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4 Unique Tips for Combating Exhaustion


Combating Exhaustion Andraea Lavant

Guest Post by Andraéa Lavant of AndraeaLavant.com

“I have nothing left to give.” At some point in your adulthood (some, more frequently than others), I’m sure you’ve made this statement, or something quite similar. Often it seeps out during one of those weeks when you feel like you were ripped off for hours in a day or when the pressure boils to a point where the simplest things tick you off (admittedly, for me, it was that time when the printer broke down at work and I had to do everything I could to hold back tears). Because I am a full-time wheelchair user, I can even reach a point where I literally cannot reach my keyboard to type one…more…word.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider my disability to be a burden at all. In fact, it has provided me with opportunities and experiences that I wouldn’t trade for the world; and yet, there are moments when the reality of my physical needs, along with the demands of my incredibly hectic schedule, collide. Most recently, it hit me in a way that I had never before experienced: I had to be hospitalized for pneumonia. Although I had taken my usual preventative measures for combating illness, like getting my annual flu shot, I still got sick. By the time I realized that I would need to be rushed to the emergency room, I knew without a doubt that I had run myself ragged, and the unpredictable weather and lack of rest had dramatically weakened my immune system.

After two weeks in the hospital, and over a month home to continue recovering, I have already begun to implement some strategies that I know will prove critical for ensuring that I don’t allow exhaustion to overtake me in the future. I hope these very tips will keep you from ending up where I did:

  1. Refuse to compare yourself to everyone else – Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Because I am a highly-driven person, I find myself often attempting to maintain schedules similar to my able-bodied peers. Typically, with a good night’s sleep, most people are rejuvenated for the next day. Given my physical disability, for me, a day or two of extensive strain, even mentally, may mean that my body is feeling it (or, generally, just not cooperating) for days on end. Thus, it’s important for me to be reminded that I am not the same as everyone else. My body is different. My feelings are different. My experiences are different. And that’s PERFECTLY ok! The same goes for you!

  2. Reduce everyday tasks to a minimum – I am one that finds great pleasure in my daily routines, like makeup application and even guiding my personal care attendant as she styles my hair. On days when I know I’ll need lots of energy, I must consciously choose to save my strength for the things that I know I must accomplish. This means that I may either limit my makeup choices to my staple products, like eyeliner, lipgloss/stick and liner, and an eyebrow pencil, or not wear any makeup at all. This might be a day when I have assistance throwing a scarf on my head and styling it in a cute manner. It could even mean that I stop and grab dinner out on my way home rather than exhaust myself meal-planning and prepping.

  3. Request assistance as needed – Other than asking my immediate family (who does not live close), in the past I have found it hard to ask for help when it is needed. Growing up, my parents fostered a spirit of independence in me that made me feel like I should be able to do anything. Now, while I do still feel that I can do anything, I also recognize that this “I can do it on my own” mentality can also serve as a form of haughtiness or pride that places me at the center and gives little room for me to foster relationships with others. Even still, refusing to request help from others can be downright exhausting. In this season where I have been incapacitated at points, I have quickly learned the importance of asking for help. I have found that, while it has been wonderful to receive the assistance, the side benefit has been that I have had wonderful opportunities to bond with friends.

  4. Remember to just “Keep Swimming” – Recently, a dear friend gave me a series of bracelets created by Daymond John, of ABC’s Shark Tank and founder of FUBU. One of the bracelets said, “KEEP SWIMMING: At the end of every race is a beginning of a new one.” Sometimes you may reach a point when your productivity doesn’t look quite like what you desired. You may feel so overwhelmed that it may seem easier to quit. DON’T DO IT!!! DON’T STOP. Sure, you may need to take breaks. In fact, take a full-on vacation or sabbatical (I know I’ve enjoyed mine). Take a nap. Do nothing for a while. Just don’t quit, as we all have goals to complete.

While exhaustion for you may look a bit different, certainly when you know there’s a heavy week ahead or behind you, I encourage you to sincerely evaluate your needs:

What are the unique traits about how your body or brain functions that you need to quit comparing to others? Are you an introvert that really needs to carve out time to be rejuvenated in an isolated space? Are you an extrovert that needs to carve out time to spend with others to be reenergized?

Are there any daily tasks that aren’t required? Do you REALLY need to make that meal that takes over an hour to prepare, or can you find a 30-minute meal? Is it possible to consolidate tasks, like doing desk exercises to serve as part of your workout routine while your mind is focused on another assignment?

[Tweet “Burnout is REAL! Check out these 4 amazing tips for combating exhaustion.”]

Burnout is REAL! Check out these 4 unique amazing tips for combating exhaustion.

About the Author:

Andraéa LaVant is a Blogger.Advocate.Innovator. that strongly believes in the power and freedom that self-expression brings. She is a sought after speaker, trainer and strategist, speaking specifically in regard to the inclusion of people with disabilities. Her blog, Infynite Expression, empowers people to embrace their uniqueness and enhance their style, and can be found on www.andraealavant.com.

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