The first time I ever experienced exhaustion was after having my first baby. I had no idea what exhaustion felt like. I had had a difficult birth, spent 8 days in the hospital, and when I got home I just expected myself to carry on as I had before the birth. One afternoon a neighbour came over to visit and see the new baby. She asked me how I was, and I responded that I was fine. We talked some more, and she asked me again how I was. Again, I responded that I was fine. The third time she asked me I started to cry and couldn’t stop. I had no idea what was wrong with me. I got her to leave, and then I thought I’d go grocery shopping because I knew that out in public I’d stop crying. Well, I had difficulty paying the cashier for the groceries because the tears were rolling down my face and I could not talk. She couldn’t give me my change fast enough. Once I got home I had to acknowledge that something was wrong with me, and it took me a while to realize it was exhaustion.
Because of that experience, I learned that my body gives me signals about my level of fatigue. But because I had never been exhausted before, I did not recognize the signals. Even if I had noticed them, I would not have known what to do about it.
What I learned about myself. When I’m somewhat tired my left eyelid twitches, and when I’m very tired, I get a specific type of nausea. These two signals now guide me on when I need to rest. The eyelid twitch is a ‘heads-up’ to plan to get some rest soon, and the nausea is strong message I need to rest ASAP. I have learned to respect these signals and act on them. It prevents me from getting to the state of exhaustion again.
Pay attention to the sensations in your body and learn what they mean.
With care and concern,
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