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Last Updated on August 12, 2021

4 Things to Do When You Feel Burned Out And Tired of Life

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4 Things to Do When You Feel Burned Out And Tired of Life

I get it, life can be tiring at times. It seems we live in a society that glorifies being busy and normalizes being overworked, overwhelmed, and burned out!

As a former social worker and psychotherapist, it’s very easy to get caught up in the mundane day-to-day operations of personal and professional duties or obligations. It is super easy to become overly exhausted by our daily duties.

As an empath or helping professional, it’s also very easy to feel compassion fatigue which can also lead to burning out quicker. Burn-out whether at home or work is avoidable if you’re willing to prioritize some self-care, self-love, and self-maintenance. If you’re feeling tired of life, overworked, or overwhelmed here are 4 simple things you can do today!

1. Re-evaluate Your Calendar And Quit Comparing

Being quoted as “booked, busy, and blessed” has become quite the trend. When I work with my healing coaching clients, it’s often difficult for them to recognize when they are overworking themselves. It’s as if any blank time or “free time” on their calendar or schedule MUST be filled or else they feel inadequate, lazy, or under-productive.

I often tell my clients to re-evaluate their schedules. What I realize, from a psychological standpoint, is that there is a level of comparison that occurs for them. They tend to feel as if they are quoted, “keeping up with the Jones” by keeping a generally often filled calendar. They often fear a sense of judgment, shame, blame, or guilt if their calendar isn’t as filled as their neighbors, colleagues, relatives, or friends. Additionally, they feel a sense of unworthiness if they are not meeting the perceived expectations of those around them.

I often tell them to get out of their own heads and get back into what their bodies need. Remember, just like what we think of others is none of other’s business, it’s also none of our business what others think of us!

Letting go of cognitive distortions that show up such as mind-reading what others think of us can be a huge help in re-evaluating their calendars and schedules. Additionally, remembering the quote, “comparison is the thief of joy”, can also support you. Understand that it really doesn’t matter what so and so is doing versus what YOU need to do for YOU! Take a hard look at your calendar and re-evaluate what things are necessary. Reassess your wants versus needs.

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I tell my clients (and myself) “you can’t try to put a buffet on a little tapas plate, right? So, why overload your schedule for the purposes of filling in gaps in your schedule with unnecessary tasks, events, and perceived obligations that you seriously don’t need on your plate?” This is literally, self-induced burnout and it will manifest in not only the mental and emotional bodies but also the physical bodies as physical conditions or ailments and cause psychosomatic symptoms when you get too overwhelmed and overworked.

After you’re done reading this, be sure to go re-evaluate your schedule, and most importantly, quit comparing!

2. Set Boundaries And Say No

Part of being able to re-evaluate your calendar means being able to assess your boundary-setting skills. Remember that sometimes, we have to, “say no to good things so we can say yes to greater things.”

When we have difficulty saying no, our schedule gets overfilled with things that are truthfully unnecessary, don’t serve us, are not mutually beneficial, and are things we genuinely don’t want to do.

Releasing any guilt, shame, blame, and /or judgment that shows up from saying “no” and keeping boundaries is key. A coach like myself can help you work and sort through this or you can use what I call “mindful mantras” or positive affirmations such as, “I know my heart and I know my intentions”, to help support and/or release any guilt associated with saying “no” especially with loved ones.

Remember that while setting boundaries is key, it’s also just as important (if not more important) to reinforce your “no” and the boundaries you set- each and every time.

Unfortunately, some people will try to take an arm when we lend our one hand, so it’s very crucial to reiterate your boundaries and keep saying no every single time!

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We truly do teach people how to treat us. If you’re setting boundaries and not reinforcing them or going against your own word, you are literally teaching people that your word is not your bond. It’s similar to seeing the kid in the grocery store with the parent who sets boundaries stating they are not going to get any candy near the check out line, then the kid has a tantrum, and out of fear of judgment from others or guilt, the caregiver gives in and goes against the boundary they initially set. That caregiver just taught that child that when they say “no” there are loopholes. This kid now learns that “no” doesn’t really mean no.

Remember, the only people who become upset about the boundaries you set or when you say no are the people who directly benefit from you not having a boundary in the first place! Setting boundaries and being able to practice saying no is going to be crucial in avoiding burnout in life: whether at work or at home.

3. Schedule Self-Care, Self-Love And Self-Maintenance

When we are overwhelmed, overworked, and on the verge of burning out, we need to stop and not only re-assess what we are putting on our schedule. Also, stop and assess how much self-care, self-love, and self-maintenance we actually have carved into our routine.

If you have ever been on airplanes, the flight attendants always advise you to put on your oxygen mask, in case of an emergency, before you help someone else with theirs. I tell this to my clients and remind them they can’t pour from empty cups.

