Why Am I So Tired?

 

 

For the last two weeks I have heard one question more than any other. Whether clients, friends, or family members, over and over again I have heard asked some version of the same question: “why am I so tired?” This question is usually prefaced by the perceived lack of energy each person feels they are expending. Examples include “how can I just sit at home all day and still be so tired?” or “I have so much free time, why am I constantly exhausted?” To understand the answer to these questions, we first need to recognize that the current pandemic, and the resulting quarantine we find ourselves under, is a unique situation that most of us have never faced before in our lifetime and that this situation is a form of community trauma.

Our Brains on Trauma

Deep in the temporal lobe of our brains, just above the brain stem, is a small structure called the amygdala. The amygdala is known as the fear center of our brain. This is the part of our brain that is continually scanning our surroundings and environment for signs of danger and then kicks off the sympathetic nervous system in response to any perceived threats. The sympathetic nervous system directs our body’s response to threat by preparing our body systems to protect us. Our heart rate increases, breathing becomes more rapid, and glucose is dumped into the bloodstream in order to prepare us to stand and fight the threat, or to turn and run to escape from it. This is the response that is commonly known as “fight or flight.” The important thing to know about the amygdala is that it cannot tell the difference between a real or perceived threat. This sympathetic response is automatic, and outside of our voluntary control. This is all well and good when we need quick, temporary protection from a threat, are able to respond, and then are able to engage the parasympathetic nervous system in order to regulate our body systems and regain a sense of calm and safety. When we are living in a state of on-going perceived threat, especially that which is traumatic in nature, our brains have difficulty engaging the parasympathetic response and returning to calm. Think about it this way: the amygdala is like the smoke alarm of your brain. It senses danger, and alerts your body to protect itself from danger. Now, imagine someone has pulled your smoke detector, and it’s gotten stuck in the on position. The alarm tone is blaring, the lights are flashing, and no matter what you try to do to put out the fire, there’s no shutting the thing off. This is your brain under traumatic stress. No wonder you are exhausted; your body has been functioning all day long in fire-fighting, fight or flight mode, and nothing you can do can change this for any significant length of time. What’s worse is, each time your brain is again assaulted by news of the contagiousness of the virus or the rising number of people sick or dying, each time we enter a grocery store and see bare shelves triggering thoughts of scarcity, or hear that there may not be enough masks or ventilators to save lives, our brains are again kicked into high alert. This is the definition of a chronic state of community trauma.

With other community traumas, such as a hurricane or tornado, while the devastation can take time to heal from, the traumatic event itself is generally time-bound. A hurricane hits, causes destruction to a community, and then moves out of the area. While there’s no question the destruction can be significant, and the rebuilding process long, once the hurricane is over residents can turn their focus and efforts to rebuilding. Hope can be restored. In the case of the coronavirus pandemic, however, there is no timeline. We’ve never seen this virus before and have no clear idea about the time it will take for herd immunity to it to be built up, and for our lives to begin to return to some semblance of normal. In this case, the trauma is chronic and on-going. Studies have shown that it is uncertainty that is the most stressful condition under which our body can be. To illustrate this, Harvard researchers measured stress hormones in women waiting on their results, following biopsies of breast lumps, and found that their levels were significantly higher than stress hormone levels of women who were currently living with breast cancer. In other words, the possibility (uncertainty) of a cancer diagnosis is more stressful on our bodies than actually finding out that we have cancer. Again, this is likely due to the fact that once we know, one way or the other, we can shift into action, and into hope. In the case of coronavirus, there is a chance that any of us could contract it. There is a chance that even those of us who are young and healthy could need to be hospitalized, be put on a ventilator, or possibly even die from this virus. Constantly contemplating these outcomes is an incredibly uncertain and, thus, stressful state for our bodies to function in. Again, not necessarily conditions conducive to feeling well-rested, even when we are spending lots of extra time on the couch.

