Thursday, January 24, 2013

Exhaustion: A Friend and Foe


I believe that there are three forms of exhaustion:

  1. Physical exhaustion: When you haven't been sleeping well or ran a marathon and your body is crying, begging, to just shut down and sleep for awhile. 
  2. Mental exhaustion: When your brain hasn't been able to shut off because you're just so busy. Work is busy, then you have 92352084 things to do when you're not at work; you get your sleep at night but that still isn't enough. This is where my slight introverted personality comes into play: I may have been around friends, family, co-workers too much and I just need to recharge alone.
  3. Emotional exhaustion: Similar to mental exhaustion but slightly different in that you're left feeling, well, exhausted. But emotionally so. You could also call it being emotionally raw. Too much has happened, there's too much stress or sadness on your mind, and you are either a crying mess or a stoic person with no feelings because it's just too much and, as I say, you need a vacation from life to get away from all the upsetting, stressful things you've dealt with.
I know all three exhaustions quite well. Sometimes one form leads to another, sometimes one form will save me from another, but I know them and know them well -- especially since the end of November. 

For the past month and a half I've been dealing with all three forms of that exhaustion. I don't like to be so worn out, it leaves me behaving like an old lady because all I want is to be in bed and asleep, but it's also brought on something rather good.

During the past couple of weekends I have done everything in my power to do... nothing. Just to sleep when I want to, not go out and socialize, and simply try to reboot. 

It's been working: I feel every week like I'm more normal and "human" -- whatever that means. And with the slow return of my physical energy, my mental and emotional exhaustion has become easier to deal with.

Through these few weekends I've also had the pleasure of realizing what it is that really helps me to get over stressful situations and weeks of exhaustion: books. 

Most of my weekends I've spent in my pajamas, happy as a clam with messy hair or having it in a hap-hazardous braid, I get up early enough and make coffee which I enjoy during those quiet morning hours. I get to watch the light grow in my room, the white glow that only morning provides, all while I feast on a warm cup of chocolate or vanilla flavored brew.



The rest of my days have been spent in bed, nestled amongst my pillows and blankets with a book nearby. It could be seen as sad, lonely, or maybe depressed or introverted, but I realized that I loved and missed this.

In High School I used to spend most of my free time reading or dancing. I watched a decent amount of TV but never as much as my peers and my parents generally didn't let me go out -- I wasn't hanging out at the mall and I didn't go to the movies very often -- and without internet until I was sixteen (and even after, it was monitored). I had a lot of free time on my hands. No cell phone, not much computer usage, and no license -- I was stuck at home in a country town. 

At times it bothered me; why couldn't I be like other teenagers? But wasn't that the same question most teens were asking no matter their "clique" structure at school or where they lived? Teens are forever cursed to wish for something better and not pay much attention to the good which is right in front of them. 

Yet I could often times forget my yearning to be like others when I'd escape in books. I no longer was trapped in my tiny town in the country of New York. I was flying to Neverland, creeping on the streets of New Orleans, or mailing traveling pants to friends. I escaped and explored and learned so much through the books I devoured, one after another, day after day.



I've come to appreciate and become familiar again with what is calming with one or all of these things:

  • Chocolates with tea or coffee
  • Warm blankets
  • Fresh air
  • Fresh flowers in the dead of winter
  • Soft music (8tracks.com how I love you!)
  • A cat or small dog on your lap
  • Books, all of the books, while curled up in bed

Maybe a little bit of exhaustion, no matter the type, is what is needed in life if only to force yourself to find ways to calm down. For me, I've rediscovered things that made my life feel perfect when I was a kid. I remembered the joy such acts gave me ten years ago and I am feeling a bit more relaxed now that I can return to those moments of peace.

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