With that said, what do you actually have on your schedule that is in fact filling up your cup and serving you before you serve others? Do you have a morning routine or a night routine dedicated to you? What are you doing daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly to tailor to self-care, self-love, and self-maintenance? You can’t just schedule a nail salon or hair appointment and think that alone is self-care — that’s actually self-maintenance of the physical vessel.

What are you doing to self-care for all 4 bodies: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically? Self-care can be choosing to take a mental health day or spiritual health day and take yourself to the beach; while self-maintenance can be scheduling a manicure or a pedicure; and self-love could be scheduling time to be compassionate with yourself, practice positive affirmation, scheduling a good shower cry, or a yoga session for yourself where you literally hug and kiss yourself in the last pose-savasana.

I usually challenge my clients to look at their calendars seasonally and book self-care, self-love, and self-maintenance in advance throughout the year while also scheduling days where you literally do nothing.

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The “do nothing” days have to be treated like appointments. If your boss asks you to take on another project that requires off-work hours, or if a friend invites you last minute to and event, you really have to say no because on your calendar, you made a commitment to yourself to do nothing. You must treat that appointment like a literal obligation you can’t miss or flak out on.

While you’re taking a look at your schedule, be sure to not only carve in self-care, self-love, or self-maintenance; but in addition to this, be sure to carve out “do nothing” days. This will help to alleviate some burnout and the long-term effects such as exacerbations of mental health including depression, anxiety, or relying on substances to cope.

4. Sensory Deprivation

In today’s society, we are on sensory overload.[1] We sit with devices on all day long. We overconsume things via our sight and sound.

When we are feeling overwhelmed or burned out, somatic work,[2] emotion regulation, and distress tolerance techniques such as mindfulness-based stressed reduction practices, breathwork, social media and digital detoxes, and literal derivation of the senses can be very helpful to calm the onset of burn-out.

Sensory Deprivation Tank Therapy

Over the years, there has been an increase in wellness studios with sensory deprivation services such as float therapy tanks that can help to support stress relief. Float tank therapy[3] is a small tank or open pool of water with Epsom salt, which is also known to having healing properties and health benefits. The Epsom salt in the water creates buoyancy, so no worries about sinking. The idea is to place the body in sensory deprivation mode while floating in the water.

Some sensory deprivation or float tanks offer blue led lighting, soothing sounds, and dim lighting to help support the decrease of external stimuli versus full sensory deprivation. The goal is to be able to ween off the use of the over compounded senses such as the 5 senses of feeling/touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight. While decreasing sight and sound is optional, it is very beneficial for the body to alleviate or decrease external stimuli.

Grounding Sensory Deprivation Technique

If you’re not open to trying float tank therapy, grounding sensory deprivation technique is another technique I would recommend in times of overwhelming feelings related to burn-out.

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Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sit quietly.
  2. Ground down the 4 corners of your feet into mother earth or the floor beneath you.
  3. Take some slow deep breaths.
  4. Place one hand to heart and one hand to belly, and breathe. As you inhale and exhale, notice your natural normal breath and the rhythm of the rise and fall of your belly and your chest.
  5. Tune into the present moment by inviting your energy to be here and now. Invite your energy and thoughts to be here and away from what you have to do after this and away from what you were doing before this.
  6. Scan your 5 senses. What do you hear, smell, see, taste, and how do you feel?
  7. Now take the palms of your hands and slowly and place them over your ears to decrease the use of the sense of hearing audibly while still focusing on your breath.
  8. Allow yourself to sit here for a few slow breaths.
  9. Now, take the palms of your hands and gently put them over your eyes without apply pressure to the eyelids, and allow your eyes the chance to pause and rest as you sit here for a few moments.
  10. Continue to notice the rise and fall of your belly and chest with each inhale and exhale.

Do this as many times as you need to throughout the day. If you feel comfortable try this activity in a quiet dark safe space for a few breaths or minutes. Feel free to set a timer.

Final Thoughts

If you’re truly feeling tired of life, I highly recommend consulting with your primary care doctor and/or seeking support from a mental health professional to help you navigate life.

As always, I am here and here!

Namaste.

Featured photo credit: whoislimos via unsplash.com

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Iris Mendez

I help women co-facilitate healing in the 4 bodies, stop limiting beliefs, root down + rise through breath, body, and energy coaching!

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Last Updated on September 16, 2021

The Real Reason Why You Feel Exhausted (No Matter How Much You Sleep)

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The Real Reason Why You Feel Exhausted (No Matter How Much You Sleep)

I love my sleep. I always make sure to get at least eight hours each night. I’ll even leave parties early so I can get to bed at my usual time Yet, there are still mornings when I wake up feeling exhausted, even after a great night’s sleep. Whenever that happens, I run through a mental checklist, grasping at straws to explain to myself why I feel so groggy: why do I feel exhausted? Did I drink too much last night? Did I stay up past my usual bedtime? Did I hit snooze on my alarm twelve times? Eight hours of sleep a night shouldn’t result in chronic exhaustion, right?

