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Feeling Low, Tired Despite Sleep? You’re Not Alone

Written by MJ Ryan, SheEO Development Guide

Pretty much everyone I talk to these days describes a similar thing when I ask how they are: a sense of low grade tiredness, despite time off over the holidays, a lack of enthusiasm for the things they love, a “do I have to get up and do this again?” feeling. It’s hard to connect to passion, to the energy we need to enact our purpose. I heard myself tell one of my ventures that I thought we were all suffering from spiritual depression, a heaviness that seems to be not just inside us but around us.

Covid, politics, violence, racial injustice, fires, floods, economic uncertainty….It’s no wonder our body/minds/spirits have had enough. But somehow each of us is suffering alone, thinking, “what’s wrong with me?” I’m here to say, based on talking to dozens of folks, that this is not just happening to you.

According to a January 12, 2021 article in USA Today by Alia E. Dastagir, many of us are suffering from emotional exhaustion, which is usually associated with burnout, the symptoms of which include:

  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Frustration
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Loss of motivation
  • Lack of focus
  • General ‘brain fog’
  • Feeling disconnected from other people
  • A sense you’re not effective or competent (even if you’ve been over-performing at home or at work)
  • Actual problems with performance, including making more mistakes than usual

There are also physical symptoms, which can include:

  • Muscle fatigue and tension
  • Headaches
  • Stomach problems
  • Sleep problems” 

Great, you say, now I know what’s going on for me, but what can I do about it? Experts suggest setting boundaries, pulling back from being a superhero, getting therapy. All good ideas. I also suggest you listen to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith’s TedX Atlanta talk on why we are tired and what to do about it. She describes the difference between sleep and restoration, and describes the 7 types of rest we need that gets more to what I think is going on for all of us and will hopefully give you some ideas for a place to start. If I were to guess, I would say a lot of us need creative and social restoration right now.

One other thought—most of us are experiencing a great deal of isolation as the Covid months drag on. That is not a good thing. Humans are fundamentally wired to connect. This is a time to reach out to others in any way you can.

As Martin Luther King, whose birthday we honor today, once said, “We cannot walk alone.” The problems we face can only be solved together, including this one, our spiritual/emotional well being that feels so individual.

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