Tired in its most basic form means that we are lacking in sleep or rest. Tired also has some connotations along the lines of feeling unwell, feeling groggy and feeling like you want to lie down. But tired can be an indicator beyond just a physical sensation. Tired can suggest a problem especially if it is constant. Tired can mean a lack of prioritisation for our sleep, a kind of involuntary indifference to what lies ahead (lack of excitement), a need for stillness and quietness, and a need for time to recharge. In extreme circumstances, tired can also be a symptom of serious illness. Tired is one way our body asks us to take a break, to disconnect, or to step away. Our perception of how we feel is not always on the mark so when we have a feeling like ‘tired’ we need to analyse it to determine what we really need. How often have you slept for 12 hours straight and still felt tired? This kind of tired is usually a signal that we need to go outside and get some fresh air. Do you feel hungry late at night? This is a sign that your body is craving energy to keep going. Instead of feeding yourself, most of the time you need to rest. The body’s signals are not always clear but by getting to know ourselves better, we can start to learn and appreciate our patterns. This is not necessarily a scientific endeavour so we have to try different things to see if they alleviate this feeling of tired. Tired can never be accepted as okay over a long period. If you are always tired, then something is wrong. Do not ignore what your body is telling you. Take care of yourself.
It is a fine balance in life that we must strike – the balance between doing and not doing and ensuring that when we *are* doing, that we are doing the right things. We vastly overestimate what we have time to accomplish and then berate ourselves when we don’t achieve everything as quickly as we hoped. We are encouraged to carry on in the face of fatigue and while sometimes this is necessary, we can’t do it forever. At some point, tired will catch up with you and squash you like a bug. Your immune system will weaken or your focus will be lost and something will happen to you that forces you to take a break. Our brains are wired in a way that favours short-term thinking. Our survival instincts tempt us to do what helps us survive right now without much consideration for the longer term of our survival. This is why temptations are so tempting. Taking care of yourself in the bigger picture and over the long-term is a function of the neocortex but this part of the brain is the first to struggle under stress.
We also tend not to take adequate time to recover from illness. There is no support generally in society that allows people to rest and recover. Because of this contagious people go out to work and infect others, tired people get behind the wheel of a car, or we start fights with those we love because we are pushing at our limits. We have to make difficult choices when we choose to take care of ourselves. Ideally we can find a pace that allows us to be productive and accomplish the things we want to get done but also respecting the requirements of taking care of our bodies and minds. This is particularly difficult to achieve if you have an outstanding deficit to make up in terms of health and well being. Trying to get healthy in any sense alongside the pressures of life is incredibly difficult. This does not mean it isn’t possible but you have to go in knowing that you will fail over and over again but each time you must get back up and keep going. You have to master thinking over the long-term and you must consider your health and well-being as important enough to take action.
If you want something to read that will help to understand the science behind thinking in the long-term, I would recommend a book called “The Marshmallow Test: Understanding Self-Control and How to Master It“.
As always, a simple but powerful way to start taking care of yourself is to Choose Silence. A few minutes of your time each day to begin reconnecting with you and what you need.