Feel like you’re always running just above empty? You wouldn’t be the only one. Here’s why we’re always tired.
Well, maybe a few potential reasons why anyway.
I love asking people about their weekends. I think it says so much about a person the way they spend the time they aren’t at work (unless they work on the weekends, then… I guess I ask about their days off). People talk about their hobbies or their interests, the people they know, the restaurants they like, the weddings and parties they got to be a part of. It’s a really cool way to uncover what a person’s world is truly like.
More and more though, I’m noticing that more and more people are saying of their weekends or their time off that it’s a good time to catch up on sleep and have a relaxed one. I’m all for that. In fact one of my highest priorities on a weekend is to ensure I try to have a morning free and an afternoon free, just to spend on time for me.
But something I do find interesting is that when you ask someone how their Monday morning is, they give the answer “I’m tired”. In fact, you ask some people on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday… any time or any day of the week, their answer is the same. Heck, you ask someone a week later how they’re doing, tired is probably still the same answer you’ll get. Some people almost exclusively give the answer that they’re tired. Maybe you can relate.
And hey, I’m all for honesty. I love it when people are raw and real. But if it is truly and honestly the case that a lot of us really are always tired, maybe it’s time we have an honest look at why this might be so.
Now I’m no sleep professor, but I do know people. And honestly some of the best lessons you can learn are about yourself, as well as watching and learning from others. Here are some of the reasons why we might always be tired.
I think sometimes we forget that we have a soul, but we still live in a body. And the body does have its limits. There are a lot of common sense reasons why we might be tired – not sleeping enough, lack of exercise, too much exercise, diet, too high a heart rate before bed, over-exertion. There are also some extenuating circumstances in the body that can keep energy levels low – lack of Vitamin D, iron deficiencies, and so on.
Definitely worth acknowledging these from the outset. Sometimes people are afraid to see a local GP if their symptoms continue to persist. I don’t think there’s any weakness in doing so, and it may just help you find the answers you’re looking for.
And yet, there can be times where the body can have every reason to be awake, and yet you’re not. Where you catch up on so much sleep, but you’re not at rest. Let’s consider some of the other things that can slow us down.
Issues of the heart
There’s an old song that emphatically points out, “There’s a hole in your bucket”. Classic little tune. But this is exactly what happens when we are confronted with an issue of the heart. And it can be something that saps our strength. And you can be all systems go, all green lights, fire blazing, kicking goals, soaring through life.
But if there’s a hole in your bucket, slowly and steadily, you will start to wear out.
When I’ve had problems with my car before, I’ve sometimes been able to get away with fixing them by continuing to drive with them. Could be an oil leak or a problem with the ECU, but as long as you keep moving, you don’t really notice it.
That’s how a lot of us deal with our heart problems. We keep the pedal down. All cylinders firing and filling all the idle time and blank space and silence in our lives with noise and busyness. That way we can push past the problem. Constant activity can drown it out.
But what eventually happens is exactly what happens to a car owner who is ignored their engine problems. Eventually momentum and busyness stop being able to mask the problems, and the engine eventually gives out. Solomon said that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”.
If you’re facing heartache, or disappointment, or confusion, maybe unforgiveness, could be loneliness, whatever that issue is in your heart – you can keep it up, but only before so long, before you will give out.
Reach out for help before you really do some damage to yourself.
Not taking a Sabbath
Ah, the humble Sabbath. The Jews used to take one day of the week where they wouldn’t work. And by that, I mean that they would literally do nothing. They wouldn’t cook, they wouldn’t carry things, and their family wouldn’t either. It was a day dedicated to rest and remembrance.
Our modern lives are so busy that it isn’t always practical to take a full day off in succession. Maybe it is for you. Something I do is I try to observe a Sabbath throughout the week. I’ll make sure one of my weeknights is free, usually a Saturday morning, and usually a Sunday afternoon. If some event comes up that takes one of those slots, I’ll compensate by taking another night off, or perhaps swap out the weekend time slots.
You’ll find that a lot of the most successful people are great at their work, but they’re equally great at their rest.
What is it that truly relaxes you? Make sure that there is space in your week that is prioritized towards doing just that. That will make your work and focused time even more effective.
Not being sure what you’re doing or why you’re doing it
Here is what I think is one of the biggest realities of our exhaustion. It’s the feeling that deep down, you’re not entirely sure what you’re doing, or why you’re doing it.
A lot of us don’t want to face this thought in our lives. We feel it somewhere, we kind of get this sense, but we’ll refuse to acknowledge it. Because we’re supposed to have it together. Because we’re supposed to be well established. Because we have dependents and people looking to us. Or maybe even just because we feel the need to keep up appearances.
And yet, secretly, we are frustrated inside. As a result, we end up filling our schedule with loads of tasks. Catch up with all these people, and work this many hours on this project, and I guess we need to also make sure we visit this place, and I guess it sounds important that I should be doing this extra little bit here, and I can’t really have a break because then I’ll feel like I’m wasting time so I’ll make sure I’m being productive by…
…wearing ourselves out. And doing all these things that we thought would make us feel productive, but really, they’re just sapping our strength.
I wonder if you would be so brave if you are facing this feeling to lay aside your pride and be real for a moment. To take a moment of honesty to stop having to appear like it’s all hunky dory and face the reality that, “hey, maybe I’m not exactly too sure where I’m meant to be right now”.
I know that if I’ve found myself unsure of what I’m meant to be doing, even the most right and the most noble things can sap my strength. The task and the cause seem great, but because I’m not sure if it’s where I’m meant to be, then it is a complete drain.
Ah, but to know both who I am and what I’m called to do are the most freeing realities to discover. And it’s in these realities I find bold strength and confidence in what I do.
Take a look back at the promises and the purpose on your life. Who are you? Who are you really? Why are you here? Why now? Why is it that you feel the need to burn so much of your week on tasks you don’t feel any affinity for? What is it that is consuming your energy? And what is it that should be?
If you don’t know, now is the right time to ask. To stop. To listen. And then to follow.
It isn’t God’s plan for you or for me to be worn out, tired, empty people, but rather to be people who live life and live it to the fullest.
There of course can be other things that can wear us out, like worry, fear, teary nights, and so on. What are some things you’ve observed have worn you out before? What are your thoughts on some of the reasons above?