Tired

February 23rd, 2012 | Shonali Burke | 31 Comments

tiredI’ve been tired recently.

Some of that tiredness has to do with dealing with health issues; my own (I don’t think it’s anything terribly serious, but if it is, I’ll tell you), those of family members and yes, my dogs.

Going to doctor’s offices, testing places (yes, that’s my official term), the vet, the pharmacy … I’ve found that any time I have to go to one of these places, I experience a huge wave of tiredness.

It literally drops down on me, as if someone decided to throw a heavy blanket on me when I wasn’t looking.

Some of it has to do with new business opportunities – potential clients who want to “do” something, but don’t quite know what it is, and exhaust me with their indecision.

Some of it has to do with clients who are so terrific, but who work by committee, where every last word, comma, and period have to be approved by a coterie of their colleagues. Of course, that’s their prerogative, but it’s tiring.

Some of it has to do with the physical tiredness that comes from trying to change up my workout routine, and the natural reaction of my body as it says, “Whoa! Really?”

Some of it has to do with social media overload; feeling required to comment or post or share, but sometimes not really having the desire to do so, because there are so many other things I have to do.

I’m not complaining here.

Almost all of what I have going on is due to my own choices (outside of the health issues, those I certainly did not ask for!), but the fact is that we tend to serve ourselves a lot more on our daily “plates” than we can really deal with.

In our 24/7 networked world, I suspect many people feel the same. We say “yes” because we don’t want to hurt others, or make someone feel bad, or feel inadequate if we admit to not being able to keep up.

I’ve been trying to do better at saying “no,” but still… my instinctive reaction, when someone asks me to do something, is to say “yes.”

So I’m tired.

And as I’ve been trying to figure out how to deal with this, and not be tired, I find myself asking a few questions before I take on/commit to something:

  • Is it necessary for me to do this for my (or my family’s) financial health?
  • Is it necessary for me to do this for my (or my family’s) mental satisfaction? i.e. Will this make me/us happy?
  • Is it necessary for me to do this for my (or my family’s) physical well-being?

When the answer to all three is “yes,” that’s easy. It’s when the answers are both “yes” and “no” that it becomes complicated … and tiresome.

Frankly, of the three questions, I wish I could have put the “financial health” one at the bottom of the list. But unfortunately, much of what we can/need to do for our mental satisfaction and/or physical well-being require being able to finance them … so having the means to cover those things/activities is important. At least, it is to me.

I also know that if I can look past the immediate stress of tiredness, there is light at the end of the tunnel. After all, everything has a cycle, and everything, good and bad, comes to an end. So if I can just hold on until the storm passes, I’ll be ok.

And that’s what I’m doing right now.

Image: renata miyagusku via Flickr, CC 2.0

How do you deal with being tired? Are there other questions you ask yourself when you decide whether or not to do something? Have you uncovered the secret to eternal energy? Please do share, I’d love to know.

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Shonali Burke
Head honcho of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke is President & CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. Based in the Washington, D.C., area, she loves helping for- and non-profit clients, both small and large, turn corporate codswallop into community cool™. She also loves ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
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31 comments
Hajra
Hajra

Ice cream! ;) That is the answer to eternal energy!

 

I feel tired too; but then I feel I ain't eating right.But given by how you work on yourself at the Bootcamp, it really is okay to be tired you know, at least once in a while maybe! 

 

Be easy on yourself; sometimes we all need to just cozy ourselves under the blanket with yes, ice cream!

bdorman264
bdorman264

I hear ya and I'm there right now; I have a few things w/ a short fuse and will clean up my plate somewhat but I've stretched myself pretty thin right now. I have to be very purposeful with my time. I was doing a pretty good job of only saying yes when I knew they would have my total focus, but I'm being pushed right now.

 

I'm not tired, nor am I sick but I'm having to pay attention a lot more right now. Hmmm.....

 

Good post, I can empathize with you.

jenzings
jenzings

Oh, boy. Do I ever hear you.

When I start feeling tired--which usually manifests itself as me being grumpy to my adorable husband--I try and do a gratitude check. This is made far easier by the simple fact that I've lived in some parts of the world where people have very little. Once I'm reminded that much of my "tiredness" is of my own doing: either trying to do too much, or expecting too much of myself or others, and that I'm so very lucky and fortunate, I usually get my bounce back.

I also try and pay attention to what might be causing the problem. Is it feeling stretched from too many social channels? If the answer is yes, I pull back for a while. No one is going to sit in a corner wailing because I haven't tweeted in a week. (Sidebar: this is one of my biggest problems with the "influence" tool that shall not be named--there's an incentive to keep people grinding away, sharing, constantly. Which isn't human at all.)

Sometimes I just really need a break or time off. Sometimes that is doable, sometimes it is not. If it isn't possible, I go to extraordinary lengths mentally planning a perfect trip. Sometimes I just need to focus on something else.

There are also my two crutches: escapism through fiction (reading and writing) and escapism through baking (this is a problem, as now DH and I are both trying to shed a few pounds. Ahem.)

