Do you have PPE?
The world is opening and all I feel is anxiety and exhaustion.
My husband and I went to London recently to celebrate his 40th Birthday with friends.
The whole weekend was a surprise and after several rearranges, (thank you lockdown) we were on our way.
On the drive to London, I started to feel, well weird and I couldn’t decipher what it was I was feeling. Were these nerves, excitement, anxiety, fear?
Our first evening was really all about adjusting. It felt strange to not be at home and suddenly in the company of other people…complete strangers.
We quickly realised that not everyone was as spatially aware (2 meters folks!) and that a random shoulder rub by a clumsy passing stranger sent us into a complete spin.
Cue feelings of stress!
It was during what was supposed to be an enjoyable relaxing weekend away that we both realised our nerves were frayed and we were both pooped. In fact, exhausted.
If I hadn’t arranged for his closest friends to join us for dinner the next day, I think we would have put the Do not Disturb sign on the door and slept for the next 48 hours!
Now whilst we were both aware of some of the reasons, we were feeling exhausted, I had started a new business during the first lockdown, my husband had continued to work throughout, and we had also been going through the gruelling experience of IVF.
But this exhaustion felt different.
We were mentally, physically and emotionally over this. So over it that the reverse had happened, instead of feeling excited to be out in London we were apprehensive, nervous, and too shattered to enjoy it.
This exhaustion is so real, we are all so tired, we have been floored by recent events, but we’ve had to keep going. We’ve had no choice.
Kids still needed their education, work needed to get done, houses needed an extension or a repaint, a side hustle had to be found and so on and so and so on…
For many of my clients, it was the 3rd lockdown in January in the UK that hit the hardest. Our optimism had taken a big hit and our morale was in the toilet. Add rubbish weather to the mix and well we were all struggling to find the motivation to get out of bed.
So much had changed, so many lives lost, so many worries and questions. Will the vaccines work, when will the schools reopen, will I keep my job, will masks have to be worn for our foreseeable future?
We were also bored and had run out of boxsets worth watching, we were busier than ever having to wear more hats than usual, we were zoomed out, we had no idea what to eat next, exercise felt like something better suited to drier days and we had definitely over done the booze (well some of us).
We were all stuck in our own personal Groundhog Day, doing the same things over and over and over again, wondering what we needed to do to finally be released from our own personal hell.
So, with my new awareness of my exhaustion and a growing list of clients saying they felt close to burnout I put into action my energy increasing plan.
I made feeling more energised my most important mission.
Here is what I tried;
Firstly, I looked at sleep, had my pattern changed? The quick answer was yes. So, I decided to go to bed earlier with a good book and be consistent with the time I got up in the mornings.
I realised that working from home had given me great flexibility, but my body clock was all over the place.
It was too easy to say yes to one more episode of something rubbish or hit snooze on the alarm.
For others it has been more serious anxiety that has interfered with sleep. So I urge you that If you feel constantly fatigued no matter how much sleep you’re getting it could be that you are experiencing depression and professional help should be sought.
Next, I looked at my diet, this is an area I’m always working on. Cheese, cheese and more cheese. C’mon I’m human a cheese toastie or yet another sandwich was an easy option for lunch.
So reluctantly (cheese and I have been together for a long time) I decided to plan more and order veggie boxes and other meal prep to help us eat better.
It worked and took a lot of the hassle out of meal planning and the arguments over who was going to do the dreaded supermarket shop.
Routine, I know it sounds dull but it works. We are after all creatures of habit so by building new healthy habits, some structure and routine around ourselves we start to move towards better wellbeing.
We also decided to stay committed to our boundaries, saying no can be tricky at the best of times and after spending so much time at home and feeling excited about everything, it was too tempting to say yes and over commit and add to our exhaustion.
Our two dogs Dolly and Roy make exercise a non-negotiable in our house. We did however decide to include exercises that was just for us, something we enjoyed, all hail the Couch to 5K app.
Mental fitness remains always on the list for me, working with coaches, self study, connection and growing as a person.
Finally, we decided to go back to the things we found during lockdown that we enjoyed and found time for. What was it for you? Was it baking, reading, exercising or a new hobby?
Really the solution for us was quite simple in the end, it was self-care, care over our priorities and not losing sight of where we found our joy and relaxation.
We are still working on our rejuvenation project (lets call it) and its possibly going to take some time. So, we are taking things slowly, doing things at a speed that suits us and taking the time to enjoy what’s been around us to help us through the pandemic in the first place.
Do get help if you need it. The pandemic has thrown us a really unique set of circumstances. I have really valued the communities I am part of, continuing my self development journey and working with coaches during this time of adjustment.
If you’d like to know more about coaching with me, click the link to arrange a clarity call and experience coaching.
Let me know in the comments what you’ve tried and what has worked for you to overcome PPE (exhaustion)?