You’re putting in long hours at work. Or you’re a new parent. Or both! You’ve overbooked yourself. Maybe you’ve got noisy neighbours or an uncomfortable bed or your work has you traveling between time zones. For a while, you’ve managed quite well but somewhere in there, you just got tired.
Vacations are important. A good night’s sleep is essential. It’s true that we don’t function as well when we’re fatigued. There are plenty of articles and studies proving that getting away from it all for a proper vacation isn’t an indulgence but a necessary recharging of our brains and souls that leads to greater performance and creativity.
This isn’t one of those articles.
Instead, I want to talk about when we’re tired and we can’t get away. There are virtues in fatigue. Things we can leverage and appreciate.
Fatigue forces us to slow down.
In the busy-ness of life, one of the first things we sacrifice is a connection to our own inner voice. We’re trapped in the do, do, do of life, and running on adrenaline. Fatigue makes that increasingly untenable. Fatigue is information. It demands that we slow down, rest and press the re-set button. In those moments, we can reevaluate and adjust our direction.
Fatigue strips away the bullsh*t.
If we have a tendency to keep what we really think and feel buried a few layers down, fatigue makes that nearly impossible. Repressing who we truly are is exhausting. A therapist I worked with years ago likened this to holding a huge beach ball under water. Repressing burns too much energy to maintain when we’re tired.
I was talking with a good friend yesterday who is a skilled coach and a gentle, tactful soul. She shared with me how tired she was and that as a result, she had been more direct and blunt than usual in her coaching sessions that week. She also shared that they were some of the most powerfully effective coaching sessions she had ever given.
When we speak the deep, unvarnished truth, it is unmistakable. Fatigue helps us get there.
Fatigue helps us connect with our own soul.
That is, if we take the time to do so. Our first instincts may be to indulge in our favourite escapisms or addictions (hello munchies and Netflix!).
But if we can find our way to it, taking the time to get out of our heads and into our bodies; to get quiet and listen to the emotions bubbling just below the surface, it can lead to a profound sense of peace. Our soul is asking for kindness. Self-love. Self-acceptance. We are doing our best.
Instead of judging ourselves and/or projecting our judgements onto others, we can take a little time to connect and treat ourselves with love and kindness. This kind of ‘soul-tuning’ brings more richness to life and to our relationships.
Tomorrow, you can step back into the fast lane, if that’s where you want to be. But for a brief moment, slow down and enjoy the virtues of fatigue.