• Sandy Reynolds

What if you aren't tired?

I slept in today. I didn't get up to around 6:45 am. I'm usually up much earlier. Last night I sent a text to my walking partner and told her I needed a day off. I felt tired. I was dragging myself around all afternoon and evening.

Several years ago, someone pointed out to me that I often say, "I'm tired." It was something I wasn't aware I did. I was surprised by his observation. When I reflected on his comment, I realized I needed to be more specific about what I felt rather than use the word tired. He was right! Using the word tired can be a catch-all for a variety of feelings. It's like saying something is 'interesting.' It's another word that fails to give any real insight into what we think or feel about something.

So, I caught myself using the word tired last night, and I did some reflecting. Am I really tired? What do I mean? I am tired of being in a lockdown. I am tired of all the daily sacrifices and adjustments that we all need to make right now. I am tired of hearing the same stories repeated ad nauseam on the news (vaccine rollouts, vaccine shortages, death counts, testing completed, etc.).

So yes, I am tired. Tired can be used to describe being bored with something or fatigue. And I think it is a good word for how I feel. And I am tired of being tired.

I know I'm not the only one. I am focusing on resilience in my life right now. And so I've been thinking about how this boredom and fatigue can impact my ability to bounce back during this season. I decided to dig a little deeper into what I am really thinking and feeling right now. What you think about a situation has a big impact on how you feel.

Here's what is working for me, and I suggest your try it and let me know if it helps you.

1. Pay attention to the words you use.

When I catch myself saying I am tired, I am challenging myself to be more specific. What exactly am I tired of? When I said, "I am tired," last night, what exactly did I mean? Was I bored? Was I physically tired? Is there a better word to describe what I was feeling? In my case, I was physically tired last night. What I needed to explore was why I don't think I should feel tired! It's okay to be legitimately fatigued. How can you be more specific in describing how you feel right now?

2. Explore the 'why' behind the feeling.

I had been able to spend a good chunk of time the last three days outside enjoying the sunshine, hiking and playing in a park. I had gone on some long walks. I even did a cold water foot plunge!

I also had a couple of zoom calls with friends and have been to a few appointments. My schedule had been full, and I had been up around 5:30 am several mornings in a row. I don't know why I think there is something wrong with me when I am physically tired! I find Zoom calls less than ideal. Taking some time to reflect on why you feel the way you do can help validate your feelings. A side benefit for me was that it released many feelings of gratitude for how good life is even in the midst of this pandemic. Are you being critical of feeling the way you do?

3. Decide if there is an action that will help right now and take it.

I chose to sleep in today. I decided to start today slowly. I'm sending this newsletter later. Earlier this week, when I planned my week, I decided to include a few things that make me feel good. I bought fresh cut tulips for my desk, and I think that might become a weekly investment in myself right now. What can you do right now to take care of yourself?

Warning: Sometimes taking care of yourself means you need to disappoint someone else. I'm going to remind you that your job is to do what you need to do to ensure your wellbeing first. Put your oxygen mask on before you help someone else with their mask.

These are unusual times we are living in. It takes a lot of energy to be present in these new ways we are living. Lots of things require more effort than we are used to extending. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings and take action to help build your resilience. You can start with flowers.

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