What Does Exhaustion Do to You?

This is a totally subjective question. What does exhaustion do to you?

Here’s what it does to me:

  • Exhaustion makes me cranky. I tend to get very short tempered with people when I’m over-tired. Things come out much more sharply than I intend. I am brisk with friends and family.
  • Exhaustion makes me clumsy. Yesterday, I dropped a full pitcher of iced tea (that I had just made) in the sink. No more iced tea! I’ve also made the mistake of taking a glass class — making pendants on a torch — when I was over-tired. I ended up dropping a freshly melted glass pendant onto my hand. Clumsy, indeed!
  • Exhaustion makes me depressed. Woe is me, everything seems a lot worse when I’m beat. Things get way out of proportion in my head.
  • Exhaustion makes me extra hungry. I suppose since I’m not fueling my body with sleep, it seeks fuel elsewhere — through food.

So what has made me so very tired? I started a new part-time job this week. It has caused a dramatic change in my sleeping schedule AND in my activity levels. For the last few years, my pattern has been to wake up at 8:30am — now I’m setting my alarm for 5:30am. Fear of missing the alarm or oversleeping or being late for work has me sleeping very lightly overnight and/or waking up lots of times to check the clock.

Over time, I know my internal clock will readjust. I won’t feel so run-down. I’ll be ready for bed earlier, rather than forcing myself into bed in order to get enough sleep. And I won’t be as cranky or clumsy or emotional or ravenous. At least I recognize WHY I’m acting strangely and feeling bad. For me, understanding why something is different helps me accept and forgive myself for the off days.