When you become tired...
There’s only one thing that can be done when you become mentally tired. Rest. Whether it be tired from the unforgiving world, the monotony of everyday life, or
even heavier things like racism, rest is often the remedy. Yet, we negotiate our right to rest time and time again. This often leaves us in a perpetual state of fatigue, or even worse, total burnout. Rest is non-negotiable. When a battery is running low, or finds itself at 0%, it must be charged. Period. The only ounce of exploration involved relates to how we may need to go about getting that rest. Here are a few things to consider when you find yourself mentally tired.
1.) Be honest with yourself
Let’s face it, there are many ways that we lie to ourselves about our condition of fatigue. Unfortunately, it has become a quite comfortable place to be, as human beings can find comfort even in dysfunction. Many things we deem best for us are not always easy to attain, or free of disruption in our lives. There are also many societal judgements towards the idea of taking rest as a means of self-care. However, it is our responsibility to appropriately always tend our mental health. Try standing in front of a mirror, alone, stare into your own eyes and ask yourself “how do you feel...really?”, followed by an honest answer. It may feel uncomfortable or even silly, but honesty is often the first hurdle in addressing the state of your mental health and openly moving forward with real action.
2.) Identify your resources
Stress and anxiety levels go up the moment we feel like our needs exceed our resources. In other words, panic can set in the when we feel like there is nothing that can be done about how we feel or what we need. This feeling is often automatic and something to be recognized and interrupted. When you are rested, proactively take the time to identify "from wince your help come from". There may be various things that can help you when you become tired or feel that you have in fact burned out that you have overlooked and neglected to explore. This may come in the form of seemingly small practices like engaging in regular breathing exercises or a walk around the block. It could also be more complex resources such as support groups that validate your need to rest or meeting with HR to understanding the process involved in taking a leave of absence from your job. Whatever it is, invest in researching where your help will come from when you may need it.
3.) Get creative!
Rest has historically involved a nap or a vacation, but unfortunately these things may not be feasible for you. Remember, rest is about recharging from that which has depleted you, so while completely stopping may be a way for you to recharge, connecting with things that energize you could also be considered rest. This may be in the form of designating your next few Friday afternoons to a FaceTime lunch with friends. It could be engaging with a coloring book at a time when you would usually be overwhelmed with emails. Creativity is essential to identifying what type of rest works best for you. Not to mention, it can be fun, motivating, and FREE.
While mental fatigue is an indication of depleted brain energy, the repercussions of ignoring the need to rest can be catastrophic. This very gradual change can quickly take a turn for the worse when we are faced with a particularly stressful event, so the key to being ready for rest, is getting ready ahead of time. Rest provides us with the ultimate balance for all that we are doing and contributing to. It’s totally OK and expected to become mentally tired. However, it is up to us and us alone to know when we need it, and then take rest.