But what I am hearing from so many of you right now is that you don’t even have the energy to enjoy summer or what’s left of it. You’re plum exhausted. Tanked. Running on empty. Sucked dry with nothin’ more to give!
I have 7 sure fire rescue remedies to help you recharge so that you can make the most out of the remaining weeks of summer and get what you need from it to feel good about going into fall.
I’m going to give it to you in bite-size doable remedies – three this week and four next week – because it is time to give back to yourself, not time to overwhelm yourself.
When you already feel there are not enough hours in the day and you don’t have enough energy to get through what you need to do, adding “recharge” to the ever growing list can feel like just another Have-to. I promise you it is not.
Taking the time to follow these first three remedies will give you back huge payoffs in energy and a brighter outlook on life that will make life easier with better results ultimately saving you time and energy.
These simple remedies are the breadcrumbs that will lead you out of Exhaustionville right back to the land of the living and functioning!
Breadcrumb #1 – Say No
Obligation is an energy suck. Don’t do it. And I can hear you saying “But Jodi, it’s not that easy.” And I’m going to say “Think of it this way, what part of yourself are you willing to compromise to fill that obligation? Your arm, a leg, a spleen, a vertebrae?” Because that is what you are doing. You are giving away a piece of yourself – your life force energy – when you do something you really don’t want to do just to appease someone else or avoid their disappointment or judgement or to keep up appearances. Ask yourself “Is it true I really have to do this?” And what you will find is there is really very little in life we have to do. There are things we choose to do because we want the outcome of doing that particular thing. And if that is the case then own that. You don’t have to do it. You are choosing to do it. You keep your power and your energy and your arm – oh so useful an appendage for holding the lid on the margarita mixer, which you’ll actually have the time to bust out when you say No! to things you are no longer doing out of obligation!
Breadcrumb #2 -Give Your Self Permission to Rest
Driving yourself harder is NOT the answer. Often times when we become exhausted we continue to push ourselves like that over-tired toddler who keeps fighting sleep and stumbling determinedly in circles. Take a nap already! When you’re exhausted you’re not being effective or even thinking clearly so continuing to push yourself is actually counter-productive. You will be much more efficient once you are rested. It is called “slowing down to speed up” and it makes total sense. After a good nap, or several of them spread out in between episodes of Mad Men you will be so much more effective, creative and efficient you will make up for any time you spent napping. I promise. Because until you’ve rested you should not operate heavy equipment, your life or your relationships – all are recipes for disaster. We aren’t our best selves and we tend not to make our best decisions when we are exhausted. This can compromise the quality of our life and our relationships. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as they say. Rest and recharge and everything will be a little bit clearer, feel much more manageable and you will have the gusto to direct your life rather than just react to it. The amount of rest you need is your call and drooling is optional but highly recommended!
Breadcrumb #3 – Give Your Self Permission to Play
If you observe children you will see that they play until they are ready to rest. Then rest until they are ready to play. It’s the natural cycle we were all born with. But as we became “serious adults” we somehow decided that play was the forbidden fruit. We all want to get naked with it in the garden but we’re afraid of the judgement, or somehow we don’t think we’re deserving of fun. We haven’t “earned” it or “we shouldn’t be having so much fun when there are people suffering all over the world.” Here’s the reality slap on that – your suffering only adds to the suffering in the world. It does absolutely nothing to abate it. But your joy sure makes a difference in the people’s lives around you. When you allow yourself to play, you fill up your own tank. And what spills over gets shared with the people closest to you. And there’s nothin’ selfish about that! So like your mother used to say “Get outside and play!” or stay inside and do whatever the hell you want that makes you happy! Play is anything that you do that gives you more energy back than it takes to do it. It’s often those things you do where you lose track of time. This is what neuroscientists call “being in the state of flow” – where you lose all self consciousness and track of time and are just completely immersed in what you are doing. These types of activities are regenerative and actually make you feel rejuvenated from doing them rather than depleted. So get your play on to rejuvenate your mind and body!
When you’re exhausted it means you have given out too much of yourself – too much of your life force energy. Get your energy and your quality of life back by starting with just one of these first three breadcrumbs – whichever one calls to you the most – and when that has renewed you, choose the next breadcrumb.
Being exhausted will make you want to do crazy things!
At a point when I had really run myself down and was super exhausted I was running another errand and found myself driving past and then stopping in front of my grandparent’s old home.
I felt an overwhelming urge to go in! I just wanted to crawl back into the bed in the spare room that my Nana always had made up with crisp, delicious smelling sheets fresh from the clothesline.
In my run-down, firing-on-fumes mind it struck me as the perfect solution to my bone-weary exhaustion. An afternoon of hiding out under the covers in the place I felt the safest and most loved as a kid was just behind those walls.
