November 2, 2021

Why Are We So Darn Tired?

by Jennifer Kane

Why Are We So Darn Tired?

Everyone seems to be exhausted these days.

Yes, the pandemic and politics are partially to blame, but I think technology is playing a role too.

Tech has wormed its way into our bedrooms at night, disrupting our sleep. It’s also messing with our days, throwing the balance between work and rest out of whack.

For example..

  • We sort of work all the time, (but in a way deemed more relaxed than decades past) like when we do some office emailing while watching our kid’s soccer match.
  • We sort of relax all the time too, by giving ourselves constant mini-breaks throughout the day, (and night) to check Instagram, watch a quick video, or text a friend.
  • We multitask during activities designed to recharge us, like when we scroll through Facebook while soaking in the tub or play on our phone when we’re hanging out with friends.
  • We “rest“ by dissociating and disconnecting from unpleasant tasks and emotions, like when we spend an entire evening binge watching TV in order to avoid confronting a spouse about the sink full of dirty dishes.

These blended boundaries make it difficult for us to ever be fully “on“ or “off“ in our lives, to fully rest, recharge, engage, and process. As a result, we simply limp along in low power mode, day after day.

My Active, But Not Productive, Morning

For example, the other morning I had a work disappointment that derailed me.

Rather than sitting with my sad feelings for even one minute, rather than figuring out how to address this disappointment, I decided to take a break instead.

  • I cleared out my email in-box
  • I brewed some tea
  • I watched a Dancing with the Stars performance while drinking the tea
  • I googled the DWTS contestant, cause I didn’t recognize their name
  • I watched another performance by that same celeb (oh hey, they’re good!)
  • I cleaned the toilet

All of that stuff took time and energy, but none of it really recharged me, (or made my sad feelings go away.) Regardless, after the break I felt ready to dive back into work.

And I DID work for another few hours on stuff not related to my disappointing news. However I still felt off, like I wasn’t exactly in the zone. Eventually I took another break.

  • I brewed and drank more tea
  • I buried a huge squirrel my dog had killed in the backyard
  • I posted about the squirrel on Facebook and texted a pic to my husband
  • I logged into my YouTube account to delete a new comment on one of my old videos from a person who said I looked like a man.
  • I rewatched the aforementioned video (Did I look like a man?)

Then before you know it, it was time for lunch!

The result of my morning’s efforts? Some OK, but not amazing work, lots of dance knowledge, a very shiny toilet, and a fresh grave in my yard.

Never Fully Off / Never Fully On

This is the merry-go-round many of us ride each day.

We stay busy by doing many, many, many things, (sometimes simultaneously!) all day long. We scroll news feeds, text friends, run errands, make calls, type words, watch videos, and do a host of other planned and unplanned tasks.

Most of these tasks don’t make us feel particularly great, recharged, or inspired. A lot ends up just being noise, filler, and fancy that occupies space in our minds but doesn’t feed our soul in any way.

This disconnect can lead to feelings of frustration, anger, exhaustion, or shame. Since those feelings suck, we ignore or override them by scrolling more news feeds, texting more friends, running more errands, making more calls, typing more words, and watching more videos.

This cycle is exhausting.

So yes, if you are stuck on that merry-go-round, I imagine you are tired.

I sure am.


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