Bone tired. Drained. Weary. Drooping. Pick a word. It all comes down to the same thing – we are beyond tired.
We have been working crazy hours in stressful conditions. We have been flexible. We have pivoted. We have learned resilience. And it’s still not over. Uncertainty about your future as well as the future in general has raised your stress levels. Even if you are a planner, it is hard to determine which approach will best meet what is an ambiguous tomorrow. What can you do to overcome the constant exhaustion?
If you, your program, and your life outside the library are to survive – and thrive – you need tools to deal with it. In a blog post from the Eblin Group, the author explains What to Do When You Are Feeling Exhausted, offering six steps to take. These are all an important form of self-care to help you get through this next stage.
- Admit to yourself that you are feeling exhausted – Sometimes pushing through is not the right choice. Yes, you say you’re tired, but you keep on going. You are avoiding acknowledging how much the exhaustion is affecting you. Find a friend to whom you can vent. Have a short pity party. Journal. Take a short nap. Do something that admits the exhaustion. It will help alleviate it and maybe help you find the key triggers.
- Get things off your list – Not everything is a priority. What can be postponed, ignored or cancelled? Know what must be done and what must be done now. When you admitted your exhaustion and looked at your life, were there tasks that could be done by someone else – or could be dropped entirely without have a serious effect?
- Change up your input – Sometimes the brain needs different input. There is a monotony that comes with his pandemic life and to break that cycle you need to do something different. Changing input changes thinking which in turn changes action. If you read, try an audio book. If you listen to music, try a podcast. Watch a TED Talk instead of a rerun. And now that spring has come to the Northern Hemisphere, don’t forget the benefits of getting outside.
- Do things that are fun and bring you joy – From the look of social media feeds, people have turned to cooking and baking, either attempting new things or recipes they haven’t made in ages. Others find joy in craft projects. Make sure you’re taking time for the things that make you happy. This could be solitary, like a snuggly blanket, tea and a book or time to call or Zoom with family and friends. Think about what brings you joy and make sure it’s part of your week.
- Pick something that is fast and easy to finish – You’re doing important work, but if your time is all about the work – the work is going to suffer. To balance this, try to find something fun that’s also fast and can be completely quickly. Binge watch a season of The Crown or Schitts Creek. Print some pictures and put them in an album. Find a game to play – solo or in a group – that doesn’t take long to finish. One of the current challenges is that the external stress is never ending. Completing something is energizing.
- Eat, Move, Sleep – Make sure you are maintaining your healthy routines. Watch out for grabbing high sugar snacks for the unhealthy and limited energy boost. With the distruption of routines, you may be sitting more (you don’t even get to walk to a meeting – just a few clicks at the computer and you’re there). Sitting too long is dangerous to your health. Find ways to add movement to your day. And, of course, one of the reasons we’re exhausted is that stress has impacted our ability to get a good night sleep. Just as you did or do with children, develop a bedtime routine that allows you so slowly unwind and be ready to sink into sleep.
I’ve included the graphic from the article to help you remember. Copy it to your phone gallery if you think it will help.
Exhaustion is quickly becoming a secondary health crisis. Ignoring exhaustion only makes it worse. Acknowledge what happening and how you’re feeling, and then do what you can to take steps to help yourself so you won’t feel as though you are slogging through mud. Following this advice won’t stave off exhaustion completely, but it will lessen it and give you some steps to take when it creeps up.