May 28 – Busyness/Exhaustion/Sleep

Busyness, exhaustion, and sleep (or lack thereof) all go hand in hand. When we keep ourselves so busy all the time, we don’t allow ourselves to rest and recover. We become so anxious and on edge with nervous energy that sleep becomes impossible. It is a vicious cycle of exhaustion. Nonstop busyness runs us down, and our nerves over being so busy prevents us from sleeping well, which exhausts us even more. We just can’t win!

house beside river

On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:

“One of the side effects of our lives as women who do too much is that we get ourselves so keyed up that we cannot get the rest and sleep we so desperately need. We are constantly on the run. Even when our bodies are ready to drop from exhaustion, we cannot relax and let them experience the soothing regeneration of deep sleep. Sometimes, even when we try to let down, it is too painful to let go, and we find we cannot. We are deprived of the healing that occurs in the alpha phase of sleep. We travel on nerves worn ragged like socks that have not been mended by caring hands. We have deprived ourselves of the unconscious experience of pulling together the tattered and torn threads of our souls and reweaving the holes gouged out by the civility of daily skirmishes. We need our rest.”

Being run down and deprived of rest is a feeling I relate to deeply. I have often suffered from lack of sleep during my most stressful and anxious times, as well as an inability to relax and recuperate no matter how exhausted or in need of rest I was. I still struggle to relax. I find it uncomfortable to do nothing but be present in the moment and enjoy my surroundings. As a recovering workaholic and woman who does too much, my mind is always racing to the next project, seeking to find more ways for me to be productive and accomplish things. I am so goal oriented and driven that I have forgotten how to let go and simply be. I long to enjoy the quiet stillness and peace of a moment alone, nothing to do and no preoccupation of what comes next. I know that with practice I will learn to enjoy a little more, to sink into rest with ease. Perhaps I may even learn to approach life always from a relaxed state of mind. No more frantic rushing and worrying. It’s imperative that we learn, for without rest, we are frazzled, the ends of our nerves frayed, ready to snap at any moment. Most of life is simply learning to let go. It’s time we embraced that and said goodbye to our ceaseless busyness once and for all.

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