Exhausted? Think Anxiety. (And Try This.)



Updated: August 15, 2017


I am exhausted. Every single day.

Are you?

We’re not alone. Complaints about fatigue are regularly reported to doctors.


Why So Much Exhaustion?

Simple. Thanks to the ever present ‘breaking news’ cycle, we are called upon to absorb difficult world events, hour after hour. We race through life too fast. We stress about the wrong things. We do not decompress and tune out enough.

Nonetheless, a general disclaimer about exhaustion: if you are chronically exhausted, talk to your doctor. Prolonged, unexplained weariness may have a medical basis.

Medical issues and the culture we live in, aside, many of us suffer intense fatigue for psychological reasons. Think chronic anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, a highly sensitive temperament and other afflictions therein.

My own pattern of immense fatigue (now decades long) is a daily phenomenon. I have no doubt  that it is anxiety related.

I have yet to find a way to beat the crushing fatigue that has smothered me since my youth, an exhaustion most commonly present in the early afternoon.  A “medical” source has long been ruled out.

I suspect that the brain and body can only handle so much.


The Remedy

For me, the major remedy is extra rest. In the form of a daily nap.

Getting extra rest is critical to my wellness.

The body and mind doesn’t ignore, forget, or set aside what we’ve been through in our lives, as much as we’d like it to. The body and mind remembers. The body and mind responds. The affected person has to respond too.

About chronic anxiety alone, writers from calmclinic.com concur: “Anxiety [can] leave you feeling incredibly drained.”

Add a few additional afflictions and diagnoses, and you get the picture.


If You Are Exhausted, Why Not Rest?

Not rocket science.

Consider this: While 85% of mammalian species are ‘polyphasic‘ sleepers, meaning that they sleep for short bursts throughout a day, humans are ‘monophasic‘ sleepers –  we have one period for sleep, one period for wakefulness.

But the monophasic ‘human’ sleeping pattern is not suited for everyone!

After all, says The National Sleep Foundation, “Young children and elderly persons nap…and, napping is a very important aspect of many cultures.”

And from Belle Beth Cooper: “the world’s population sleeps in diverse ways, [and] daytime napping is common…from India to Spain.”

Would you deny a small child or elderly person a nap?

Why would you deny yourself extra rest when you’re chronically exhausted?

Your body and mind has requirements that must be met!


Extra Rest Is Essential For Mental Health

For me, it’s simple. A nap revives. It provides a daily mini vacation from stress. The benefits: improved alertness. Better productivity. A boost to stamina, mood, memory. A necessary break from life.

While there are downsides to naps, too – excessively long naps can affect nighttime sleep quality, and too much sleep in a day in general can be a sign of depression – a nap is otherwise blissfully rejuvenating.

How long a nap? I don’t pay attention to strict guidelines. Everyone’s need for rest is different. I recommend that you experiment with nap duration, use common sense, and find out what works best for you.


Best Tips For A Restorative Nap

  • Do not ingest foods high in salt, caffeine, fat or heavy spices before a nap. If you do, you are more than likely to rest poorly.
  • Try a guided meditation prior to a nap. It will calm your mind, ease any anxiety and prepare you for sleep. Yoga Nidra for Sleep is excellent.
  • If you’re groggy when you wake from a nap (a common complaint) prepare a beverage, sit for a short while, relax. Soon afterwards you will find that you can resume a productive day or evening with a brighter, more alert spirit.

Providing yourself with more rest is a surprisingly loving and powerful form of self-compassion. It is one of the kindest things you can do for an overwhelmed mind, a stressful life, a ridiculously busy schedule, a mind that never stops.

The trick is to find time for it. I will leave that part up to you.

While a nap won’t cure chronic exhaustion that comes from a challenging or difficult life, it will surely help you cope with it better.







This entry was posted on Friday, April 24th, 2015 at 3:00 am and is filed under Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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