Several years ago, I spent a lot of time on the sofa, too tired to get up and do anything. I can’t emphasize enough how painful it was to see my two little boys with crestfallen faces when Mamma couldn’t go outside to play, couldn’t chase them around, kick a ball, or go to the park.
I also have some other vivid memories from the time that exhaustion dominated my life. At the time, we lived in a house that was two storeys plus a full basement – that means two full sets of stairs. In the course of everyday life, there were all the things needing to go upstairs during the day: laundry, toys, linens, soap refills, etc. Necessary items in a high traffic area. But I just couldn’t keep doing those stairs so I would pile everything that needed to go up on the bottom step. Anybody going upstairs had to carry something with them! And if I absolutely had to make the trek with a child in tow, I at least tried to grab onto something else too to dump at the top of the stairs to be put away later. My trips upstairs were minimal and usually only when it was the boys’ bedtime (when invariably I would also fall asleep and never make it back downstairs until the next morning).
The basement was another matter. My youngest was small at the time, was scared of the basement, and we didn’t often go down there – but that’s where the filing cabinet was kept. I hate filing at the best of times, so you can probably imagine it wasn’t top of my list of things to do. Well, I would open the door to the basement and put everything on the top step – a little off to the side at least, so it wasn’t a total hazard! The stacks became huge, spreading to the next step (and often the next) when the previous one was piled high. Eventually something would slip and the papers would cascade down the full flight of stairs. When that happened, and I couldn’t muster the effort to go down and re-stack them all on top of the filing cabinet instead, I would not even bother opening the door to the basement. I would slide the paper under the door, treating it like a mail slot, for it to shoot down the stairs on its own. This drove my husband crazy. And it went on for awhile.
Have you ever been so tired that you adopted some questionable habits and shortcuts out of necessity?
I know some tidy people who would be appalled by my confession, but I’m not kidding when I say I was exhausted. I felt that was all I could do, that I had to make a choice as to where I expended what little energy I had, and feeding my family was more important.
Fast forward to today and I run up and down the stairs for every little thing – often just because I can. I’ve gone from habits of basic survival to what I call “purposeful inefficiency” because I am healthy and am now focused on increasing my activity level so the more trips up & down the better :) .
I’d love to hear from you: what have you done to cope with fatigue in the midst of the many demands of life? Do you still feel like that now? If you’re still in that place, I understand your pain and your frustration. How would you like to do something about it? Because if you are willing, I am here to offer you support.