At 6:07 PM on Sunday evening, I got out of bed and showered. It was the first time I’d stood up for more than 15 minutes since arriving home from Austin, Texas, at 11:54 PM on Friday night.
Last week, I woke at 4:00 AM on Tuesday and went hard in the paint until the aforementioned 11:54 PM on Friday. I engaged morning, noon, and evening with the students of our class after spending weeks preparing two days’ worth of teaching material.
Thinking I was over a bug Sunday evening, I tried to engage with my family and found I had… nothing… no energy, no strength, no anything—save for a little dizziness. Back to bed I went.
This morning, I woke up around 6:45 to the same dead-legged dizziness.
“Is this exhaustion?” I wondered… “is exhaustion even really a thing?”
Yes. Exhaustion is really a thing.
The World Health Organization says medical exhaustion is a real consequence of various conditions, including heat, pregnancy, overexertion and combat. Prolonged periods of physical stress and sleep deprivation can cause problems that shouldn’t be ignored, they say, though Americans may not want to admit it.
”Exhaustion is real on many levels, but it’s not part of our medical lexicon,” said Dr. John Stracks, a mind-body specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Center for Integrative Medicine who treats chronic pain. “So when you hear about Muti (being prescribed rest), it seems like a spoof, which speaks to how jaded and hard-driving we are these days.”
The Internets (more specifically, the twitters) are abuzz today with the surprise retirement of 29-year-old Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. Last year’s winner of the NFL’s comeback player of the year stepped to the podium last night to bid his emotional farewell:
”This is not an easy decision. Honestly, it’s the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me. For the last four years or so, I’ve been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab, injury, pain, rehab, and it’s be unceasing, unrelenting, both in-season and offseason, and I felt stuck in it. The only way I see out is to no longer play football.
”I’ve been stuck in this process. I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. Taken the joy out of the game, and after 2016, when I played in pain and was unable to regularly practice, I made a vow to myself that I would not go down that path again. I find myself in a similar situation and the only way forward for me is to remove myself from football and this cycle that I’ve been in.
”I feel quite exhausted and quite tired. I do know once I hit the point where I felt like I knew what I needed to do and I talked to Nicole and my folks and some close friends and had some very difficult conversations with Mr. Irsay, Frank and Chris, it did seem like, in a sense, a weight was lifted. It’s been tiring. I feel tired, and not just in the physical sense.
Listen to your body.
So, I’m typing this from bed… hydrating and having a day of low thoughts snuggled next to my dog and my daughter (neither of them has school on Mondays). I’m communicating only with those who need to hear from me today (Michele, Denise, Krista, Ryan, Kate, Johnny, You).
I’m getting the rest that’s required… so I can be better for everyone once I’m back to being myself.
How about you?
Are you listening to what your body is telling you? Do you have friends who love you enough to proverbially smack you upside the head when you’re not listening? Consider me one of those friends.
One of my heroes and mentors, Michael Hyatt, once shared 44 actions you can take to boost your energy. I suggest keeping this list handy, reviewing it regularly, then taking action on one or more before you reach the place I’m in now.
But, should you reach this place, take a break.
That’s an order.