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The Element Minute
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I Am So Tired
November 1, 2020
I Am So Tired
I’m hearing this so often at Element the last couple of months. People think something is
wrong with them and for some of them, it’s true. It’s always good to have unexplained
fatigue evaluated for a physical cause.
In an overwhelming majority of these cases, I find that people are experiencing what is
called “ambiguous loss.” They are living their lives without the support of so many systems:
churches, schools, hospitals, family support, etc. They’re grieving multiple losses while
managing the ongoing impact of trauma and uncertainty through a pandemic and a
contentious election year. They find themselves cycling through disappointment, anger,
grief, sadness, exhaustion, stress, fear and anxiety. The malaise so many people are
feeling, a sort of disinterested boredom, is common in research on burnout.
We know this will last for some time. So, what is the best way to help ourselves? If
someone mentions “self-care” one more time, are you going to completely lose it? Me too.
Now that I think about it, we should all probably (for real) consider seeing a mental health
For now, though, we’re already tired, so starting small may look like taking a nap or calling a
friend. It might be nice to shut off the news. Suppose you logged out of social media for a
week? We’ve got a few beautiful days coming up. A walk around the block or by a lake to
get some fresh air and clear our heads sounds lovely.
I’ve been cleaning my house – like oiling the wood, wiping down baseboards, clearing out
closets – cleaning. For me, this is less about work and more of a gratitude practice and a
time to be quiet (believe me, the family is steering clear) or to put on 80’s music.
What recharges us will look different for everyone. Slow down. Sit down with some tea. Get
quiet and try to visualize what you’d love to be doing. Okay, that won’t work because I just
thought about a beach. Think about what would rejuvenate you the most. Give yourself
permission to do that thing. There’s time for everything else…when you’re not quite so tired.