This is a beautiful afternoon. I really want to go on a hike. There’s a full list of things I want to accomplish in my business. I have big plans to conquer the week ahead.
It may be something I ate at lunch.
I may be fighting off a bug because there are approximately one gagillion germs going around right now.
It may be a lot of things.
But the bottom line is I don’t feel like working. I don’t feel like focusing on much of anything. I don’t feel like doing what I had teed up to accomplish this afternoon.
Quite frankly I’m not ok with any of that.
I’m thinking thoughts like, “My husband works his tail off and I should, too” and “I’m sick of being tired. I shouldn’t feel like this.”
My thoughts about being tired are culminating in the go-to, beat-myself-up idea that “I’m not enough.”
“Not enough” is the way a lot of professionals living with an autoimmune disorder feel when they want to get things done.
Not enough energy, not fast enough, not taking on enough.
They have so many things they want to dig into and are excited to do. The world is their oyster and they want to go out and get it. But sometimes they’re instead greeted by feeling tired, unfocused and afraid those feelings won’t ever end.
Two little steps.
Quite often people will tell me they feel like they need to push twice as hard to get a “normal amount” of work done. Or that they get tired and feel like they have no choice but to push through feeling tired and deliver anyway.
What I teach them are the two little steps I did this afternoon that allowed me to both honor what my body was telling me and still be productive.
These two steps work. They help you feel much better- mentally and physically. And they help you get things done. (Which is usually why we beat ourselves up for being tired.)
First: Don’t resist the tired.
15 minutes ago, I sat on the couch in my office with some hot tea. I had a blanket over my lap and wrote in my journal. The lights were out and nothing else was on.
Cozy, loving, listening to myself.
I allowed myself to feel tired. I leaned into it and fully let my body feel however it wanted to feel.
The fear for some people is that they’ll “give in” and never stop feeling tired. But the irony is that, when you stop resisting the fear that you’ll be tired forever and let yourself fully feel it, feeling tired passes more quickly than you expect.
Caveat: I’ve done this practice for a long time and it hasn’t always been on a couch with tea. Sometimes it’s in my car, at my desk or even in a bathroom stall. Anywhere that you can sit, relax, and give yourself a few minutes is perfect.
Second: Don’t judge yourself.
While I sat there on my couch with my tea and blanket, I didn’t indulge in wondering why I felt this way. I didn’t let myself think of all the reasons I shouldn’t feel this way. I never believed that feeling tired would never end. Whether or not it would ever end didn’t cross my mind. I simply sat there, allowing myself to feel tired.
This is the key to truly resting.
Before I knew it, I wrote this article. I looked at what I wrote in my journal and realized I needed to make these thoughts public because I know so many of you feel this way, too. And there it is- allowing the tired and not judging why I feel this way led me to very quickly get something done.
You may be thinking, “Yeah, but this happens to me a lot. I can’t just give in every time.”
When you’re tired, how often do you push yourself and ignore what your body is trying to tell you? How much do you worry and fret, and allow yourself to believe feeling tired will never end?
When you’re worried and pushing yourself, you’re using lots of energy. The energy your body is telling you it doesn’t have.
When you allow yourself to truly rest and listen to your body, you release all of that frantic energy and then recover. Often sooner than expected.
Next time you want to just lay down and think you should be working instead, give these two steps a try. I want to hear how they work for you.
Let me know in the comments what you find when you allow tired instead of fighting it.