You can’t keep your eyes open as you sit at your desk. You have a mountain of tasks, and massive expectations, which can basically be summed up as: do more, and more, and more than that.
Your body is sore and tense. If you pause, which you rarely do, you’d notice the ache in your neck and in your right hip. You’d notice the pain in your feet and the heaviness of your head. But you feel disconnected from your body. You feel disconnected from your signals, and sometimes it’s tough to tell if you’re hungry or tired or stressed out. Maybe all three.
You have a hard time focusing on the task at hand.
Your brain feels barren.
You are easily overwhelmed, and everything feels like an obstacle or like a 50 lb. plate on your chest.
You’re exhausted. But you can’t fall asleep, like a toddler who’s skipped a nap and can’t settle down.
You’re so used to pushing and pushing. One more task. One more activity. It’s never, ever just good enough.
You’re running yourself ragged. You usually do. And you feel like you can’t stop.
But maybe you can create tiny pauses. Maybe you can practice a five-minute guided meditation, a kind of massage for your mind. Maybe you can go to bed 30 minutes earlier. Maybe you can leave the phone out of the bedroom or away from your bed.
Maybe you can build in a 10- or 20-minute morning or bedtime routine that nourishes you mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, which serves as a sacred part of your day. Maybe you can rethink your to-do list, and realize that there’s one thing or a few things you can delegate or delete.
Maybe you can make a list of small but significant activities or actions that nurture your soul—burning your favorite candle, reading Scripture, journaling for a few minutes, drawing, sipping a cup of tea in silence, or writing haiku. Maybe you can do one tiny activity tonight or tomorrow.
It’s so hard not to run ourselves ragged. It’s so hard to stop when there’s so much to do.
But what happens when our bodies break down and we need days to recover? What happens when we’re too exhausted to savor yet another sweet moment? What happens when we feel empty or when our minds start revolting, searching for solace in places like social media—which only spike and deepen our fatigue?
Consider identifying the early warning signs that you’re running yourself ragged, when you start to disconnect from yourself, your hunger and satiety cues, your emotions, when you start to neglect your needs, when you start spending too many hours in front of your computer.
And then try to intervene.
Give yourself permission to slow down, to check in with yourself, to pause and rest and re-evaluate. Or better yet, incorporate regular pauses into your daily routine, pauses that you can count on to soothe and rejuvenate you.
Remind yourself that you are essentially a parent caring for their child. What kind of parent do you want to be? How do you want to be taken care of?