If you carried a 25-lb. weight with you everywhere you went, all day long, you’d be drained by the end of the day. Now, imagine doing that for weeks, months and in some cases years! You would be so physically drained that you almost wouldn’t be able to function, and yet that is exactly what we do with our problems.
Our problems constantly drain our mental and spiritual energy each second of the day. Because it’s our mind and spirit though, we somehow convince ourselves that we can “handle it” or that “everybody” has problems. Yet, if we’re physically tired or worn out we’d lay down and sleep or at least rest. Mentally that’s another story…
“I’LL JUST POWER THROUGH IT!” No, “Enough is Enough!” You deserve to work at 100%, but that means listening to your body AND your mind. When you’re feeling recharged and calm, you’re open to life and you can focus. When you are mentally weary, you can’t focus, and you end up making more mistakes. Then you become more frustrated and mentally tired – casting you into a vicious circle that only deepens.
When you feel yourself getting mentally fatigued, take a break. It doesn’t have to be a long break, and the people around you won’t even have to know what you’re doing. There is a great scene in the movie “The Hustler” where Jackie Gleason’s character (Minnesota Fats) is getting beat, so he takes a break. He goes into the bathroom, looks into the mirror, washes his hands and face, adjusts his collar and gets back to winning the game. Those kinds of small breaks are all we need sometimes to clear the cobwebs out and get a clear look at where we are and in some cases, a new or better way to get where we want to go. Unless you’re a professional pool hustler playing someone named “Fast Eddie Felson,” give some of these ideas a shot.
Leave your desk or work area. Sometimes just moving from a place of stress into another area, opens up more focus and energy. Go for a walk outdoors or down the hallway. Walk to the elevator and go one floor up and then take the stairs back down. Wherever you might be, close your eyes and just smile for about 30 seconds and breathe as deeply as you can. Even if you don’t think there is anything to smile about, close your eyes and smile anyway. You might feel kind of goofy at first, by I guarantee that you’ll start to feel better. Say a short prayer, not for success but of gratitude. Mediate about thankfulness and gratitude over what’s gotten you to where you are right now. Make a short photo catalog on your phone with pictures that make you smile and happy. When you’re weary or stressed, take a minute to look through them. Various things are going to work for different people. Experiment and find out what works best for you.
Now as we’re discovering new ways to relax, it’s also important to get rid of the things causing our stress. Many times, that comes from us lamenting, fretting, worrying and rehashing things over and over and over and over and over.
This is where that word “awareness” comes into play. We need to listen and when we hear the same words or phrases over and over in our mind. It’s time to step in and say stop!
Be on the lookout for phrases like “I just can’t,” I’m so tired of…” “What am I missing?” or “Why won’t this work!?!” over and over. Your mind is telling you that it needs a break.
Finally, back to the 25-lb. weight for a moment. If you had several of those weights in front of you and you tried to lift them and couldn’t, you’d either figure out another way to do it or ask somebody for help, right? Well, allow the same with your mind! When you get to a place where you’re “stuck,” stop and take a moment. Stop and ask someone for help. A fresh set of eyes just might help to find another path and allow you to recharge. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. In fact, asking for help is not only a sign of strength but a wonderful way to recharge from the positivity and kindness of someone else.
Your best work happens when your mind is sharp and “alive.” You are only human (Even though that’s not what you’d like to believe.) and can only do, what you can do. Pay attention to the signs and when you feel yourself beginning to feel mentally weary, stop and recharge. From 30 seconds to a two-week vacation to taking a break from whatever your “Fast Eddie Felson” is. Recharge knowing you deserve the time it takes to get back to the best you – you can be. You deserve that!