Hope you get your bounce back soon.

wonderoftech
wonderoftech

Shonali, I hear you and it sounds as if others do as well. I think it's important to take breaks and refresh ourselves. Do you take a few minutes every so often to clear your mind? Perhaps take a walk and get some fresh air?

I was even thinking you could take a vacation. I know that may not be feasible, but if you took a day trip to a local park or some other place for a change of scenery, that could be refreshing.

I think back to Steven Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and his advice to sharpen the saw. The longer we use the saw, the duller the blade gets and the harder we have to work. Taking a break and sharpening the saw may lead to you feeling less tired and make you more efficient.

Hang in there! :-)

KDillabough
KDillabough

It is amazing as to the synchronicity (coincidence? not) that pervades the blogosphere all at about the same time. I think many of us are feeling the fatigue from what was once new-and-shiny and exciting, but is now feeling like ovewhelm...the constant being "on". I actually just had a skype call this morning with someone and we discussed the fact that, although all the "experts" tell us how we must build our online presence, in the end, it can sometimes feel like chasing one's own tail: tiring and fruitless.

Don't get me wrong. I love to read my favourite blogs, love finding new ones, enjoy commenting and writing my own posts, but sometimes it does feel like the never-ending story. And with companies/businesses either reticent to invest in themselves, or making decisions by committee, much work goes out before returns are seen (if ever. I just did a response to an RFP that took me a great deal of time, with lots of back and forth, with the end result being the company deciding to do the project in-house, "for free". Right.)

I will, again, be stepping back, re-evaluating and re-configuring. Something that's good to do regularly, and your 3 questions will definitely be included in my thought process. GREAT questions! Cheers ! Kaarina

rachaelseda
rachaelseda

I admire your candor because I often find myself wondering how it is that some people are able to do it "all" while I struggle to have time to even work on my own blog. Sure I've let it get shuffled down on the priority list and often times by the time I can work on it I'm so exhausted I feel like I have nothing left to say. But I think it's definitely all about priorities and remembering what's truly important (i.e. family, health etc) and keeping your goals in mind. And like you said, these things come in cycles, if you can weather the storm now it will make you stronger.

Thinking of you and sending good vibes and energy your way!

jennimacdonald
jennimacdonald

@shonali I totally understand how you're feeling, especially how when you visit those places you suddenly become more tired.

I've also had some health issues in the past and what helped me was exercise, although all I could manage was a 10 minute walk but it helped. Also drinking green tea.

I hope that helps a little, take care, and I appreciate you sharing your story, it's nice to feel a connection with someone in this digital world. : )

BestRoofer
BestRoofer

I was just talking to someone about this yesterday. It seems to me that we are all working harder for less money. I wonder about politics and the economy, but when it comes down to it, I know that I just have to keep working as smart and as hard as I can. But I too am VERY TIRED!

Erin F.
Erin F.

I wish I could bottle the energy that kids have. I think that might cure me of my tiredness.

I think I also ask if the opportunity - or whatever it is - is something to which I can commit. I also ask if I can work with the people presenting the opportunity, and, sometimes, I can't. I used to gloss over the people factor because I hate to say "no," but I'm slowly learning to listen to the voice of caution and reason.

As for dealing with being tired, I usually plow my way through it. I don't have any magic solutions. When I'm in the tired state in which you seem to be finding yourself, extra sleep doesn't help and isn't likely. I guess I try to take a timeout, even if it's just running to Target and wandering around for half an hour. In my grad school days, I'd close all the blinds in my apartment, turn on some music - usually the Lord of the Rings soundtrack - and try to take a nap. Sometimes the timeout was rejuvenating; sometimes not. The exercise helps, too. I was learning Japanese jujitsu in my grad school days, so I usually was finding a new muscle every week and looking like I'd been beaten to a pulp. My arms often were covered in bruises. What can I say? I play tough. :) The exercise was tiring, but it also was refreshing.

KenMueller
KenMueller

Oh man, I hear you. Sometimes I feel like I'm busy in ten different directions, and very few of them are generating revenue. Unless of course I can find a way to charge my kids....but I think this is something a lot of us go through these days. Fast paced lives, and running a business, etc.

I, too, have struggled with saying, "No!" when I know I can make some money. My wife will say, "Any money is good right now", but how do I explain why I don't want to work with certain clients? It's not easy.

And as for the foot dragging from clients, I have at least a half-dozen businesses who have said they want to work with me. They have proposals. They like the proposals, but...they're waiting for more approvals, or the right time, or...whatever the excuse of the day is.

But you're right. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm thankful for an incredibly supportive family, and an incredibly supportive network of friends (I'm looking at you, Shonali!), and I love what I'm doing. I feel good about it. I even had someone tell me recently, "I'm not really sure what you do, but I know you're good at it!". Yes, I need to articulate what I do better, but if the results speak for the quality of my work, then I'll take that!

Here's to not being so tired in the very near future!

Shonali
Shonali moderator

 @bdorman264 You're letting people push you around? Actually, I can see that. You're such a nice guy.

The thing is, once I actually focus, I get a TON done very quickly. When I get this tired, though, part of me gets really resentful that I have to do anything at all...!