As If the Trauma Weren’t Enough

There has also been another theme among my therapy sessions the last two weeks, and it involves the sudden and collective loss of our “normal.” In a matter of days, our lives went from ordinary to turned upside down. We are now social distancing, we’re unable to visit with or see friends and family, our gyms and salons and favorite restaurants are closed, we’re working from home or losing our jobs, and we’re now guiding our children’s distance learning. The feelings that we feel as we navigate this new world – anger, frustration, exhaustion, confusion, depression, anxiety, to name a few – all fall under the umbrella of grief. We are collectively grieving the loss of what used to be and what should have been. Seniors are missing their graduations, couples are postponing their weddings, babies are being born to parents who must take them home and quarantine from the family and friends who would otherwise have come to shower the new family with visits and meals and support. We’re all missing and longing for a different time, just as we would mourn for a loved one who had passed. We know that grief can take a huge emotional toll, and wear us down physically and mentally, and it is no different when we are grieving the loss of our own freedoms and way of life.

A Note About Feelings

Given the novelty of the current pandemic, it is easy to understand that we may be feeling nervous or frustrated. We don’t know who will eventually contract the virus, and we don’t know how long it will last. During this time, we may also begin noticing other changes as well. It is not unusual during periods of traumatic stress, for example, to be more irritable than usual, to feel more anxious or depressed, or to feel an aversion to physical touch or closeness that is a change from ordinary. And what about joy? Excitement? Relief? Gratitude? These feelings appear so much at odds with current events and, yet, it is not uncommon for those enduring traumatic stress to experience a range of seemingly conflicting feelings. Joy at additional time spent with family – albeit in quarantine – excitement about watching a child learn something new under our new role as teacher, relief about not having to commute an hour to work each day, and the gratitude that comes from reflecting on our priorities and recognizing that we actually need much less to live a fulfilled life than we ever imagined? All of these emotions are normal and common, even during times of crisis. Feeling more emotional and crying about everything, or crying about nothing at all? Normal. Feeling overwhelmed at balancing all of your roles, all at once, from home? Normal. Feeling like you can’t wait to get out of quarantine and meet your friends for happy hour and also feeling like you cannot talk to one more person today? Normal. Feeling like you want to cook, should be eating, and also don’t have a bit of an appetite? All completely normal.

And while we’re talking about these shifting, conflicting, totally normal emotions, it is worth mentioning that it’s not just us, but our partners, our children, other family members we may be quarantined with, and our community at large are also feeling these same emotions. Managing all of these emotions, and managing our relationships in the context of these emotions, sheds a lot of light on why we are all just so damn tired.

So What Now?

A significant trend at the end of 2019 was to pick your word. The word that would define you and guide you, and set the course for your new year in 2020. While I didn’t pick a word then, if you were to ask me to pick a word now it would, without question, be grace. When we are living in a state of chronic trauma and grief, the only way through is grace. We are not – and cannot, by definition – functioning at our peak when we are facing traumatic stress. When our fight or flight is engaged, energy is diverted away from all non-critical body systems. Patience, critical and abstract thinking, concentration, all become non-essential when we are fighting for our survival. So no, we cannot expect ourselves to function optimally during this time. Recognizing that, and giving ourselves grace in our self-talk about our perceived under-performance or our lack of energy and motivation, is the key to surviving.

During times of survival, our expectations for ourselves and our families must be lowered. While Pinterest and Twitter may suggest this is the time to finally write your manuscript or learn to cook gourmet meals, I am here to tell you that this is not just “free time,” and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you if you can’t muster up the energy to microwave a bag of popcorn for dinner, much less cook a three course meal. Grace becomes our ticket to freeing ourselves from the societally-imposed guilt trap of productivity expectations.

There are many great articles circulating the internet right now about coping with the pandemic, so I won’t go into that here. But I will say that at the essential core of coping and self-care during this time is simply remembering to focus on grace and self-compassion as you navigate this unprecedented time. Take a walk, take a bath, take a nap, take deep breaths, ask for help, help where you can, and know that whatever you are feeling is completely normal, and whatever you need to do to love on and care for you during this time is okay. No guilt, only grace, as we walk this uncharted territory together.

