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  • Writer's pictureBrienne Jennings

"I Need a Nap": Stop Ignoring Your Health for Work

For the better part of my life, I have always worked extremely hard and I’ve prided myself on that. I’ve always had a full-time job, took care of others, usually had an internship or second job, and the present is no different. For the past year, I have been working full-time, co-building this amazing business (with an awesome partner), taking care of my household, and trying to give my time away to anyone who needs it.

Saturday, I fell asleep at 4pm and didn’t wake up until 5am the next morning. Apparently, I needed a nap. I had been ignoring all of the red flags my body had been waving in my face about how little care I had been taking of myself. Instead of paying attention to my body, I would slap a “bandage” on it and keep going:

  • Headache? Have some Tylenol

  • Tired? Second cup of coffee

  • Sudden trouble remembering? Buy and use a ton of sticky post-its

  • Sad or anxious? Push through the moment.

  • Overwhelmed? Procrastinate and then get it done in the final hour

But instead of just coming up with a quick solution, how different would it be if I noticed my mental and physical exhaustion and actually addressed the cause?

Mental Exhaustion is when our brains are tired from being over-stimulated or goes without rest for long periods of time. You start making mistakes, forgetting things, becoming easily upset, experience anxiety, and all because you are over-worked.

  • Back-to-back meetings

  • Overwhelming responsibilities

  • Constantly problem-solving or being the “go-to” person

  • Working ridiculous hours with little time for rest

Physical Exhaustion is an overall feeling of tiredness in your body or a lack of energy. When you’ve hit the point of physical exhaustion, you run out of the motivation and energy to do anything. Physical exhaustion can come from:

  • Too much or too little physical activity

  • Little or no sleep

  • Poor diet

  • Illicit substance use

The mind and body are tightly connected and if you ignore one, you endanger the other. We can get into these routines where the top of our priority list becomes literally anything except our own well-being. When that happens, we get exhausted, both mentally and physically. We can experience forgetfulness, headaches, body aches and pains, anxiety, depression, sadness, loneliness, and a host of other warnings signs your body sends out to say, “Hey! You have to take care of us!”

This is your end of the week reminder that you have to take care of yourself, even in the midst of demanding jobs and people who need you. If you keep pouring out of yourself without replenishing your rest and wellness, you can burn yourself out and even become resentful of all that you do.

You can’t pour from an empty cup. Thrive Well!


Healthline: How to Treat and Prevent Mental Exhaustion

Healthline: Causes of Fatigue and How to Manage It

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