Self care for the exhausted. It’s 11:00 p.m. and your family is asleep. The perfect time to do something for yourself. There’s just one problem. You are too exhausted to do anything! Whew! What a day. You know you should practice some self care, but it seems so hard to do.
You are not alone. Feeling too exhausted for self care is common among women these days. Even a ten minute hot bath seems too much to achieve after a full day’s work and wrangling children to bed. Do you hear the litter patter of little feet that are supposed to be in bed?
Let’s give this some more thought before we dismiss self care. Think of it in terms of energy spent and reward received. Looking at it this way can help you determine what self care activities to practice, depending on how much energy you have to put into it, and how much reward you want out of it.
Energy Levels – Self Care For The Exhausted
Think about energy requirements. Some self care activities require very little energy. They are just the plain ole’ simple ones that are super duper easy. What’s easy for some, may not seem easy for others, but here are some examples: watching or streaming your favorite show on TV, meditating, enjoying a cup of coffee or hot tea in ten minutes of peace, taking a hot twenty minute bath, or a short ten minute session of yoga. Notice my hot bath sessions are shorter than my yoga sessions. Lol!
All of these activities are fairly easy for me to do without going anywhere or having extra cash, or a lot of time. With the exception of yoga (depending on what type), I can perform all of these self-care activities when I’m really tired and drained of energy. I urge you to make a list of “low energy” self-care activities you can do without much effort or time involved.
There are also high energy self care activities. These, of course, take more time and energy from you. These might include activities like, a one hour work out, going for a long walk, going for a challenging hike, etc. These activities also require some planning and forethought. Make another list of “high energy” self-care activities for yourself. Make a mental note that these activities are better when you have a little more energy and more time to yourself.
If you give it some thought, you may come to the conclusion that low energy self care activities will produce a lower reward than high-energy self care activities. Low energy activities feel great while you perform them, but the benefits don’t last very long afterward. On the other hand, those high energy self care activities have high rewards because their benefits last longer. For example: if you take a long walk, you can feel the energy surge from it for quite sometime during the day. So when thinking about self care, think about the reward as well. Think about the activities that really give you a high return on your time and energy investment. Let’s face it… time is your most important investment in yourself, because it’s precious to you.
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, high reward are the things that truly fill you up and can make your whole day better. High reward activities don’t always make your day happier or easier. You might need to cry about something you’ve held inside for weeks, or have a heart-to-heart conversation with a friend, but the purge is where the reward is in this case. Also, you will feel less burdened, which, makes you feel better in the long run.
Keep in mind that if a low-energy self care activity offers significant relief to you, then it has a high reward. So there are times that something requiring less energy has more benefits. That is still high reward self care. An example for me is writing. My brain is fully engaged, it takes a lot of time to get my thoughts down, it’s difficult to do on a regular basis, but it is most sacred to me because I get a great sense of relief and accomplishment when I complete what I am writing about.
What To Do For You, When You Are Exhausted
When you have very little energy to spare for yourself, look for self care activities that fall into both the low energy and high reward categories. These will give you the biggest value for what you are able to put into them at the time. If nothing on your list immediately meets both criteria, then start with your high reward activities and get creative with them.
For example, going to lunch with my close friend is one of my high reward activities. It doesn’t take that much time and energy, but just talking together has a very high reward for me. Sometimes, we can’t clear our schedules to meet at the same time for lunch, so we FaceTime while drinking coffee instead. This interaction recharges my batteries and I feel refreshed enough to get back to work.
Your list will be different from mine or anyone else’s. Maybe watching your favorite show ever is absolutely high reward for you. Perfect! Enjoy that and soak up the self care (sip a cup of hot tea while watching). Bam! You just doubled and enriched your self care. It’s all about making self care as easy as possible and accepting that you will have different amounts of mental, physical, and emotional energy at different times. The goal here is to refuel your batteries and flourish so you can nourish the ones you love!
Hey you. Take care of Y-O-U!
Until next time… keep running on Concealer & Caffeine!
Paula B. – Owner/Creator