 

  1. Kara
    April 10, 2020 at 4:19 am -
    Reply

    Thank you for this ❤️❤️❤️ I’ve been wondering why I’m so tired. Makes so much sense!!!

    1. LaVonne

      LaVonne

      April 12, 2020 at 1:02 pm -
      Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing this!!
      I have talked to more people who are feeling this!

      Take care everyone 😊

      1. Rhonda

        Rhonda

        April 16, 2020 at 12:56 am -
        Reply

        This is an excellent analysis of our current jumbled state. I appreciate getting words to describe our situation! ❤️

      2. Vicki

        Vicki

        April 17, 2020 at 1:58 am -
        Reply

        Puts everything in perspective and my word is Faith .

      3. LYNN SEWARD

        LYNN SEWARD

        April 20, 2020 at 10:01 pm -
        Reply

        I have been extreme fatigue half way through my “new” routine. Come up against a wall of fatigue that knocks me off my feet. Feel guilty about not making more of my spare time. Find communicating with others tiring. Conversations usually energize me. Glad this is normal during this time.

    2. Kat

      Kat

      April 14, 2020 at 12:39 pm -
      Reply

      To this I resound that beautiful Word Grace!

      1. Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

        Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

        April 17, 2020 at 3:54 pm -
        Reply

        I’m so happy to hear that. Thank you for bringing more grace into the world!

  2. Cindy

    Cindy

    April 10, 2020 at 10:26 am -
    Reply

    This article really helped put things in perspective for me today. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the pandemic and how it is affecting ALLof the people of the World!

    1. Janet

      Janet

      April 15, 2020 at 4:08 pm -
      Reply

      Thank you so much! Makes me feel better to know those answers!

  3. Rosemary
    April 10, 2020 at 11:53 am -
    Reply

    What a wonderful article. Thank You sooo much!

    1. Sandy

      Sandy

      April 17, 2020 at 12:34 pm -
      Reply

      Thank you so much for this perspective. I can echo so many of these sentiments. I’ve been questioning why I feel so lazy today or why I feel so ugly and depressed today or any other number of self deprecating thoughts. Or thinking how silly it is for me to be so petty and irritable and feel like crying when the sun is shining, and I’m healthy, and my family and friends are all doing well, and unlike many, I still have a job. And the guilt that goes with it. Like you said, guilt trips that are self-imposed and multiplied by social media for what I’m doing, what I’m not doing, what I should be doing or what I should not be doing. It’s amazing how our brains work. The routines that we had before that we fought against or complained about or wished were different are now the routines that we are missing and longing to return to again. I hope we can make some new happy routines from this. Maybe stop and smell the gardenias that we just planted and let ourselves just enjoy the moment. Or get more exercise, cook at home – healthy meals for our families sitting down together; share our precious time with friends and pay attention to how people are doing…care for each other. Slow down a little. I hope that when we return to our regular lives, we keep some of these good things with us in our NEW improved routines. Thanks for sharing such great insight! This does help a lot.

      1. Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

        Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

        April 17, 2020 at 3:58 pm -
        Reply

        Love your perspective, Sandy! I hope you are finding grace for yourself as you sit with all of your thoughts and feelings during this time. They are all so so normal! Stay well.

  4. Sharon
    April 10, 2020 at 1:37 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you! Just what I needed today – Grace. Beautifully written and explained

  5. Robin Reger

    Robin Reger

    April 10, 2020 at 2:31 pm -
    Reply

    Wonderful article . Very helpful. Definitely sharing.

    1. Mary

      Mary

      April 15, 2020 at 6:12 am -
      Reply

      In many ways, I hope we never go back to the lifestyle we had accepted as “normal” before. I hope we emerge from this time of trauma with a deeper sense of what matters.

  6. Van

    Van

    April 10, 2020 at 3:34 pm -
    Reply

    Phenomenal article — I really needed this!

    1. Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      April 17, 2020 at 3:59 pm -
      Reply

      Thank you, Van. I’m happy to hear it resonated with you!

