Lately, my schedule has been stretched thin, and there have been moments when I’ve sensed an overwhelming amount of stress.
To be honest, there have also been numerous moments of joy and gratitude, and I do recognize how fortunate I am to be able to engage in so many activities. Nonetheless, life has carried a weight of pressure lately, and despite achieving small victories, there have been stretches of time when I’ve felt utterly exhausted and demoralized.
If you’re facing challenges either in your personal or professional life and experiencing a sense of depletion, you might find value in the following insights:
Focus Only on Your Priorities
During challenging times, it’s crucial to differentiate between what truly matters and what doesn’t. Focusing too much on non-essential matters drains our energy, leaving little for the important aspects that require attention.
I recall a surgery I had during which I felt compelled to maintain order around me, despite needing rest for proper healing. This need for control led me to agonize over the placement of a pair of shoes by the door.
In my vulnerable state, I even struggled to put them away, causing unnecessary discomfort. My mother’s observation snapped me out of this behavior.
Now, I use that memory to guide me when facing physical or emotional struggles. I question whether certain tasks truly need immediate attention or if I can delegate them.
Can chores wait? Can I seek assistance for some responsibilities? Do I have to respond to every email instantly? Can I simplify my routine?
I’ve learned that scaling back isn’t failure; it’s prioritizing wisely. As a Type A personality, it can be challenging, yet essential, to allocate energy where it’s most needed. Neglecting this can lead to burnout or emotional breakdowns, setting us even further behind.
Learn to Take Things Easy at Times
Many of us tend to downplay our physical and emotional needs due to self-judgment. We might believe we should accomplish more, comparing ourselves to others or holding high expectations.
However, criticizing yourself for feeling tired doesn’t magically boost your energy. Berating yourself for requiring a break doesn’t enhance your productivity. Diminishing your emotions doesn’t instantaneously change them.
When exhausted, rest is essential. If drained, taking a break is necessary. When in pain, self-compassion is vital. Positive change won’t come until you provide yourself with what you truly need.
While we might not always have the freedom to fully tend to ourselves, we can create small moments for self-care by easing self-imposed pressure and addressing our needs. Sometimes, simple actions can yield significant improvements.
It’s tempting to push forward, especially if it’s been our habit. Yet, there are days when progress isn’t the focus. Some days are meant for acknowledging our current state and giving ourselves the care we deserve.
Don’t Compare Your Struggles to Others
Over a year ago, a close friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer. We’re the same age and I’ve always admired her, although our interactions had mostly been limited to social media in recent times.
She’s been unafraid to leave unfulfilling jobs, despite financial risks. She’s walked away from relationships that didn’t serve her, even when engaged – choices that required courage. She’s taken more than 100 skydives, each jump symbolizing the fearless spirit guiding her bold life decisions.
In the face of cancer, she’s demonstrated the same bravery I’ve come to expect, along with a raw honesty about her fears that magnifies her strength. Nevertheless, I recognize the immense challenges she’s faced.
As I sit in my own fortunate circumstances, I often chastise myself for struggling. Compared to her journey, my experiences seem trivial. I tell myself to toughen up during tough days, pushing through discomfort and fatigue because I’m lucky.
But the truth is, I still face difficult days, contending with various fears and physical symptoms that deserve my empathy.
I’m not attempting to equate my challenges with her devastating year – the comparison is invalid. However, the essence is that I don’t need to. I’m allowed to acknowledge my feelings and difficulties, even if others are enduring more tragic circumstances. The same goes for you.
So, whenever you find yourself struggling, embrace it completely. Embrace it with acceptance and openness. Only by acknowledging the lows can we navigate through them and reach the highs.
No matter the challenges you’re facing, I hope for you the same: self-compassion to ease your suffering, the freedom to do what’s feasible, and the opportunity to prioritize your well-being.