This may be a way to understand exhaustion that actually makes a difference.
Sleep deprivation, or exhaustion, is an epidemic we’re all familiar with. We subconsciously (if not consciously) celebrate it as an achievement, as if being overly scheduled somehow conveys just how valuable we are.
The speed at which things are happening and the need to keep up are running us all ragged. But is it really the stuff out there – people, life, things, process, timing, and circumstances – that’s wearing us out?
I’ve always been super interested in why certain friends of mine can’t function under 9 hours of sleep and others are continually making magic on 4. Since reflecting on exhaustion and what contributes to mine, I’m thinking there’s more to the equation than the simple input of quality sleep. There are periods when I’m intensely engaged and scheduled to the brim with endless energy despite little sleep, and periods when I feel exhausted though I’m consistently getting lots of good sleep.
It’s a curious thing.
Now, in no way is this backed by scientific research but here’s what I think:
Think about it this way: if you were to hold a five or ten pound weight in your hand all day your arm would get tired. There is only so much resistance your bicep can take before it gives. At the end of the day there wouldn’t be much that arm would be willing or able to do.
Well, what makes holding that weight any different than the sort of resistance we’re creating for ourselves daily?
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I often talk about resistance. The single source of stress (and I don’t use the term “stress” lightly here) is just ONE thing:
Resistance isn’t just your blatant defiance of say, commuter traffic, or your two-year-old’s refusal to eat her spinach. It’s way more subtle, and unfortunately pervasive, than that.
Just ask yourself what you’re pushing against that’s causing any negativity. From confusion to apathy – all the way to revenge to depression – what in your “now” experience are you overtly or subtly resisting?
All that stuff adds up. The more you push against what-is, the heavier that weight you’re carrying. There’s only so much you can endure before something has to give. Check out what your emotional reality has been lately and correlate it with your exhaustion. What are you pushing against unnecessarily that if dropped could make all the difference in your energy levels (and peace and happiness!)?
Exhaustion: maybe there’s more to it than our crazy packed schedules and minimal sleep.
How much are you resisting day-to-day? Do you hold judgements of self and others that can be dropped? What annoyances and frustrations can you let go of? Can you align to the idea that there really is no way things should be? What relief and energy(!) would be gained?
Leave me a comment and tell me how thinking about exhaustion in this way would or wouldn’t make a difference for you. Would love to hear your thoughts!
With love (and no resistance:),
Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in Sacramento and the Greater Bay Area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.