Are You Completely Drained?

Contributor: Cristin Smith
Photographer: Taylor Balding
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How weird is this thing called exhaustion? In most cases, exhaustion is a state beyond the physical or what is visible to the naked eye. Sure, there are outside symptoms to physical exhaustion—lack of energy, a haggard face and dark circles that frame the weary eyes. But exhaustion is far more dangerous when it corrupts our minds and hearts. 

Mental and emotional exhaustion have a way of killing you slowly, like leeches unhurriedly draining you of the very blood that keeps you alive. 

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So what is mentally draining you today? Is it the thought of tomorrow's uncertainty of how you'll be able to support your family after receiving the news of a layoff at work? Is it the idea of soon losing a loved one long suffering of cancer? Or perhaps the mind is restless from thinking of a recently lost opportunity, one that may have allowed you to follow your life's passion and purpose?

Could it be instead that the heart—once alive with joy and love—is drained to its core after a painful betrayal? Is it the pain of a partner's death that has torn you inside out, leaving you emotionally drained to keep on living? Emotional exhaustion has a way of making you feel like the world is too much to carry on one's shoulder. Exhaustion, when not addressed, gives away to pessimism, anger, anxiety and worse of all, loss of hope. Without hope, nothing in this world could possibly hold meaning.

The ones who tend to feel the most exhausted are those who are capable of giving too much of themselves. The ones who love with all their heart, who trust with all their soul, and the caregivers who put others' needs first. 

They are the ones who tend to walk in this world with empty batteries of energy and joy, but still continue to push forward because they took it upon themselves to care for others. It is a noble cause, but also a deadly one. 

If you find yourself drained, unable to go through another day with an ounce of joy because you are too exhausted to even put on a smile, stop for a moment. Drop whatever it is that you are doing, whether that is working on tomorrow's lesson plan, finishing a report or balancing the budget. 

Instead, take a much needed vacation. Sleep in late, pack your bags, and travel or even just curl up in a corner in your room this evening and enjoy a good book. For once, do something "selfish" for yourself and set aside the needs of others. Escape to a place that would allow you to recharge your inner battery so that you'll come home able to give more love, more care, and more joy to others. After all, if there's one main thing to remember, it is that you cannot give what you don't have.

So invest in yourself. Exhaustion is only temporary if, at the end of each day, you commit to yourself to recharge your battery so you can continue to share your life force and energy with others.