|Exhaustion is not a badge of honor to show how much we care or how hard we work.|
|It is, however, one of the ways that we deplete ourselves and prevent ourselves from taking healthy, meaningful action. What’s exhausting you today?|
We could each make a long list, right?
Here are a few of mine:
Whip wielding order patrol officers abusing Haitian refugees living under a bridge in Del Rio, TX.
Racism that I know exists in this country but that I don’t see in my daily life as a white woman.
Resiliency of sexism to morph into palatable norms.
My family for every single reason and no specific reason at all.
Covid vaccination rates.
Assault on reproductive rights globally.
Erasure of academic freedom in higher education.
I could add to this list for days.
The thing is that these events and concepts don’t exhaust me. Not really. It’s the emotional and mental meaning I make about them that exhausts me. Notice that my list doesn’t include much about me?
A more accurate list would look like:
I feel angry about…
I worry about…
I feel furious about…
I care about…
I feel confused by…
I feel panicked about…
I feel disgusted about…
I feel all these ways because I subscribe to a belief system that I cultivated for myself over the course of my life. To be clear, I love big chunks of my belief system. I also experience activation of past wounding that I carry in my body.
The other element that exacerbates my exhaustion is the foundation of gender norms that I was taught that still impact me today.
Here are a few strategies that I use in my own life that I share with my clients.
1. Write it out to get it out of your head.
2. Personalize it to figure out how you feel about each item on your list
3. Ask yourself why this matters. It will show you what you care about and that’s powerful information. Here’s an example: I feel angry about the vaccination rates in the United States because I want more people to want to get vaccinated. I want people to care about one another. I don’t want more people to die or get really sick when there’s a way to prevent it. I don’t want more Covid restrictions in the United States. I value health, compassion and safety.
4. Check in with your body to notice any changes from a few minutes ago when you started writing your list.
5. Now that you’re returned to you and your values, what, if any, action do you want to take? Here’s another example: I will limit the amount of Covid news coverage that I consume. When I notice my nervous system tightening up, I will focus on my breathing and remember why this whole situation matters to me. I will promote vaccinations by posting public locations on my social media. I will learn about opportunities to help with public education in my community.
Exhaustion is real, but it is not inevitable. I know because I’ve learned how to disrupt the exhaustion cycle in my own life.
|In community, |