By Louise Roberts, Mind Tree Therapy (March 2022)
We spend a huge amount of unnoticed energy every day trying to balance our lives with the demands of the world and needs of others important to us. We all know life is busy and the list of things we must achieve daily continue to grow.
We often forget that our mind and body pay the price our energy and focus requires. When we do too much or become unwell, we feel the weight of all that we have been carrying so much more acutely. It can feel overwhelming and bring us right down. Or sometimes we are just stopped in our tracks by this terrible weight, leaving us wondering why, today, we see or feel things so differently. Yesterday, it may have been fine. But was it really..? Or were we simply overlooking the price we were paying for our labour?
Everyone else is fine.
Surely everyone else copes fine. We seem to be the only one who is struggling. That simply isn't true. People just mostly hide what they are experiencing when they are tired. We rarely hear someone say, "Today, it is too much.", know that tomorrow, if they rest and refocus they will be ok. We just keep going. We just keep hiding. We just keep pretending we have everything balanced and sorted. We are in control.
The answer is 'No'. No one is fine all the time and for the most part you will never know when they are not.
What is it that do that is so tiring?
We don't realise how much mental energy we use as well as physical resources. Medical science is catching up to the reality that mind and body do not operate in isolation to one another. We have to look after both to be complete in our wellness.
What we think about has an energy cost and the types of thoughts, beliefs and feelings have physical costs that can resonate throughout the body in a multitude of different ways. Manifestations come in all sorts of different ways from stress responses, anxiety, depression, tiredness, fatigue, appetite changes, weight, susceptibility to ailments, etc. The list goes on. There is always a cost and we must be prepared to take care of the complex, magical mechanism that is each and everyone of us - the human being. We are not machines and we don't have a complete manual. But we are intelligent, sentient beings that can allow ourselves to reflect on our our needs. We can learn to recognise our own needs and choose to meet them, improving our performance throughout every aspect of our daily life. We are often so good at looking after others; we must learn to look after all of ourselves.
The car analogy.
If you drive a car, you put fuel in it and make sure it is running correctly. When you do this, the car does everything it is built for. It takes you where you need to go, always starts and never lets you down. It provides transport for you and those you love.
If you let it run out of fuel or don't fix mechanical problems, you know it is likely to break down and you can't use it to go places or pick up loved ones. You might even be stranded on a cold, dark road in the middle of nowhere with no phone signal. The risks are obvious so you do the work to ensure the car is looked after and you and your loved ones reap the rewards.
But it is selfish to think of myself.
A car is an object that does a job. I am a human being who knows better and needs to be thinking of and look after the needs of others.
Right, but doesn't your mind and body have needs? You need food. You need rest. You need fixing sometimes.
But mentally, I just need to be stronger. Everyone else copes.
No, they don't - not all the time. You often find people cancel or change plans. People say no. People get unwell. We just don't know or don't allow ourselves to absorb the reality that the person is having to address their own needs. And yet, we rarely complain about others putting their needs first. It is us who have no right to be struggling.
If we don't keep going, we are valued less. If we can't help out, we don't mean as much. If we aren't seen, we will be forgotten. If we say 'no', we won't be asked again. And the list goes on...
In truth, maybe. But most likely none of this is true in day to day, ordinary life. Yes, if you are in social media etc., but then that is a price you must consciously pay. For everyone else, we will not experience terrible consequences if we simply 'stop'. Don't shy away from challenging your own unhealthy beliefs that your worth is dependent on your sacrifice.
In the long run
If we want to work towards living a balanced, healthy life, ultimately, we need to recognise and respect when we are not fine. That is our first responsibility. Without this, we are no use in the long run to ourselves or anyone else. There are many different ways to meet our own needs and the internet is a rich resource for inspiration from games, exercise, spending quality time with loved ones, hobbies, resting, etc. You can get really creative and personalise what works best for you and how long you spend doing it.
We work best when we work honestly and collaboratively. So, recognise and respect when you are tired. You are important. Learn to rest so you can achieve tomorrow.