Monday, May 9, 2011
Exhausted? What Kind of Tired Are You?
Sometimes people come in to my office and sit down on my couch and tell me how very tired they are. Exhausted, in fact. Most folks these days have busy lives, lots of things on the "To Do" list. Work, family, just the activities of daily living take up time and space and energy. Physical and mental.
But usually when folks tell me that they are exhausted -with a negative connotation - it's a cue to something deeper, something in the emotional or psychic realm. Of course, if you are having trouble sleeping, falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping well, exhaustion has yet another layer to it. But I have found that even when you are sleeping well enough, you can still feel exhausted.
So what gives?
Usually, when we unpack and study exhaustion we may find a few good possibilities:
~Exhaustion can be looked at as a defense - our unconscious mind's way of protecting us from something that we might not want to know - or feel, or might be afraid to know or feel.
~Exhaustion can be looked at as a messenger, nudging us to pay closer attention to our mental and physical health.
~Exhaustion can be a spiritual experience, alerting us to the idea that we may need to slow down and tune into our deeper selves or our spiritual life.
Often, exhaustion is a signal that we are angry, or feeling frustrated, hopeless or resigned about something, or someone. Sometimes it's a way of rebelling against a routine we don't like, but don't think we have a choice about. Sometimes, we may be exhausted because we are busy - on an unconscious level - fighting off a feeling, or trying not to feel it.
It may take some real reflection to discover what kind of tired we are when we feel exhausted.
Yes, maybe we are working long hours, or are busy with life, going through hormonal changes or seasonal allergies, but often, exhaustion has a deeper meaning. We may need to sit quietly, write freely, talk it out with a trusted other, to let the possibilities surface. When they do, we can find relief, renewed energy, and of course, hope.