The other day, I completely hit a wall. I was so exhausted and depleted and felt like I was absolutely at maximum capacity, which was odd. I knew logically that there wasn’t actually a ton on my plate, but I felt completely incapable of any sort of functioning.
It reminded me of the article “Your ‘Surge Capacity’ Is Depleted — It’s Why You Feel Awful” by Tara Haelle that I first read last fall. It really resonated with me and I’ve been telling clients about it since. But on that day, I was experiencing it.
Our bodies aren’t designed to be under stress long-term, but here we are, over a year into a pandemic and still acting like things are normal. Things are getting back to normal to some extent, but there has been long-term stress we’ve been experiencing, even if we don’t realize it. Plenty of things are taking a toll: Not being able to see family and friends. Having to always make sure you have a mask. Not being able to travel as freely. Not being able to see plays or participate in certain activities. It all slowly adds up over time. Then add in various things going on in my personal life, and I felt absolutely fried.
So know that you're not alone if you feel exhausted and don’t know why right now. Your body knows what you’re going through is difficult, even if you can’t consciously recognize it.
But what can you do about it? Haelle interviewed different experts and they gave some tips in dealing with this ongoing stress and crisis we are going through. They included:
-Accept that life is different right now
-Expect less from yourself
-Recognize the different aspects of grief
-Experiment with “both-and” thinking
-Look for activities, new and old, that continue to fulfill you
-Focus on maintaining and strengthening important relationships
-Begin slowly building your resilience bank account
Which of these ideas appeals most to you? What are you going to try today? For me, I am feeling better a few days later. Extra sleep this week (along with the above tips of continuing doing fulfilling activities, maintaining relationships, and expecting less from myself) has left me feeling a lot better. I hope these tips can help you, as well.
Colette Dalton, LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who focuses on issues such as depression, anxiety, grief, faith and life transitions, and trauma. She is a member of the LGBTQ-Affirmative Psychotherapist Guild of Utah and is LGBTQIA+ affirming. She offers therapy services and coaching/consultation to individuals and couples