Regardless of how much quality sleep you’re getting, you can still feel mentally exhausted, burnt out, run-down, worn through—whatever you want to call it. Most of the time, you’re so exhausted you don’t even have the time or the sense to see it clearly.

The answer is right in front of your face, but you haven’t had a chance to step back and analyze your situation. Maybe you hate your job, or you’re worried about paying rent, but you’re not actively thinking about it. How could you with all that’s going on? It’s planted in your subconscious, lurking there and eating away at your morale.

That worn-down feeling is a cumulative combination of unconsidered stressful circumstances—an amalgamation of past worries and future anxieties. We aren’t talking about your regular physical exhaustion from a long day’s work standing on your feet. This is purely in between your ears. You’re overstimulated, and it’s dragging you down. But what’s the real reason behind this brain fog? Why do you feel exhausted?

The first place to look at is stress,[1] which is the body’s natural response to a new challenge or demand. Where are you currently experiencing stress in your life?

Most pain, exhaustion, or emotional fatigue is the direct result of stress. Daily life is filled with tiny stressors—running to catch the morning bus, praying you’ll find a parking spot, or worrying about the leak in your ceiling at home. As these small stressors pile on uncontrollably, you realize you’re white-knuckling through the day.

Mental exhaustion,[2] simply put, is long-term stress. It’s having a day like the above over and over again for months on end until it weighs so much it finally drags you to the ground. You can’t keep living like this.

You may have experienced this in the form of a “mid-life crisis,” or even a quarter-life crisis where you stop and realize you never pursued the things you once hoped and dreamed of. Life passed you by in the blink of an eye. What happened to the “purpose” you once wanted to get out of life? Maybe you wanted to be an artist and all of a sudden, you look down and you’re forty-three years old sitting in a conference room surrounded by suits and boring charts.

You’re faking your way through life and you’re tired of putting on an act.

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Why Do You Feel Exhausted?

“Depression, anxiety, phobias… so many things can be disguised in a way that gives a facade of normalcy over a person’s internal struggles.” —Morgan Housel

There are many reasons why you may be feeling exhausted. There may be times when you had complete hours of sleep yet ask yourself after waking up: why do I still feel exhausted?

Why? It’s because there are other possible reasons for this exhaustion other than improper or lack of sleep. Here are some reasons why you feel exhausted.

1. High-Pressure Occupation (emergency responders and teachers)

Working in a highly stressful scene like an ER or police department is an obvious input for stress. Long hours on the job and making high-level decisions in crisis mode need to be followed by a period of rest, relaxation, and debriefing.

2. Working Long Hours

Consistently clocking in 12-14 hour days for weeks on end can drag you down. Many occupations require this type of work seasonally, like accountants during tax season. But when you’re spending that much time at week year-round and there is no end in sight, mental exhaustion can become chronic.

3. Financial Stress

For obvious reasons, being in troubled circumstances with your finances can cause long-term stress and constant worries, which lead to feeling exhausted. How can you enjoy life if you can’t afford to do the things you enjoy? No matter how much you sleep, you will still feel exhausted if something is troubling you at the back of your mind like financial problems.

4. Dissatisfied With Your Job

When you ask yourself, “why do I feel exhausted?” Try also asking, “Am I satisfied with my job?”

Many people slog through life in a job they hate. Whether it’s your unruly boss, the team that you work with, or the customers who you’re sick of hearing complaining, being stuck in a dissatisfying job can cause feelings of resentment in work and your personal life.

5. Clutter

Whether you’re naturally a messy person or life has become so frantic that you haven’t even had a chance to clean or organize, clutter plays a massive part in mental exhaustion. Having a clear workspace and a calm environment to walk into makes a difference in mental clarity. This can also affect your productivity and your attitude towards your job.

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6. Avoidance and Procrastination

When you feel exhausted, it may be because something at the back of your head is troubling you. You may have some responsibilities that you should be doing or have done but still have not. Putting things off too long will cause hidden stress to climb on top of you like a monkey on your back. Avoiding your responsibilities and procrastinating are some of the possible causes as to why you feel exhausted.

7. Living With Chronic Pain or an Illness

Going through life with stress is hard enough. Add on top of that something like chronic back pain or a congenital condition and it’s like taking care of two separate people for yourself. This can also cause feelings of resentment, bitterness, and irritation around people you love, even those who support and take care of you.

8. Death of a Loved One

Losing a close friend or family member is something everyone has experienced, and it never gets easier. Many people try to play tough and portray to their loved ones that they are okay and dealing with it just fine. But the reality is that it’s weighing them down.