I WANTED IT…with every aching, drained and depleted cell in my body. But my beloved grandparents haven’t lived there for decades and I’m no longer eleven, plus I’m fairly certain the nice people who live there now may find the sleeping Goldilocks in their home a bit concerning.
Nevertheless the body knows what the body needs and in this case I needed to respect my body – without breaking and entering – and take steps to refill my battery.
Sometimes, especially when we are tired, we just want someone to make it all better for us. And as a kid that sometimes worked but as adults we need to DECIDE to do that for ourselves – because while others can do things for us that may make it easier for us to recharge we still need to decide to take the opportunity and the steps to recharge.
So really it comes down to this – ain’t nobody going to rescue you from Exhaustionville but your very own self!
And that’s the best news ever! Because instead of waiting on someone else to maybe fill your needs, you get to do it for yourself!
These are the steps I took to recharge and the steps I have shared with several of you over the last few weeks. I sent you three last week and as promised here are the remaining four – because while I can’t make it better for you, I can give you the breadcrumbs to lead you out of Exhaustionville back to Sanity City (if such a place really exists ;)!
If you missed the first three you can get all seven here.
Breadcrumb #4 – Narrow the Focus
In times of complete exhaustion – your mind is fried, your body is fatigued, your energy is depleted and life just feels too overwhelming to deal with – is when you need to narrow the focus. This means not planning any more than one to two, maximum three days ahead and sometimes depending on the severity of what has depleted you – big life changes like a breakup, job loss or change, divorce, the death of a loved one – ten minutes is your maximum planning capacity. This may seem extreme, maybe even ridiculous, but the truth is when you are mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and energetically numb, attempting to deal with anything more than the immediate present is futile and only going to further confuse, overwhelm and exhaust you. The rule of thumb here is the bigger the life change or transition you are dealing with or the longer it has gone on, the smaller your focus needs to be. Projecting out too far into the future is going to insight anxiousness and lamenting over the past is going to keep you stuck in pain – the place to begin to regenerate is in the present. In The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron writes about this eloquently: In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful to remember, I have learned to pay attention to right now. The precise moment I was in was always the safest place for me. Each moment, taken alone, was always bearable. In the exact now, we are all, always all right. Yesterday the marriage may have ended. Tomorrow the cat may die. The phone call from the lover, for all my waiting, may not ever come, but just at the moment, just now, that’s all right. I am breathing in and out. Realizing this, I began to notice that each moment was not without its beauty. Narrow your focus as small as you need to, to the present moment until you too feel it costs you nothing and you can simply be and start to, if not begin to fill up, at least not expend any more energy in worry or regret.
Breadcrumb #5 – Have Your Moment in the Sun
Just 10 minutes outside in the sunlight can make all the difference to your mood and energy levels. When our eyes detect sunlight it triggers the brain to produce the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin giving us a natural boost. The word serotonin means “serum” and “tonic” – it’s a happy brain elixir that is at your disposal with just 10 minutes of rays. So take your morning coffee to the yard or your lunch to the park or patio cafe and if you want to make the serotonin a double-double move your body while you are taking in the sunlight – serotonin and endorphins! That’s a two-for that will pay you back dividends on your 10 minute investment!
Breadcrumb #6 – Treat Yourself LIKE a friend
Be kind, comforting, understanding and patient with yourself. Nix-ay the judge-ay. If a friend was exhausted would you berate her, judge her, condemn her with threats, “shoulds” and shame? Nope! That’s not the kind of friend you are. You would show her compassion, bring her her favorite six-hundred dollar latte, a beautiful bouquet of happy flowers, take her for a stroll through the park and listen closely to what she has to say. When you’re exhausted you need exactly that – you need to be extra good to yourself. Like extra-good-with-a-cherry-on-top! And I mean that sincerely. Be good to you. You are a kind and beautiful women who needs nurturing right now so be a good friend to yourself.
Breadcrumb #7 – Treat Yourself TO a friend
Spending time with a trusted friend will give you the chance to think about and answer the question “How are you?” Giving you the opportunity to talk it through and discover how you really do feel right now. Being with a trusted friend is a terrific way to connect and feel safe. It is a reliable place to share what’s going on, vent, be supported and get perspective to know you’re not alone in your struggles or challenges and that people care. Your friends are calling and telling you “You need to get out of the house, it will do you good.” And it will, once you feel rested enough to be social. Just do a self-check here – if it’s an “I should…” for someone else’ benefit or approval then it’s going to cost you energy. If it’s an “I should because I know I am going to feel better for it” then throw your tangled hair in a messy bun, shuck your PJs for a pair of jeans and get out and giggle with the gaggle! Nothing like laughter with friends to top up your tank!
There is no right or wrong way to do these breadcrumbs. Sample them like a buffet or do them sequentially until you feel full, content and recharged. However you do it is exactly right for you. Trust that.
And soon you will be feeling like your new old self again!