Too Pooped to Think Straight?
There is a better way!
Published: June 29, 2012
Exhaustion is about new beginnings.
Your eyes have a red marbled effect. You are down to your last nerve. Your heart beats, but only when it can find the time. Your head is auditioning for a part in High Anxiety. The thought of being enthusiastic exhausts you. And you are tired of living. Now is, apparently, a great time to make lots of decisions which will affect the rest of your life!
A client of mine, recovering from a burnout, once said, “My problem is that when I have energy I get busy, and when I am tired I make decisions.” Exhaustion is not the best time to sort your life out. When exhausted, you are not in your right mind. You make bad choices. For instance, you probably drink espresso to relax, and you probably think insomnia is a great opportunity to get more work done!
In my medical lectures, I use the figure below as an aid to describing the psychology of exhaustion:
When exhausted, vision pales, purpose is clouded, worry reigns, thinking is muddled, and there is a downpour of aggression, frustration, and pain. Self-attack is high as you conclude: 1) you are powerless; 2) there is no opportunity for change. Vision can, however, transform miraculously with enough rest, healing, and help, so that what once looked like a dead end now becomes a way out, i.e. opportunity is nowhere becomes opportunity is now here.
Exhaustion is an opportunity. It is a sign to reconnect to your heart, to end sacrifice, to drop the ego, and to let God in. It is a prompt to heal, be nourished, receive, and be open to a better way. When exhausted, you have come to the end of a road, and now it is time to go another way. Exhaustion is about new beginnings.
So why are you exhausted? Here are some hints and exercises that will help you reconnect to the vitality and inspiration of your true Unconditioned Self.
Heal unhealthy self-sufficiency. When you try to “do” life on your own, it creates burnout. So, either you can keep pumping yourself full of extra Vitamin C and iron tablets, or you can stop talking yourself out of asking for and receiving help. The key here is to connect. Connect to something other than your ego.
Heal self-attack. You are constantly running yourself down with criticism, judgment, and self-attack. What are you attacking yourself for right now? Self-acceptance switches you on to your true power.
Let go of grievances. Holding on to old wounds takes up great energy. It distracts you from your true innocence, freedom, and power.
Forgiving others sets you free. Forgiveness gives you back your energy.
Give up the “not now.” There is nothing more tiring than trying to live in three places at once, i.e. past, present, and future. Choose one! By giving your best to now you will receive more.
Hang up old defenses. Your ego has a massive defense budget. It invests all its energy in fear, control, cynicism, and other armor. And yet it is when you relax, trust, and love that you discover an imperishable strength.
End sacrifice. Exhaustion is a sure sign you are in sacrifice. Maybe you are giving energy and time, but you are not really giving yourself; hence there is no real intimacy, synergy, exchange, or receiving.
Ditch overseriousness. You were not created to be serious; you were created to shine. When you try too hard, you block flow and you inhibit true creativity. Ask yourself, “What could I lighten up about now?”
Be real. Integrity is energy. It connects you to intention, vision, and purpose. Resisting your own guidance is exhausting. Keeping up appearances will wear you down. Be true to what is highest in you.
Practice gratitude. Gratitude is a miracle. It restores vision, it turns fatigue into energy, and it raises the dead. Gratitude will jumpstart your batteries. You cannot be fully grateful and tired at the same time.
Robert Holden, Ph.D., is the Director of The Happiness Project and Success Intelligence. Robert coaches leaders in business, education, politics and healthcare.