Now What?

How the heck are you?

Seems like an easy question, but for a lot of people who are struggling, that’s a tough one.

Last week, I started to write something and stopped. You see I didn’t want to be that person who complained about being tired or exhausted, because everyone is tired or are experiencing a degree or certain level of fatigue or exhaustion, but this is different.

I received an email this morning from a friend I haven’t spoken with in quite some time.

Craig, how the heck are you?

Some 400 words later, I think I described how I’m feeling. I’ll share my long drawn out email a little later, but this is what I started to write last week.

I’m tired, I shouldn’t be, but I am.

It’s hard for me to write what I just did. A matter of fact its taken me about a week or two to muster up enough courage to say that and come to grips with that.

My energy levels just aren’t the same as they were. I realize that I’m getting older, everyone around me makes sure I don’t forget that, but the last few weeks have been different.

Last night after the girls went to bed I found myself on my favorite chair putting the finishing touches on an article and dozing off. It was 8:35 pm. Like seriously, what the hell. I published it last night after like 12 proofreads, but it was still riddled with errors left and right. I’m making more mistakes lately than ever before, I guess my energy levels are being used elsewhere.  I’ve been trying to give myself a break and not be so critical on myself, but lately that’s been a battle on its own.

I’m tired, I shouldn’t be because this is what I’ve always done, but I am.

The best way to describe what I’m currently feeling is having a long season come to an end. During my coaching days, it was like I always hit a wall after the season ended. Win or lose there was always a letdown. I’ve learned over the years to try listen to my body and mind, but maybe this is what burn out feels like. Listen, I’m not writing this to complain, I’m writing this because writing is and has always been therapeutic for me, but hopefully it will help others understand that it’s ok to talk about your mental health.

I haven’t been biking a ton lately, because I did a number on my left leg. Nagging little overuse injuries have turned into much more. I have a history of arthritis on both sides of my family, and I think that’s part of the issue, but I’ve been seeing an osteopath for treatments which has been simply incredible and has really helped a lot. Here’s part of the problem though, even if I’m feeling good enough to jump on the bike, all I want to do is go to sleep or do something completely different. Avoidance has been running rampant lately, which is another sign that I might have hit a wall.

The working title of the would-be article was going to be “Maybe This Is What Burn Out Feels Like.”

In all honesty, maybe I am burnt out, but now what?

This is how I described it in the email this morning.

I realized last week that I might be feeling a little burned out, so I’ve been trying to take some time and refocus, 

“To be honest, I guess my mind is racing with everything and I’ve been trying to do a balancing act.” 

“Everyone is spinning their tires and not getting anywhere. I guess the harder some people spin the deeper they get caught in the mud. I don’t mind getting dirty or covered in the mud, I just want to take action, but my mind and body are stuck in neutral more times lately than in drive.”

“I tell young up and coming hockey players and have written countless articles on trusting the process maybe I need to listen to my own advice and try not to force things.”

Maybe I’m stuck in a rut, neutral or maybe what I am feeling and experiencing is burnout. In some weird way just saying that and writing it down justifies the way I’m feeling, but I still don’t feel comfortable saying it. It’s like, I feel guilty for being this way. It’s so engrained in us to keep going and be resilient especially after the last few years that admitting that one might be burnt out implies some aspect of weakness. That’s where the mind goes, or that’s where my mind goes and that’s where it’s been going for the last few weeks. Avoidance, or making excuses. How does one break the cycle or go from neutral into high gear again? How much time will that take?

Sometimes the best thing we can do is ask questions to others and ourselves. Sometimes it’s best if we ask for help.  Asking for help in this day and age should be easy, but it’s not. I’m 46 years old and if I’m feeling this way, so how the hell are the kids or young athletes feeling with so much pressure and high expectations?

Sometimes when we talk, discuss or vocalize our situation with others we quickly find out that they are feeling the same way. It’s hard to admit that being burnt out is possible, but the realization that others are experiencing the same exact thing definitely provides some clarity.

Clarity, what a concept. It’s like I’ve been in a fog or daze lately, and that some tasks seem insurmountable while others seem easy. Powering through things is what we all do, but I’ve been trying to come to terms with how to handle how I’ve been feeling. I’ve tried to take more and more off my plate and prioritize what matters most.

How the heck are you doing?

If you’re struggling with something, talk to someone, reach out and talk it will make all the difference in the world.

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