Be honest with yourself about it, and have someone you can talk to. Experiencing your grief alone and not sharing it with anyone may be the reason why you feel exhausted.

9. Lack of Purpose

Life needs to have a purpose. Every individual has a purpose that is entirely unique to their circumstance. It can be guided by religion, occupation, or an ultimate life goal to strive towards, such as writing a book or owning a business. Without an ultimate purpose, it’s easy to let yourself slip into a depression that leads to mental exhaustion.

What Should You Do When You Feel Exhausted?

“When you’re struggling with something, look at all the people around you and realize that every single person you see is struggling with something, and to them, it’s just as hard as what you’re going through.” —Nicholas Sparks

1. Talk About It

It may sound obvious, but talking through these struggles with someone is a form of therapy in itself. Chances are, someone has been through the same type of thing that you’re going through right now. Don’t hide it. Open up and learn how others dealt with it. It’s more common than you think.

2. Find an Outlet or a Hobby

One way to help find joy out of a life of exhaustion is to come home to a hobby. Unwind from the workday by doing something you love that’s also a bit challenging. Learn how to play guitar, play video games with your kids, read a book, or learn new recipes to cook for your family. Take your mind away from whatever it is you’re worried about. Focus entirely on the process and get out of your anxiety.

3. Be Realistic

You can’t do everything. Look at your schedule, and be honest with yourself and the people around you about what’s possible for one person to do in a day. You can’t change the world alone. Enlist the help of others and don’t be too proud to ask. Putting the weight of the world on your shoulders may be the reason why you feel exhausted.

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4. Arrive Early

It took me years in life to realize how much being early can relieve stress. Waking up five minutes earlier gives me five minutes to relax and think if I’m forgetting anything before I head out the door. Leaving five minutes before I normally would for an event gives me five minutes to arrive and get a good seat, scope out the scene, or talk to someone and learn something about the place.

Being early allows you to be relaxed and completely comfortable as opposed to running through life in a hurry. Settle in before anyone else and have the mental edge that you’re prepared for anything.

5. Exercise More, Try Healthier Habits

Exercise is probably the last thing you want to do. But have you ever regretted a workout? One hundred percent of the time it makes you feel better and gives you the momentum to have a great day.

Try healthier habits. Go for a walk right when you get out of bed. Try a new vegetable once a week. Drink more water. Stand more. Replace dessert with fruit. If you drink ten cups of coffee a day, try to go one day a month without coffee. Healthier habits ultimately lead to a happier life in more ways than you think.

6. Journal

Similar to talking about your problems, journaling is an excellent outlet for not only getting the thoughts out of your head but also to clarify your feelings. As you write, you’ll realize you actually didn’t understand what you were thinking. Writing helps that. Do it often.

7. Take Care of Something

Get a pet. If you’re not ready for a dog, then buy a few plants to take care of. This takes the attention off yourself and on to something that relies on you for livelihood. It will help put everything in perspective and relieve stress and exhaustion.

8. Meditate

This is such an overly-used cure-all, but meditation really does help with clarity of thinking and developing a sense of calm in your life. Researchers found that meditation “decreased symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.[3]

It doesn’t have to be sitting with your legs cross, fingers in a circle, and saying “Oooommmmmm.” Meditating can take on whatever form you’re comfortable with. It can be taking a few deep breaths before you step out of your car, or it can be closing your eyes and thinking of your loved ones when you’re having a hard time.

Sometimes before bed, I’ll just close my eyes and envision a future I want for myself. I picture the people I love hugging me and saying “Congratulations.” For what? I don’t know, but I’m putting myself in the mindset to succeed.

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Final Thoughts

Dr. Alice Boyes, author of The Healthy Mind Toolkit:[4]

“The more you work on systems for reducing stress and excess decision-making, the more mental energy you’ll have.”

This is true in so many areas. Work on habits and routines that will eliminate the number of decisions you make. The more disciplined you are in these areas, the more freedom you will have to do the things you truly want and need. But also, understand how you are getting in your own way.

Author Tim Ferriss likes to ask himself, “How am I complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?” or “What are the stories I tell myself that interfere with self-love?”

Take a look at the actions and routines you structure your life around. Are there small tweaks you can make to get out of your own way? What would this look like if it were easy? Sometimes, asking yourself questions like these can lead to surprisingly simple solutions and answer the question of “why do I feel exhausted?”

As I said, everyone is struggling in their own way. How you manage your stress may differ completely from someone else. By being vulnerable and understanding that you have the ability to overcome this exhaustion, you can begin to find meaning. Exercise consistent positive habits and the momentum will attract more positive momentum. Oh, and get good sleep!

More Tips to Help You When You Feel Exhausted

Featured photo credit: Hernan Sanchez via unsplash.com

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