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Woman to Woman

Honest talk from an ob/gyn & menopause practitioner dedicated to mid-life women

  • Catherine Hansen

Exhaustion was my teacher



In my previous blog, I shared with you how my body completely shut down due to exhaustion.


After some reflection, I was finally able to give myself permission to rest and this is what happened - spoiler alert, the world did not fall apart as I thought it would and my family and friends continued to love and support me. When I gave my body permission to rest, she took exactly what she needed. I napped (a lot). I ate soulful food and drank aromatic tea. I used a diffuser and music to create a caring space. I read and wrote and walked and danced. And napped (again). I reminded myself of all the great work I’ve been doing and extended gratitude to the tired and aching parts of me. I sat in silence and prayed. For most of us (and me, most of the time) there is no time to listen to these messages of exhaustion. We tune them out and carry on with our tasks. We know we are tired and, yet, we wait for someone to give us a day off. We assume if everyone else is getting stuff done and posting beautiful pictures of their all-together lives then something is wrong with us. We approach our lives through the accomplishments of our ‘doing-ness’ not the peace of our ‘being-ness’. Until something happens and we stall…like me. Honestly, that day was a gift. Exhaustion was my teacher. She taught me to acknowledge the rhythms of my life and to know that rest is essential (duh!). Even as I write that, I find it ridiculous that I needed that lesson. But so many of us push and strive and numb like we are inhuman machines. We are not – we are human machines and to get the best mileage, we need to ensure that we are tuned regularly and running smoothly. We need scheduled maintenance, frequent re-fueling and occasional repairs. My exhaustion reminded me that I don’t need anyone’s permission to take a day off. Of course, there are work protocols to respect and colleagues to inform but, only YOU know what YOU need and no one is going to deliver it to you on a silver platter if you don’t order it. I learned that, if it becomes a competition of determination, exhaustion WILL win every time - so let your body rest, nurture your mind and feed your soul every chance you get.