If You're Exhausted, Read This
That's the official word on the streets.
Have you read this upsetting,yet comforting article about the mid-life crisis that the women of Generation X are currently having?
It turns out there's a whole lot of us who are overwhelmed, exhausted, and feeling like failures (we're also fantasizing about food trucks).
"In midlife, what I see in my Gen X patients is total exhaustion. That's what brings them to treatment. They feel guilty for complaining because it's wonderful to have had choices that our mothers didn't have, but choices don't make life easier. Possibilities create pressure." - Deborah Luepnitz, PhD
You didn't think you were the only one feeling this way, did you?
This is one thing I know for sure: You're NEVER the only one struggling with anything.
It's so important that we know that. Whatever we're dealing with, our shit is real and not nearly as weird as we think it is.
When we see ourselves reflected in articles like this one or in the comments and conversations we have with friends and colleagues, the relief is intense.
Having our struggles and shadowy bits acknowledged and validated restores a slice of our sanity and re-energizes us.
I felt that way when I first learned about compassion fatigue. I was so exhausted for so long that I thought something was wrong me. Then I found out that being bone-deep tired is a symptom of compassion fatigue. I was having a normal response to working in an animal shelter.
With my experiences validated, I stopped wasting energy feeling lame and redirected it to compassionately helping myself heal.
This "You too?!" recognition happens in my online classes pretty much every week. The relief is palpable. It makes us want to hug strangers.
We all feel so alone. We're not.
Lots of us are exhausted.
We're clawing our way through a labyrinth of mid-life perimenopausal choose-your-own-career-adventures. We're overloaded as the caregivers of suffering animals. We're burning up inside worrying that we're not good enough or normal (whatever that is).
Maybe it's all of those things at once.
Then we add an unnecessary layer of suffering-flavored icing onto the exhaustion layer cake because we think we're the only ones struggling.
Let's pinkie swear not to do that to ourselves anymore, ok?
If you're tired, overwhelmed, and maybe having your very own mid-life crisis, I wanted to share 3 things that might help:
1. Practical: Try this 2 minute rule to help you tackle stuff, so that your to-do list doesn't swallow you whole one day.
2. Fun: Sarah Knight's TED Talk: The Magic of Not Giving a F*** will help you clear the decks.Thanks to Amber, a CiB gang-member, for sharing this with our group!
3. Spirit: Read the blessing below twice. Feel for the lines that speak loudest to you right now. They're yours for the taking.
For One Who Is Exhausted, a Blessing
by John O'Donohue
When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight.
The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.
Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.
The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.
You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days.
At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.
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