Shonali
Shonali moderator

 @jenzings I started replying to your comment (yes, almost a week ago!), and in the middle of it, my husband came home. I was literally so mindful of your comment that I logged off as quickly as I could without saving the reply!

I LOVE escaping through fiction. Truth be told, I rarely read non-fiction (sorry, all my friends who are authors, but those books are not usually fun to read!)... and I do enjoy the cooking (as you know). You know what I really love to do? Lie back in my hammock, but of course I can't do that in this weather. 

And I'm taking more and more time off, not just from SM, but from work in general. I don't let my work suffer, but every few weeks I won't work on Friday, or my husband and I will try to take off somewhere for a few days (this hasn't happened much recently, but I see that if we can do it every 3-4 months, it really helps). Now if only I could do that whenever I wanted...

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@wonderoftech Thank you!

I do try to take breaks to clear my mind. That's one reason I so look forward to exercising, particularly if, that day, I am exercising outside. The days I don't work on #mybootcamp with my trainer, I try to go for a walk (sometimes with one of my dogs), and yesterday I started the Couch-to-5k program, and ran/walked in my neighborhood park, which was really neat.

You know what happens to me, though? Once I go outside, I feel so much better that I don't want to come back inside... ha!

However, thinking more about what you asked, I realize that I have a tendency to take breaks from my desk every 45 minutes or so, even if it's for just 5 minutes, to go stand outside, look at the sky, etc. I know that is something that is recommended, particularly for people who work in offices (the getting away from your desk part), but I wonder if I would be better served doing that every few hours instead, so that my breaks could be longer.

In terms of vacation, we just took one in November, and have a short break planned for April (not long enough, but it's something). However, it's to NYC; don't get me wrong, I love the city, but I'd so much rather go to Jamaica... which I can't do right now.

Thank you so much again for stopping by and your support - I really appreciate it!

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@KDillabough It is weird, isn't it? I had no idea so many people were feeling this way.

I can't believe that happened with your RFP response. O. My. Gawd. What a let-down. I just wonder if there is some kind of new business process lesson you can draw from it... knowing you, you've probably done so already. For starters, never respond to an RFP from that company again, huh?

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@rachaelseda Thank you, my dear!

You are one of those people who never seems tired to me. I feel like I have to tell YOU to slow down, because you're always on top of things. It's incredible. You are incredible.

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@jennimacdonald The exercise is awesome! It's a different kind of tiredness, isn't it? I think what gets me down is more the mental/emotional tiredness... as I've gotten more consistent with my workouts, I find that the physical activity really helps clear my mind as well.

Thank you so much for your good wishes! I'm glad we're connected. :)

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@BestRoofer I honestly didn't expect this reaction when I posted this. I thought I'd write something completely different, but the tiredness kept weighing on me, and my mind, and I couldn't keep it in. Who needs therapy when you have a blog, eh? :p

I hope you feel less tired soon. Are there specific things you think you can change in order to get there?

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@Erin F. We should all be kids again, eh?!

You're so right about extra sleep not helping in this kind of situation, though there are certainly the times when it does. I think for me, I have to just not do any of these things that are making me tired, and more and more, that is coming to mean to get out and take the kind of timeout you talk about.

I love your two questions, Erin, especially the second one. I do think I get a good sense of what the potential client/colleagues will be like fairly early on, and I'm trying to do a better job of listening to my gut instinct.

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@KenMueller I also think constantly being "on" has a lot to do with it. BlackBerry, iPhone... I love the fact that I can look at stuff all the time, but I think some of us (including me) overdo it. That's one reason I've started cutting back on being online/in social in the evenings and weekends.

And thank you for the props, Ken - you know you are part of that support system for me as well.

What a neat thing that person said to you! Kudos.

KDillabough
KDillabough

 @Shonali Yes, Shonali, I won't be responding to an RFP from them again. And yes...I sense a blog post coming on:)

rachaelseda
rachaelseda

 @Shonali Haha you're too funny! My Aunt always asks me where I get my energy. Truly I just remind myself that I can't do it all and to do what I can and what is most important at the time to the best of my ability. I am always making time for the people I care about and making sure that I actually spend quality time with them because without them, being successful in anything else wouldn't be very rewarding. You are so sweet, thank you for saying that! I'm blushing, but really, you are the incredible one!!

jennimacdonald
jennimacdonald

@Shonali I defintely agree with the mental/emotional tiredness, that's the killer!

I'm glad we're connected to!

Erin F.
Erin F.

@Shonali"I have to just not do any of these things that are making me tired." Exactly. I've been working on that idea this week, although the efforts themselves have been tiring. Go figure. I think it's the confrontation factor involved with not doing certain things. I hope you're able to not do some of the things that are causing weariness.

I'm now thinking about a possible comic related to the being "on" 24/7 to which you referred (Kaarina, too) and the accompanying fatigue. :)

Erin F.
Erin F.

 @Shonali

 I was thinking of a Sheldon cartoon (The poor guy can't catch any breaks between helium elephants and internet overload.), but I might make it a joint one. I have an idea for how to get the both of them into the cartoon. :)

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@Erin F. Another Sarah/Sheldon cartoon or something different? Either way, I hope you do create it!

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