Why Paying Attention to Overwhelm and Exhaustion is Critical
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but if you’re here, you probably need to hear this: you look like an empty tube of toothpaste.
You know the one I’m talking about, right? The one that’s dangerously close to empty for a week now and yesterday morning you roll it just a liiiiiiitle bit tighter so you can hopefully squeeze out juuuuust enough to successfully rid your mouth of that morning-breath-plus-coffee film, all the while thinking “I’ve gotta remember to get toothpaste on the way home from work tonight because I think it might actually be empty now” and then you pray to the toothpaste gods for just a little more to come out when you’re doing the roll n’ squeeze routine again that evening before bed.
I see you. Running your life, your family’s lives, your home, your department, your company…doing all the things for all the people who depend on you. Exhaustion and overwhelm.
I see you, mama, packing lunches, making doctors appointments, playing referee to your little ones, and shuttling them to and from every conceivable after school activity. Exhaustion and overwhelm.
I see you, partner, paying bills and balancing budgets, getting groceries, cleaning the house, doing laundry, making vet appointments, and planning date nights to keep the spark alive. Exhaustion and overwhelm.
I see you, professional, inboxing to zero, picking up the slack, tracking all the nitty-gritty details, or casting the big-picture vision, choosing a professional tone of voice for that email instead of saying what you’d really like to. Exhaustion and overwhelm.
I see you – empty and running on fumes, suffering from overwhelm and exhaustion. You’re snippy, irritable, sensitive, and on-edge even though those things couldn’t be further from the essence of who you really are. You don’t let yourself notice the empty, running on fumes, exhausted feelings I can see though. Instead, you briefly chastise yourself for being such a b and then double down on your determination to be kinder to your partner, more patient with your kids, and more understanding of the people you work with and for.
And I know. It’s scary to notice the empty, running on fumes, exhausted feelings because if you noticed them, you might look in the mirror and see what I see, a dangerously low tube of toothpaste. Let me be the one to say out-loud what you know deep inside somewhere:
You can’t keep doing this – something gotta give.
It’s a darkly ironic circular problem – you’re too exhausted to give any space or energy to addressing your exhaustion – so let me help by telling you in plain English – you need to ask for help. Make the call, prioritize yourself 1x/week in your schedule and your budget, and ask for help…because keeping it together isn’t the same as being okay, and you deserve to be okay. You CAN be okay.
IFS therapist for established women who aren’t sure if their problems are “bad enough” to “count”. [Spoiler: they are & they do]