What's Behind the Fatigue?
There are an endless number of reasons why many of us are feeling fatigued right now.
We’re still trying to get our footing in this new world of COVID. Yes, I realize we’re more than three months into life with COVID-19 (Ugh, if it doesn’t feel like years, though!), but it is still new and it continues to evolve, keeping us tuned in to how or what we need to change in our lives to be safe.
Our schedules have changed. Our routines have changed. We spend more energy figuring out things that were once very simple, liking finding paper products. Or, we’re spending time in lines to get into grocery stores, to then still not be able to find what we were looking for.
We’re aware of or involved in the current uprising around social injustices. We may be taking in energetic inputs from many different people. Listening to the news of the latest horrific incident. Figuring out how we are able to be part of the changes that are needed while staying in integrity with the core of who we are.
So, yes, there are A LOT of external factors that may be contributing to the fatigue that you may be experiencing.
Perhaps there is more behind the fatigue though?
As a caveat, I want to say that it may be easier in times of more social ease and calm to be able to pinpoint what is behind the fatigue, as during those times there may not be as many external factors that are wearing you down.
That’s not the world we live in right now, though.
I believe that it’s still a useful exercise to see if you can uncover something that may be behind some of the fatigue you are feeling. If you can learn what it is then you can start to create solutions and take steps to help support yourself in not becoming so fatigued.
Often when I notice I am feeling fatigued I am able to work backwards fairly easily and point out what has gotten me there:
I’m not getting enough sleep.
I’m over-committed on a project.
I’m working long hours.
I’m not exercising.
I’m spending time on social media or watching the news.
I’m spending more time on my phone.
I’m not practicing my morning routine.
I’m feeling upset with someone.
What lies beneath the things I listed above, though, is where I find the deeper truth behind my fatigue.
Yes, I can absolutely say that I am feeling fatigued because I am working longer hours than are normal for me. That is the truth. But, it’s the why behind the longer hours that gives me the clarity I need to face what is generally a hard truth I don’t like to sit with:
I am working longer hours right now because I feel that I need to prove myself and be worthy.
Who am I trying to prove myself to? And, worthy of what?
I would love to say the answers to those questions are not clear; however, now that I am this far into revealing something so deeply painful and personal about myself I’m going to continue.
I am trying to prove myself to my dad, to my graduate advisor, to Charlie, to my grandma, to you, to the world in general.
I learned an unhealthy lesson when I was younger about having to prove myself and needing to perform at a certain level of excellence to be worthy.
To be worthy of love, affection, a paycheck, nice things, a title. To even be worthy of being here and taking up space.
And what I just shared with you is the reason why it is so important for me, when I am feeling fatigued, to pause and dig into the layers under the fatigue. The why behind the why behind the why.
For me, it is often a combination of many things that have me fatigued, but there is almost always something in the mix related to me trying to prove myself and my worth.
I disavowed those early unhealthy lessons I learned long ago, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t linger in the shadows and wait for opportune times to show back up in my life.
I know that this story about needing to prove myself and being worthy is not unique to me, just as I know that there are likely many of you reading this who do not have that particular story that plagues you.
Perhaps it is another unhelpful or unhealthy story that drives you at times and contributes to fatigue?
If you are feeling fatigued, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on what is contributing to that fatigue. More than likely there are plenty of things in the external world that are contributing to that fatigue, some of which you have little to no control over. However, there are also likely things that you do have influence over — and choices you are making — that are contributing to your fatigue.
Is there a story under the drive that may no longer be supportive for you? A story that may be contributing to the fatigue you are feeling? Where does that story come from? Is it true? Is it helpful?
You deserve to have and hold stories that are supportive for your thriving. What’s your new story going to be?