The total amount of physical, psychological and environmental stress we’re subjected to has quadrupled in the past 30 years. We have outpaced our biology and because many of these modern stressors are integral to our lifestyles, their effect is usually unconscious, slow and pernicious.
Please, sir, I want some more…
Naturally, the first thing that comes to mind when we hear exhaustion is sleep – or rather, the lack thereof. But if the problem isn’t quantity of sleep, it’s often its quality. It’s also true that many of us don’t prioritise sleep for the essential role it plays in being a fully functioning, energised human being.
The one thing that never sleeps…
It used to be that the world more or less shut down when night fell. But now a 24/7 communication and information system, whether through our smartphones, laptops, ipads, or all of the above, mean we’re always connected, always available, always on high alert.
Modern technology, far from saving us time, seems to mean we’re doing so much more. Before, everybody thought we would benefit from the invention of machines to carry out the more mundane tasks in our lives, leaving us far more time for leisure and relaxation.
Yet we’re more stressed and exhausted, because we have been liberated to do so much else and there’s no excuse anymore for us not to get things done. The modern world is ‘stuck in fast-forward’ and we often fail to notice the toll it takes on everything from our health to our relationships to the environment.
I work, therefore I am...
We work for various motives: to survive; to pay our debts; for creative or intellectual
fulfilment; to pursue status, opportunities or freedom, but do we really have to work this
Of course, some of these stressors are more within our control than others. We will always have deadlines, responsibilities and ambitions but those of us who are constantly exhausted, or rushing through our lives, might want to ask ourselves: how much of how we live is by choice?
How to minimise exhaustion in 10 steps:
1) Pace yourself. Don’t ignore those niggles suggesting you slow down.
2) Disconnect. Learn to live without your mobile.
3) Reconnect. Prioritise time both with your loved ones and yourself.
4) Meditate. Interrupt the worries, reflections, and projections of your mind.
5) Don’t multitask. When you engage the brain, focus on one activity at a time.
6) Take your lunch. And take regular breathing breaks to calm the body down.
7) Have an electronic sundown. Turn off all electronic gadgets by 10pm.
8) Celebrate the end of a deadline. Take time to congratulate yourself before moving on to the next one.
9) Don’t impose 'shoulds' on yourself. Spend time doing things you want to do not what others think you “should” be doing.
10) Practice restorative exercise. Exertion, rest and recovery are the body’s essential natural rhythm for movement.