 11.30, I’ll be in bed.
- Make bedtime FEEL GOOD. Turn off all screens half an hour before bed, so that your brain isn’t wired when it’s time to let go and sleep. Instead of watching something or scrolling through your phone, consider reading, doing your skincare routine, having a chat with your partner, or doing some meditation. #bedtimeisthebesttime
- Be realistic with yourself when you schedule your day – rather than filling in every single minute with tasks to do, leave space for the unexpected things that occur, or to linger with a cup of tea, or to video-call a friend. Life is meant to be enjoyed, not rushed through.
When you meet your need for rest, your energy will naturally come back because you’re not wasting it fighting what you need. Tune into what you really need, give it to yourself and you’ll re-balance.
I hope you found this post helpful. Please do message me (through Instagram or Facebook) if you have any questions, if you’d like to share your experience of this time, or if you’d like me to address any topic you might be thinking about. I’m always happy to be in touch with you.
If you’d like to use this challenging time as an opportunity to develop an even more resilient mindset, you’re welcome to contact me to organise a complimentary online Lifestyle Strategy Session during which we’ll discuss the best way forward for you to THRIVE.
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