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Three tips to beat exhaustion

Vanessa Judelman

President, Mosaic People Development

There is one thing I’m hearing from almost everyone in December 2020.

“I’m exhausted!”

Are you feeling that way? If so, you are definitely not alone.

Can your brain get tired?

Can it get worn down?

You bet!

We can actually turn to neuroscience to help us understand why this exhaustion is so prevalent in an unprecedented year like 2020.

According to Dr. David Eagleman, a neuroscientist, author and professor at Stanford University, our brain can actually get tired!

In a recent interview with Dr. Eagelman, he said that all the challenges of 2020 have actually worn us out. He explains that the brain uses glucose, carried from our blood, as its fuel or gasoline.

If you do something that requires a lot of mental exertion, your gas tank gets low.

During the pandemic, our brain has been doing a lot of spinning as we have constantly been trying to figure out things like:

  • What is this new normal?
  • What does it mean to adapt to the new normal?
  • How can I best lead and motivate a virtual team…who may also be struggling?
  • How can I best meet my customer’s needs…who also may be in turmoil?
  • And the list goes on…

All this thinking, wondering, processing, analyzing, spinning, adjusting, re-working and pivoting burns a lot of energy.

Plus, neuroscience also acknowledges that we are social species and thrive on connection with others. Biologically, we require touch, talk and time with others. Being in lock-down, certainly doesn’t help on this front!

No wonder we are all exhausted.

I must admit, hearing Dr Eagleman made me feel so much better.

I now understand why this exhaustion is so prevalent.

There is nothing wrong with any of us for feeling so tired.

It’s normal after the year that we have all experienced.

So, now that we understand it, what can we do about it?

  1. Refuel your brain. This requires rest. You need to rest. You need lots of guilt-free, work-free, unapologetic rest!
  2. Name it. It has been a wild, uncertain and challenging year. We are feeling physically and mentally tired. This is normal under the circumstances. I am not alone.
  3. Put things into perspective. This discomfort is temporary. I CAN refuel my brain by taking care of myself, by eating well, exercising, sleeping, laughing, participating in activities that I enjoy, relaxing and resting.

Let’s learn from neuroscience as we head into the holiday season.

Shall we make refueling our #1 priority during the next few weeks?

I certainly will do so!

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