Ginger wept when another woman said, “These are the happiest times of your life.” She desperately wanted to feel that way but as a new mother who worked a full-time job, joy escaped her. There was little she could do about her financial situation, she had to work. But she longed for the moments when she could just sit down and let her baby fall asleep on her. Instead, there were loads of laundry, bills to be paid, groceries to be bought, and a stack of paper from work to sort through. She was exhausted.
Do you have clients that feel that way? They want to be happy and joyful but aren’t. Worse yet, they are afraid to admit it. After all, who would understand?
There are two kinds of exhaustion. One is physical from the demands of a busy overbooked schedule. The other is psychological due to unmet needs, expectations, ambitions, and hopes. It is compounded by tragedies, disappointments, rejections, and harsh realities. And it has encompassed nearly every aspect of your life including your ability to find joy.
Here are four examples of how exhaustion steals joy. Ask your clients if they feel…
- Over-annoyed – Little things begin to set you off. People who can’t use their debit card fast enough at the checkout aisle or people who don’t know how to drive in the rain. You have such limited time. The thought that someone else would waste your time sends you over the edge. You would rather spend energy enjoying things instead of getting angry. But that is not what happens.
- Over-apologetic – You say, “I’m sorry” when you are not really sorry just to move past a situation and on to the next one as quick as possible. You believe that this method saves time and reduces conflict but it has a side effect…increased guilt. The guilt comes from lying and allowing others to unnecessarily blame you for things that you are not responsible for.
- Over-conscientious – You strive for perfectionism (calling it “high standards”). However your expectations for yourself are not consistent with the expectations you have for everyone else. This double standard borders on a view that somehow you are better than others and therefore more should be expected.
- Over-dependable – You are so reliable that nearly everyone around you takes it for granted that you will get the job done, and you do. But at your expense. Instead of focusing on your priorities, you spend time cleaning up the mess of others. This increases resentment and bitterness.
There is hope for exhaustion. It can be beat. Acknowledgment is the first step towards healing, the next is taking some new action. Ask you clients to try these suggestions:
- Over-annoyed – Efforts to slow you down are not a conspiracy by others. Use these time wasting minutes as an indication that you need to take a couple of deep breaths. Think about what brings you joy.
- Over-apologetic – Stop saying, “I’m sorry.” If you make a mistake, say, “Will you forgive me” instead. This small change will keep you from apologizing for things you aren’t responsible for. The genuineness of asking for forgiveness when needed brings an internal peace.
- Over-conscientious – Ask yourself, “Do I expect this from my best friend?” “No” answers are an indication that your expectations are disproportionate. Adjust your standards accordingly and feel an almost immediate reduction in stress.
- Over-dependable – Saying “No” is difficult sometimes. Instead, say “Let me think about it” and give yourself 24 hours to make a decision. This small change gives your mind time to process your commitment. Anyone who is not willing to give you time to make a decision is pressuring you unnecessarily.
Don’t let exhaustion take over. Your clients can have more joy in life find freedom from exhaustion.