Are You Always Exhausted?

Posted on Nov 2, 2016

Have you noticed that feeling exhausted is now the common cold of the human condition? We act like it’s not that debilitating. We pretend it doesn’t really negatively affect the people around us. We think that we don’t have to do anything about it and it will eventually resolve itself.

Exhaustion and depletion are not resolved by doing nothing.

For example, Betty came to see me because she felt like she was the camel who’s back was about to break—permanently on the brink of collapse.

One of the first steps I take with my clients is to look at the tasks and people that make them feel drained. I call them Energy Vampires because they eventually suck the joy out of life. Even thinking about the Energy Vampires zaps your energy a bit.

Betty’s energy vampire was dealing with her health insurance forms. She knew she had a lot of reimbursement money that she was entitled to but that was not enough to move her into action.

I always say, “If you can’t do the task, you have to work through the resistance.” That means we have to keep digging until we get to the root of the problem.

In this case, Betty felt stupid, overwhelmed and ashamed that she has let herself avoid it for so long. Who wants to feel like that? No wonder she doesn’t want to look at the task.

Betty has internalized the belief that it is best to be self-sufficient. She believes that if you want something done right, you should do it yourself. She felt that asking for help was admitting that she was not as strong, smart, capable etc. as she wants to be and to seem to the outside world.

Here are some telltale signs you need to ask for help:

  • You dread certain tasks to the point of mental paralysis.
  • You tell yourself that by the time you tell someone else to do this task, you could do it yourself.

  • You are envious or judgmental of people who do have the help they need.
  • You don’t have time to do the things that you really enjoy or you don’t have time for self-care.

After a lot of tears (shame is really painful), Betty was ready to accept the help she needed.

Here’s the plan we created once the shame obstacle was removed:

  1. First, we considered what kind of help she wanted. Betty wanted a teacher to walk her through the process.
  2. I connected her with someone who has tons of experience with the health insurance reimbursement process and now helps others get back the money they deserve.
  3. Once Betty understood the process, we chose a specific day every month to submit her forms going forward.
  4. We added this task to our monthly accountability check-in to keep her on track.

Sharing your struggles makes the experience less overwhelming and provides an ally to call upon when you are faced with fear, obstacles or setbacks. In this case, Betty needed emotional and tactical coaching to get through this energy vampire.

One of our biggest energy vampires is our inner critic who pushes us to deny or justify our need for help. The reality is that asking for help is what smart, strong people do to maximize their resources.