Everyone Else is Exhausted, So You Should Be, Too.
I don’t know about you, but lately I have been burning the candle at both ends … actually, the remaining wick is un-lightable and all that’s left is a puddle of burnt wax. I know, I know. Me, the coach/counselor/healer lady who’s supposed to have all her shit together and be completely and perfectly balanced, right?!
C’mon now. I’m not a robot.
I’m a human.
As are you.
And what comes with being human is an endless experience of lessons and growth and we can’t grow or learn if things are just perfect and peachy all the time now can we?
This tends to be an ongoing lesson for me. I find my balance, find my flow. Get into the rhythms of saying “no, not for me,” and then I get sucked into the “everyone needs my help” tornado. It all happens at once: a mix of friends, family, colleagues, and clients are all in an emergency or have a big something going on where they seek my guidance or assistance and I feel this obligation to help them all. And it all goes down at the same time as I have some major life or career events happening. I try preparing for that, while balancing helping others without a break (including weekends!) for a bunch of weeks. Then BOOM – illness hits. Now I’m sick, while simultaneously juggling all of this and keep saying to myself, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming” (thank you, Dory the fish), “just a few more weeks…days….and then you’ll be able to sleep!” And then I get through the hurdle and BANG – the second bout of illness comes, usually in the form of a fever and muscle aches and exhaustion, or period cramps so bad that I am vomiting and can’t get up for an entire day. A few days pass, the head fog clears, and I’m back to feeling like I can take on the world. Only each time, it’s as if a little piece of me gets left behind in the whirlwind and I have to make time to truly reconnect to myself and get back into balance. Because while laying sick is technically resting, our mind and body is so focused on getting well from the present illness that that centering and realignment doesn’t actually take place.
Does this sound familiar to you?
I think we have all been there at some point. For some, it may be a rare occurrence, for others a constant. For me, it’s one of my biggest life lessons in recognizing my plate is getting too full before my pants button pops off.
What’s so interesting to me is that when I have vocalized my need for rest in the past, I have received a slew of responses. Some are super supportive. But one that I hear more often than expected is, “well Brittany, we are all burned out.” Or “welcome to adulting!”
When I first was told this, I was taken aback. I felt my confidence in my ability to handle the world deflate. Is this really life? Is this what happens? We just take on too much, get sick, feel exhausted, completely disconnected, rinse and repeat until we die? I just can’t hack it! How am I EVER supposed to thrive?
I’m watching all these people around me who are just surviving while being burned out and I’m thinking, “how come they aren’t caving? How come they aren’t struggling? How is it that I’m doing this so wrong?”
And after the millionth time of hearing that, the truth finally became clear.
And the truth is ….
Fuck. That. Shit.
“Everyone is burned out, Brittany.”
TRANSLATION: Everyone is burned out and everyone is choosing not to do anything about it, so what gives you the right to, Brittany?
Me. I give myself that right to.
Just because others aren’t choosing to do something about being exhausted doesn’t mean I have to. And it doesn’t mean you have to either.
“Everyone else is burned out” is just an excuse to not make that time for ourselves and to get the rest we need. Because it is a CHOICE.
Sure, you may have kids. Sure, you may have a demanding job. Sure, it’s the holidays. Sure, (insert every other reasons known to man here).
Most of those things are ALSO choices. But more important than that, where there is a will, there is a way. No one said making that choice would be EASY. And shoot, maybe it isn’t free either (babysitters, time off without pay, etc.) But those choices are still there. Because there is always a choice.
I refuse to let others guilt me into not taking time for myself just because they aren’t. And I write this to you because we all have that power and ability.
If someone is angry or upset that you are working to feel well, that's a them problem, not a you problem.
I mean I get it. For freakin centuries mental health was not on the priority list in society, and people are still caught up in the old traditional ways of living. But it's a new freakin' dawn my friends. And it has been proven over and over and over and over again that our mental health matters, but it's sadly still a point in time where all the resources aren't abundantly available nor is it the norm to treat our wellness and exhaustion the same as we would the flu. I bet if you had the flu, friends and family would be begging you to stay away from them. But because it's "something everyone has" and it isn't "catchable" (psh, those people must not be empaths, am I right?) they expect you to rally.
I write this to you also because the holidays are coming up, and for some of us those are our only days off for awhile. Or it’s a time where we won't be bothered by the outside world because everyone else is out and about with their families and don’t need help with anything. Or you know what? The reason doesn’t matter. Because YOUR needs are YOUR needs despite what the reason is. And you have every right to take the time you need to NOT feel burned out. You have the power to choose whether or not others opinions about that decision effects you.
Life isn’t about being so busy that you feel like shit all the time. That isn’t life! That’s a merry go round of hell. And I ain’t down for that ride.
Just because most of society has been and continues to live by a certain type of way does not make it right. Maybe it works for SOME. But life is not one size fits all. So You. Do. You.
No one else is going to live your life for you. That time to rest is not going to be taken by anyone else but you and if we continue to live by how everyone else is choosing to live we can expect to feel this way forever.
So today (and every day) I hope you remind yourself of your power to choose and your power to do what works for YOU to feel and live your best, despite how others may try to make you feel.
Wishing you an amazing (and well rested) rest of your day!