Q&A: How do I stay present even when I am exhausted?

by Carrie Contey, phd.

Staying balanced and present when you are exhausted is not an easy feat. And, it’s extra challenging when you have growing people needing your energy to keep their own systems balanced in the midst of all the massive growing that’s almost constantly taking place.
It may not be easy but it is possible to regain composure even when you are overdone.

Here are 10 simple ways to deal with your exhaustion so you can come back to the moment.

  1. Acknowledge that you are overdone– Say it out loud, “I’m TIRED!” Let yourself express the fact that you are beyond the beyond and in need of rest. What we resist persists. And acknowledging that you are a goner is one of the fastest ways to bring yourself back to the present moment.
  2. Get low and slow – Whether it’s for 10 seconds or 10 minutes, lay down on the couch or the floor or the grass. Letting yourself relax horizontally for a few moments can give you a sense of peace and safety that may perk you back up.
  3. Move your body – Whether it’s a walk or jumping up and down or having a dance party, get moving. Bringing energy into your system, even when you don’t feel like it, will give you a boost.
  4. Breathe 

Try this stimulating breath technique.

Try this stimulating breath technique.  This is adapted from a yoga breathing technique. It can raise your alertness and increase energy.

  • Start with your mouth closed but relaxed. Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise. (So have fun!)
  • Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. Then breathe normally after each cycle.
  • Do not do this for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.
  1.  Go outside– Get out into fresh air and look up at the sky.  Engage your senses. Take in the sights, smells, and spaciousness.
  2. Get wet – Take a shower or bath. If there’s no time for that, splash your face with cold water or slowly wash your hands.
  3. Stretch– Move your body in ways you haven’t today. Reach up into the sky, down to floor. Lift your knees up and down (can you touch your shoulders?). Twist and shake and let your body get spacious.
  4. Give yourself a scalp massage – I love this one! Take a few seconds and rub your head to stimulate your scalp. Feel free to grab chunks of hair close to the scalp and gently tug and notice what you feel.
  5. Get a hug– Whether it’s from partner or your child or a friend or just yourself. A hug can be just the thing you need when you are really feeling overdone. And it’s okay to be honest and ask for one. “I’m overdone! I need a hug! Who can help me out?”
  6. Get to bed early– Your evening time alone is precious and really hard to give up. Going to bed early, even just just one night a week can make a huge difference. Schedule it, and shoot for at least one night a week catching some extra zzzs.