The cycle of exhaustion {and an unintentional goal review for February}

The cycle of exhaustion {and an unintentional goal review for February}

The cycle of exhaustion

Since our trip to Snowshoe, I have been unbelievably tired. Not just tired: flat-out exhausted.

Part of it is Jack’s sleep (we’ve taken him off gluten to see if that could possibly be contributing to his sleep issues), part of it is the stomach issues our middle daughter is having, and part of it is my own eating habits, which have gotten way off track again.

What I’ve realized, though—realized again, really—is how much being tired affects, well…everything.

I know there are people who function well on little sleep, and I know there are people who still accomplish amazing things when they’re exhausted.

Unfortunately, I’m not one of them.

When I’m tired, I…

…lose all self-control and crave carbs and sugars…which just leaves me more tired (and gaining, rather than losing, weight).

…rely too much on caffeine, which can affect the sleep I do get, and don’t drink enough water

…end up crashing on the couch and zoning out rather than sending myself to bed early for some quality sleep.

…am snappier and less patient with the kids, and I also have more trouble investing in my relationships with each of them.

…read the same line in a book over and over and let my mind wander while I listen to audiobooks.

…skip exercising in favor of a long hot shower.

…turn into a hermit, preferring time alone to time with other people.

…enter survival mode.

Now that I’ve typed all of that out, I think it’s safe to say that this post is my official February goals review. Overall, February was a good month, and I made progress on many of my goals (like January, my biggest success has been in protecting my non-work hours, but—as I mentioned on Facebook and Instagram—now my goal is to protect the work hours as well!)

But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that being so tired keeps me from being my best me. While some of these circumstances are out of my control, typing this out was a good reminder that I do have control over some of them…and that exhaustion is not a state of being, but a cycle.

There are things I need to do to break that cycle, without waiting for Jackson to magically sleep through the night for two weeks straight so I can catch up on sleep!

Things like…

…choosing to start my day with healthy breakfasts rather than carbs, sugar and caffeine.

…making myself go to bed rather than zoning on the couch.

…prioritizing exercise.

…taking naps rather than wasting time on the computer.

The cycle of exhaustion isn’t good for my body, mind or soul, and while none of those things are easy when I’m tired, I need to remind myself (hourly sometimes!) that they’re worth the work to break the cycle!

What are the signs that you’re stuck in a cycle of exhaustion? How do you deal with it or break the cycle?

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. This is such a tough one Mandi. I am proud of you for listening to your body before it gets out of control. I think the best advice I have ever received on this subject is to make the choice to rest your mind when you are resting your body. I got smacked in the face with this advice when I was younger (and suffering from a whole host of medical issues that left me exhausted…..constantly). The concept is simple. If your mind is working you aren’t resting. No way around it! So I work hard to turn my brain off more when I am fatigued.

  2. You are very wise!!! Tired, I know…yet wise! You have nailed it. I’m doing all those these you have listed & yet I’m feeling like the martyr. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I most definitely DO have control over most of my day-to-day, so I need to snap out of it.

  3. I loved the title of this because I fully agree that exhaustion is definitely a cycle– and I can completely relate to all of the above when I am tired (craving carbs and caffeine, too tired to exercise, too wound up on caffeine to sleep…). Something painful for me was giving up caffeine. I realized that I wanted it first thing in the morning, but it would make me jittery. The crash was hard and left me exhausted at 2:00 and I’d want more caffeine. When I’d drink more, I’d have a hard time focusing and sleeping at night. I’m a coffee and tea lover, so I was choosing to ignore this for a LONG time. I finally decided to give up the caffeine and see how I did, and (after 2 days of brutal headaches) I have so much more energy! I don’t wake up tired and crave a healthy breakfast (rather than just drinking coffee). I actually find I have more energy–not just ‘fake’ energy. Because I still love the taste of coffee, and it is such a big part of my social life, I just drink decaf now. I’m a better mom without the crazy caffeinated feeling 😉

  4. I so relate to this! I’ve been tired for months and it has started to feel like I’m always going to be this way, even though I know in my logical brain that this is just a long cycle. One thing that helps me is to make sure I don’t drink any caffeine in the afternoon – my cut off is 1pm. At least it helps me sleep better, though, like you, I zone out on the couch often, instead of just going to bed!

  5. I am in the same place. I’m a full-time working (also introverted) mommy and my husband has been working nights. So, by the time daddy leaves for work and baby girl is in bed, I feel so spent, I too would prefer to zone out on the couch, or “drown my sorrows” in a chocolate peanut butter concoction, or ice cream… I delay going to bed, and avoid exercise. My “exercise” is a 30 minute pilates DVD, that ALWAYS makes me feel better, but I’d prefer to wallow in my emotional fatigue. It’s encouraging that, not only are other people in the same place, but I also needed the reminder that it IS an unhealthy cycle that must be shut down by healthy choices. I really needed this today. Thanks!

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