I am tired of saying I am tired...
When someone asks you how you are feeling... how often do you hear yourself responding with ... 'I am OK... but tired.' Or maybe you have even skipped the first bit and just outright exclaimed how exhausted you are? I know I have said that over and over again during the past year or so!
I can't help but think we have got something so fundamentally wrong with the balance of our energy input and energy output. Why, when so much has advanced in the world, are we still battling so deeply with tiredness across a large proportion of society?
Why is there such a rise in fatigue related illnesses? Why are more people being signed off work with stress and exhaustion? Why is sleep and rest becoming less and less of a priority - and working ridiculously long hours is just 'the norm'?
The way that we have been conditioned to balance jobs and personal life makes it physically impossible to spend enough time 'playing' and 'living' versus 'working'.
There are simply not enough hours in the day to work 9 - 5, commute to get there, and then rest and replenish before sleeping for the recommended 8 hours a day. If you add in things like trying to juggle family life, relationships, exercise and any kind of 'fun'... it feels like we are destined to exhaustion.
It kind of makes my blood boil a little bit that we have come to this way of living.
I was chatting to my gorgeous friends Vix and Hayley the other day and we were discussing how the general collective energy at the moment is in a state of fatigue. Despite self care and self awareness being on the rise - the general feeling of utter exhaustion is virtually an epidemic.
Being tired has become the new busy.
For many years being 'busy' was celebrated because if you were busy it meant you were filling your life with stuff right? You were busy with work, busy socially, busy, busy, busy...
Being busy was always my response when people asked me how my business was going. Because it felt like that was such a good thing. If I was busy - I must be working super hard and raking in the cash, right?
I can't help but wonder when it became such a great thing to work yourself into the ground until the point where your poor body had no choice other than to stop you in your tracks by getting ill?
I always felt so much pride about the fact I could juggle five jobs, survive on minimal sleep, eat what I wanted and still go out and party before a day at work. I classed myself as a 'hard worker'... and even now I feel quietly proud of how much I managed to fit in and how people used to compliment my work ethic.
But that means I am still working on breaking down the mindset that work and earning money has to be HARD. Hard equals struggle, strain, vast amounts of energy... it isn't sustainable to maintain that level of effort long term.
The rise of slower living, more mindfulness in our daily lives and an increase of awareness around stress management has lead to 'busy' being less desirable.
Which is a great thing right?
Except... being busy seems to have been swapped for being tired.
There is a difference between being physically tired and being tired emotionally and soulfully to the point where every single thing feels draining and like a huge effort.
Being tired to me means no energy, my limbs feeling heavy, my passion and purpose being diminished, by enthusiasm for life waning. I don't want to feel like that! Yet I still often find myself in that mindset. It suggests to me that something isn't quite in balance with my life.
The official definition of 'tired' is being in need of sleep or rest, being weary.
It breaks my heart to think that we are living in a world of weariness - with so many people feeling anxious, stressed, uptight and down trodden due to being depleted of energy and void of vitality.
Why do we have to live in weary struggle? Is it worth it???
Being tired is just another way of saying that 'I am so busy I don't have time to sleep well, I don't have time to put myself first, I don't have time to rest or to replenish myself'.
Being tired is not a badge of honour - but we still seem to have this desire to show the world how hard we are working through being utterly exhausted.
Where does this need to prove to the world we are working hard come from? What are we so afraid of portraying if we aren't moving at a million miles an hour?
For one, I think many of us have become so habitually accustomed to people pleasing and saying yes to everyone else but ourselves - that we simply do not know HOW to put ourselves at the top of the list.
I also think that for many of us we are so USED to being tired it has become a kind of acceptance that we have to 'put up' with it. As if we don't have a choice. We don't even REMEMBER what it feels like to have energy or enthusiasm. That makes me want to cry a little bit.
Plus... we have become accustomed to being a little negative when we talk to people about 'how we are doing'... because ultimately we don't want to be seen to brag or be rubbing someone's nose in it if actually... we feel amazing and shiny and bright like a unicorn. So we play it down to keep ourselves on an even keel with others, and not be seen as smug or dare I say it... HAPPY!
And then here is a controversial thought...
Some of us (myself included) have forgotten that we have an influence in the way we feel... that we may have actually chosen to stay in a tired mindset because it is a safer and more comfortable in that space!! (gasp... yes I said it!)
I know.. I know... you may actually want to gauge my eyes out right now for daring to suggest that we have purposefully chosen to feel tired. But hear me out...
I realised recently that I was constantly telling myself that I was exhausted. That I had convinced myself I didn't have enough energy to do the things I wanted to do. The world kept telling me how tired I was and so I believed it and in actual fact... it felt kind of good to be 'let off the hook' of moving forwards because I needed to heal from being burned out... again.
I let myself come under the 'burnout label' because it gave me an excuse not to step up in my yoga teaching, not to put myself out there in a bigger way with my coaching, not to do the writing and things I have been yearning to do... because I was scared.
I was scared of rising up to meet myself.
Before I go on... I am NOT saying that burnout is not real and that people aren't genuinely tired. I am not saying that tiredness is an excuse for everybody and that exhaustion is not real. I know a great many people who suffer from chronic fatigue and other conditions which genuinely do deplete them of all energy at times. Being tired is real.
I am just throwing another possibility into the mix...
I have learned over the past few years just how powerful our mind is, and how we can pretty much believe anything that we choose to believe if we allow ourselves to. This works both ways - it works to help manifest amazing magic in our lives... but it can also keep us small and safe in our comfort zone bubble.
I became so scared of exerting any energy - because I was coming at it from a place of 'I am never going to have enough'... and funnily enough... I felt exhausted. I couldn't get out of bed in the morning and all I wanted to do was to curl up and watch Netflix.
I was at first tired and run down because I had been trying to be superwoman and had been doing things from a place of 'should', but then I just got comfortable in my little nest. In that place I didn't have to do scary things and put myself out there. In that place I could keep myself small and safe.
There are times when we need to rest. There are times when we need to step up. We have to get to know ourselves in order to find this balance. I am very much a work in progress here.
Let me be brutally honest...
You are quite possibly reading this and saying... Lauren - I am genuinely shattered and I need more sleep. In which case - please be gentle and kind to yourself and look at the way you are managing your energy carefully.
You may feel as though you don't have time to look after yourself or rest, but here comes the harsh reality... if you don't... your body will enforce rest in a way that will wipe you out for a lot longer than taking one or two days to charge up the batteries. You quite possibly will resist this for as long as you possibly can - but I am telling you... it WILL catch up.
Believe me... I know!!! You aren't immune to frazzling yourself. And I say this with total love and compassion.
If you are reading this and feel scared about making changes and evolving in your life, and you suspect you may be using tiredness as a comfort blanket... I hear you! But I also want to remind you that you are capable of very brave things and when you step up you may just find that instead of taking away energy - it might just fuel that fire in your belly!
As always please keep the conversation going in the comments below - I would love to know your thoughts and feel free to email me to chat in more detail.
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