I ask people how they are. You do too. One of the top responses is: “I’m tired.” We are tired of being stressed out. We are tired of boredom. We are tired of having our responsibilities exceed our resources.
Here are three reasons we are experiencing emotional and physical fatigue.
- You are too busy doing the wrong things.
Doing the right things energizes us. Going to the zoo with the kids. Serving a meal to hungry people. Taking a walk through the woods. Whatever it is that works for you. Doing the wrong things drains us. Striving for perfection at the party you are hosting only to be exhausted during the party and having a mess to clean up after the party. Responding to an email that didn’t even need to be read, and you got three new ones when you were replying.
- You don’t have much margin in various areas of your life.
Always wondering if we are going to have enough money to make it through the month is stressful. Being over-scheduled (or even fully-scheduled) wears us out. We can only hustle from one place to the next or one task to the next for so long before fatigue sets in. Having no margin for error is no way to live because errors are inevitable and you know that.
- You aren’t living in the present.
The only thing that is going to drain your energy reserves like holding onto yesterday’s regret is worrying about tomorrow’s problems. Not living in the present denies you life’s great moments, but it steals your time and energy.
And here are five things you can do about being tired.
- Settle for excellence.
You aren’t created to be perfect. Mistakes show your humanity and help you learn. You will wear yourself out trying to achieve perfection and you’ll be disappointed when you fail. Here is a better goal: excellence.
- Declutter and simplify.
Part of your fatigue comes from the complexity of your life. Machines with many moving parts break down more often than machines with few parts. Get rid of stuff that is only getting in the way. Stop doing unproductive undertakings. Streamline your schedule.
- Make three lists.
- The people you like to spend time with.
- The things you like to do.
- The places you want to go.
Hang out with these people. Do these things. Go to these places.
- Hit the “off” button.
Being connected all day, everyday is wearing you out. Disconnect for an hour, an evening, a day. The world will get by fine without you and you’ll get some rest.
- Claim a promise.
In the grand scheme of things, we are beings—not doings. God rested. The Psalmist tells us to be still. Jesus tells us to go to him and he will give us rest. The rhythms of his grace restore us and renew us.