When you feel overwhelmed or exhausted, how do you respond? Do you ignore those feelings and try to push through it or take the time acknowledge them? Today, I felt tired and exhausted. Being in New York last week has me running flat out to get things done this week and it felt like that pace was catching up with me today. I saw my "to do" list growing and my initial reaction was to just ignore my tiredness and push through it.
But, as the day wore on, I realized my head just wasn't in the game. I found myself making mistakes because I wasn't focused which of course, added frustration to my tiredness. I felt like I was in fog. I sensed this voice inside telling me to stop, ignore my "to do" list and just take a nap. When that thought first popped into my head, my response was, "Are you crazy? Look at everything I need to do!" But that voice responded, "Karen, it's time to take care of you". I heard it so clearly and it resonated so strongly with me that I had no choice but to follow that guidance and I took a 30 minute nap. If you know me, that is so incredibly unlike me!
When I awoke, I felt calm and refreshed. I was amazed how different I felt just after that quick nap. I was able to work through my "to do" list with a renewed sense of energy and focus and got more done as a result. My email conversations came easily versus before when I found myself staring at a screen struggling to put the right words together to make a coherent email. My phone conversations flowed as well and I didn't feel like it was a chore to get on the phone like it did earlier in the day. What I was pushing off to do later or moving forward with a half-hearted effort, I had the energy now to just get it done.
I learned a big lesson today and I my hope is this lesson will help you as well. So many times we feel pressured either by external demands or internal demands on ourselves to keep moving forward regardless of how we feel physically or mentally. For whatever reason, we are taught to wear our over-tiredness like a badge of courage. We brag about how tired and overwhelmed we are versus doing something about it. Society encourages us to not give in and keep pressing forward until we can't give anymore. We're taught to feel guilty if we do otherwise. We sacrifice our need for self care in the name of "getting it done" and crossing off that next item on our "to do" list.
But, what we fail to realize is that we lose ourselves in that process and ultimately no one benefits. We are not as focused as we otherwise could be, our emotions tend to get the better of us and if we continue to ignore that need for self-care, we usually will end up getting sick. Our bodies will make us get the rest it needs one way or another. Why not give in at the first sign when you sense you're ignoring what your body needs? It's definitely the easier of two paths you can take although it may not be readily apparent at the time. I've come to realize that it's not so much about managing our time as it is about managing our energy levels. We can have all the time in the world but if our energy level is not where it should be, we won't have the clarity and focus to reach the destination.
Our profession by nature requires us to be creative. That creativity is not going to come when you're overtired and feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. It will come when you feel that energy flowing through you and you're able to be at your best. Our energy level is what propels us to move forward. It's the life source that feeds our inspiration and creativity and allows us to connect with our true purpose. Give in when you sense that you need to take a break. Ignore the desire to push through it. Get in the habit of listening to the clues your body is sending you. Your body knows what it needs for it to thrive and when you live in that energy flow that comes from taking care of yourself, you'll see results that are far beyond anything you could have accomplished by just "pushing through it".
You'll love this week's action step - take a nap. The next time you're feeling overtired, give in to it. Stop pushing through it to the point of exhaustion. Take that nap or walk around the block to clear your head or catch up on some needed sleep. You can't be at your best if you're not listening to what your body is telling you that you need to do to be at your best. Trust that everything will get done rather than feeling like you have to control the process. Manage your energy levels versus your time because the path to accomplishing great things in your business depends not on how much time you have but how much energy you have to truly tap into those creative ideas that will launch you further than you ever imagined.
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