Reality check, we are all feeling fatigued. When you lead your life through circumstances you did not ask for or desire, your energy gets depleted by trying to stay the course, even in the best circumstances. It can feel taxing, especially for the achiever in you. I share this with you, because it is what I am living with and managing through. I know I am not alone, so I wanted to share some of the things I tested and have worked for me to continue to move forward.
Things to know about me: I am a recovering over-achieving, people pleaser. My reactionary space when under immense stress is Control. My fight or flight response is generally flight. I would rather end things and move onto the next adventure than fight for something that is not working, and am not passionate about anymore.
As an coach/advisor who helps people achieve their goals, if I don't have goals to accomplish, I feel disconnected from my true nature. I thrive when I am exploring and learning new things that help me become a better version of myself. I have had a lifetime battle with weight management and digestive issues, and would rather be in my thoughts than in my body.
Anything "hampster wheel" related is a framework of exhaustion for me. Please don't put things on repeat, unless it's an amazing song with a good beat that gets me energized.
My Core Values: Love, Creativity, and Integrity - all require action for them to fully present.
My Human Needs Order: Variety, Growth, Impact with a side of love/connection and a foundation of Certainty. (Want to know more about this, check out this article from Tony Robbins.)
I share this with you because knowing where I stand, and what I know about myself helps you identify and understand what I am about to share with you. My hope is that it will help you discover more about yourself to bust through exhaustion with intentional action.
Not going to lie, the past few months have been a struggle for me. I did not realize how bad it really was until I planned to take July off, travel to be with family, and decompress. You know when you puncture a hole in a balloon and it makes that squealing sound then goes into a sound of a bodily function that we all try to hide when it happens to us. Well, when I got to the beaches of the Oregon Coast and started to decompress, I felt triggered by everything everyone was doing. I felt so disconnected from myself and who I had to become to get through the last year and a half, that I had a mini meltdown. I was a deflating balloon of energy that was clinging on for the hope of something different. I couldn't fake it anymore. I couldn't hide behind my work. I faced my true discontent. It was not pretty and went pretty dark for a hot moment there.
An old version of me surfaced that I had not seen in years and it was dark. Luckily, I know enough about myself and have been through these cycles before to identify that I needed professional guidance and support. I also needed to face where I had been convincing myself I was OK, when clearly I was not. It's totally ok, not to be ok. I was in a safe space to face it and started to reach out.
(Note: I am back in therapy and getting the support I need, what I share below is not to replace getting the professional help you need, if you are feeling off, please seek professional help. )
Ever question the impact of manipulation? I asked myself what my response is to manipulation, even when I know I don't want to behave or do that thing in front of me, what action do I take? I CONVINCE myself it is ok. This was a HUGE energy for me to face. Where did I learn how to convince myself that what I am doing or how I am showing up is OK, even if it is not what I truly wanted or desired?
I know these might be some deep questions to be asking, but let me tell you when I identified and could put a name to the energy I was feeling, especially in my darkness, that it could be defined as the action of convincing myself, I immediately felt a little freer. It helped me look a little deeper into my innate response to survive something, and start to question each response to make sure I was standing in my truth.
I can rattle off all the areas of my life I am grateful for and know I live an abundant life, but if I feel like crap on the inside sitting in the middle of it all - then I am convincing myself it is all ok, when it's not. Gratitude can shift your energy, but if it is sitting on a foundation of false truths, it loses it's power.
When I allow myself to sit in the dark energy of discontent (which is a normal energy to feel as an over-achiever, nothing is ever good enough), I now ask, where have I allowed myself to be manipulated, vs. expressing my truth? The flood gates open. So many things feel off because I was convincing myself that where things have landed is ok, because I survived it. In actuality, it is nothing like what I want it to be and have convinced myself otherwise. (Palm to face, exhausted, but assured now I can solve it because I am being true to myself.) Prior to the most recent self-reflection, I was never able to put words to the feelings like this before. Now, I can focus on moving forward. Here are the steps I leaned into that I use in my practice with my clients when they face this.
If you know me, you know I love a good framework to follow, so I pulled out one of my assessment tools that I share in my Be A Badass Book (page 43) and BAB Workbook, the Circle of Life Exercise. And I did the exercise to help me identify where in my life am I feeling a lower level of fulfillment.
Step 1 - Self Assessment - mark on the diagram where you stand in your level of fulfillment in each area. (my results below)
Step 2 - Areas to Focus On - Looking at this self assessment ask, where am I standing in an energy of convincing myself that I am ok?
The blue areas in this chart: Relationships, Physical Activity, Health, and Creativity. They all need more attention to get me back to me.
Step 3 - Action Plan - Ask what can I do that will help me raise my fulfillment level in each area. What can I add? Who can I ask for help from? What do I need to let go of that is bringing me down? Put your list down on paper. Then decide the top thing in each category that you want to focus on for the next 30 days.
I will spare you from the details of the action plan/list I put together and fast forward to where I am today based on doing this exercise.
I share this to give you some ideas on how to shift your state and jump into action. As an innate achiever, we need goals/things we can check off our list and accomplish. I embrace that about myself. It is critical to make sure the things on your list fill you up and are intentional. Otherwise you will continue to cross things off your list that lead to exhaustion.
For my own self-care, I need it to be simple in order to do it. I am sure you need the same as well. I encourage you to try this exercise and see where you stand in each category the helps you self-assess and jump into action. The workbook is free, if you need a clean image to work from.
If you are feeling out of sorts, I encourage you to get the professional help you need. If you are unsure of where to start, use this exercise as a guide to see where you may need the most support right now to connect back to yourself. I hope this helps you know, you are not alone on your journey.
Update: I did this exercise three weeks ago, and am happy to report I am feeling more and more like myself because I am putting what fills me up at the start of my day. If you connect with me on instagram, we can encourage each other to stay in daily action towards what fills us up. Plus you can see my post workout dance and dance along with me, if you would like.