A couple of weeks ago, I wrote this post about tiredness, and it’s resonated widely. I’m glad. Let’s keep the conversation going.
Last week, I had a pretty full-on week. Travel to and visiting Harrogate Home & Gift, running an open day at Copper Boom Studio, my usual client calls, plus my husband’s (big) birthday and lots of social events. By the end of the week, my brain and emotional resilience were fairly wiped out!
All those things were important to do. And sometimes timing means that several things come at once. (I know the mum bosses currently dealing with school holidays will agree…)
The only thing that’s helped me get back on track is sleep, quiet time and unstructured time.
Caffeine won’t cut it. Sugaring up doesn’t improve my mood or my cognitive abilities. And even the most brilliant conversations with my most treasured friends don’t get me back on track.
It has to be rest.
It has to be quiet, cosy introversion.
It has to be coming back to myself.
And as I lie on the sofa watching The West Wing, I realise something: “too tired” is no longer an excuse I’ll use. It’s not something I’ll say.
And that’s not because I’ll be pushing through or hustling hard. It’s because I’ll be sleeping, resting, meditating, and generally taking care of myself.
I’m no longer prepared to burn out. I’m no longer willing to sacrifice my own health and wellbeing, when all burnout and overtired does is lessen my ability to do my job(s) to the standard I expect of myself.
Tired is the signal to rest. I welcome it with open arms, a nice blanket, and some time to myself.
Tired is a friend.
Here’s the thing
We’re told to hustle. We’re told the only way to succeed is through hard work and more work.
We see the ideals of “work smarter not harder” and we think that’s nice for other people, but there’s no way I can do it too. I’ve got too much on.
We hold up “tired” like we hold up “busy” – as evidence of our worthiness. As what’s expected of us by society. The acceptance we need from friends and family.
Tired isn’t your modus operandi. Tired isn’t a problem. It’s information. It’s instruction: REST. Take time out. You’re running low.
Imagine if you bank sent you a message every time you get low on cash. Or that instinctive thing where you know whether you’re low on milk or tea because you have to. That’s what tired is. It’s the signal to replenish the supply.
My suggestions, if you need them, are:
- Notice what your thoughts are when you’re low on energy. Are you telling yourself they should be different? That you can push through? Just notice the response you have to your body and mind’s requests for rest.
- Give yourself some unstructured personal time. Yes, this can seem like a dream if you have kids. No, it’s not impossible. Watch a film. Read a book. Nap. Lie around. You probably need it more than you think.
- Give yourself permission to change your carefully bullet-journalled work plan when you’re tired. Join me in modelling a different way of working to staff and kids and partners by resting when you need to and working when you’re ready to. It’s the future, but we have to be brave enough to do it.
Need a specific and personal permission slip? I can make one for you. Go here and tell me what you need. I’ll pop one in the post.
Changing the internalised thoughts we carry on tiredness and worthiness is a big task. It’s one that I come up against every day, and it certainly seems to be my big project at the moment. But we can change it. A rising tide lifts all boats. We can create our own atmosphere for creativity and productivity that doesn’t require burnout and hustle and questioning our worthiness.