Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling tired? I mean REALLY TIRED? So tired that the mere thought of getting out of bed sounds like the hardest thing you’ll ever do in your life?
There are lots of reasons why you may feel tired in the morning.
I woke up feeling tired this morning because my wife and I watched the Friends: Reunion Special last night. I was tired because we started the episode past my bedtime and regardless of how little sleep I get, my dogs still need to be fed and walked in the morning.
I’m sure many of you have felt tired in the morning after drinking too much the night before. The only difference is you’re not actually tired. You’re hungover and you’re confusing the feeling of physical exhaustion with day-after-drunkenness.
You may also feel tired because you have a significant work deliverable due the following morning and you’re losing sleep about not completing it in time. You’re really anxious and that’s making you feel tired.
While all three of these examples may feel the same, tiredness, drunkenness and anxiety are all different feelings. Your ability to discriminate between them and name them will make it easy for you to deal with them.
Another feeling: burnout
Monday to Friday. A typical work week-from-home.
The days are long — usually somewhere between eight and nine hours.
You’re parked in your designated work-from-home area — that room or corner of your home that sometimes feels like it no longer belongs to you.
You log in to your computer, take a look at your calendar and check your emails. At 9:30am, the virtual meetings begin. Thirty to sixty-minute slots, where the only question is whose face will show up next on your computer screen.
6pm rolls around and your brain is fried. You want to spend time with your family, but you have trouble focusing. All you can think about is bedtime. You’re completely exhausted.
That was me for most of May. I was losing focus at work and was feeling tired all the time. My reality: work-from-home burnout.
I took last week off
Work-from-home burnout is a newer phenomenon exacerbated by COVID. Since the onset of the pandemic, people are working longer hours and taking less vacation time. Prior to last week, I was of the mindset that I would postpone my vacation until I could actually go somewhere. I kept saying to myself that vacation during a lockdown is pointless.
I no longer believe this to be true. As I shared earlier, I was having a hard time focusing and felt exhausted. The sheer thought of doing anything I enjoy like spending time with my wife, practicing suspension yoga, standup paddle boarding and cycling felt like too much of an effort. When I realized this feeling was likely attributed to the fact that I’ve been working endlessly since January, I knew I needed to step away from work for a week.
What was amazing is I didn’t experience a moment of boredom. Between yoga, paddle boarding, cycling, working on my yard, catching up with family and friends…I now feel relaxed and rejuvenated. What’s more: I no longer feel I need to go somewhere to enjoy my time away from work. I dealt with my burnout.
Discriminating between your feelings is a critical part of your self-awareness journey. It’s so important to identify what you’re feeling so that you can make a plan to address what may be bothering you.
Avoid falling into the trap of just saying ‘I’m tired’. Instead, think about the underlying reasons why you may be feeling ‘tired’. You may actually be feeling something completely different.
And if it’s burnout, take time off!