  7. Janet

    Janet

    April 10, 2020 at 4:48 pm -
    Reply

    So inciteful at this unusual time. Thank you!

  8. […] Click HERE to see the original article posted on parasolwellness.com.  […]

  9. Barbara

    Barbara

    April 10, 2020 at 7:32 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you. Just what I needed to read at this time. I will try to follow the suggestions given

  10. Susan

    Susan

    April 10, 2020 at 11:59 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you as I’ve felt almost embarrassed for the lack of “stuff” I’m NOT getting done! Along with thre extra LONG naps I’ve taken!

    1. D Bright

      D Bright

      April 14, 2020 at 4:50 pm -
      Reply

      I’m the same way. I’ve literally spent most of some days in my recliner with my yorkie. I was only able to get one load of laundry done and the sister I live with and I argue everyday over nothing. I escape to the recliner and she locks herself in her side of condo. I can’t keep up with her changing moods and gripes. I never realized how crazy comes out in a pandemic lockdown

      1. Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

        Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

        April 17, 2020 at 4:01 pm -
        Reply

        I’m glad to hear you’re both taking time to rest- that is so important during these times! Stay well!

      2. Cari

        Cari

        April 20, 2020 at 4:45 pm -
        Reply

        I like how you say you and your sister argue everyday over nothing. I like it because it shows how you realize that it’s about nothing. People usually say they argue about everything… but if you argue about everything, you’re really arguing about nothing. I think the remedy to this is forgiveness. Perhaps that could be another ‘word’ we use with grace. Obviously you love your sister or you wouldn’t have been living with her in the first place. Blessings to you both.

      3. June

        June

        May 3, 2020 at 12:30 pm -
        Reply

        Dear D.Bright
        There was something you said or the way you said it that was honest and rang so true with my own. muddled feelings. Thank you
        June from Davis ca

  11. Victoria Carlson
    April 11, 2020 at 12:37 am -
    Reply

    Love this!

  12. Kimberlee Brehm

    Kimberlee Brehm

    April 11, 2020 at 3:03 am -
    Reply

    It’s tiring when your brain won’t shut off with all the worry and uncertainty. But this article makes sense.

    1. Tana

      Tana

      April 17, 2020 at 12:31 pm -
      Reply

      Well stated.

  13. Deb

    Deb

    April 11, 2020 at 10:40 am -
    Reply

    Words to remember. Well-written. Grace and self-compassion. Caring for others as we go through this together. Thank you.

  14. Tamera Parker-Bowen
    April 11, 2020 at 12:02 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you. my nuero psycologist is helping thi s makes sense to what he has been saying. I have a TBI since 1989

    1. Mom

      Mom

      April 15, 2020 at 4:01 am -
      Reply

      We all needed this article and we all need grace. Thank you for sending it, Kelly.

  15. Rose Marie Burke, LCSW
    April 11, 2020 at 12:13 pm -
    Reply

    Very well done, well said, and extremely helpful.

  16. Paula Hamm
    April 11, 2020 at 2:07 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you from one clinician to another. I appreciate your perspective in feeling fatigued. The day I left my beautiful office I turned off the lights, blew out my candle, took my plants sitting in front of the floor to ceiling windows and went home. Home with my computer and in one day transferred a large analytic practice to tele-medicine with all complexity that a flat screen offers. Resetting the frame of sound, screen and picking up where we left off the day before life goes on. By the end of those first two weeks working in my basement home office I re-imagined the analytic space, learned to not look at the screen so much and made sure I got up and moved around, worked on my pilates reformer and grieved. Chronic stress is hard on the mind, body. Although this is a shared disaster in the community of humanity, each person is triggered differently. Past history bubbles up in new ways like I’ve never seen before, well spring of emotions from the darkness and we are mining gems of hope, faith and love through the process. My therapy dog passed away a week before this all started, no longer riding a beautiful horse named George and visiting with friends and family, I’ve reached back into my history of times where I was nurtured by the Passionate Community of contemplative nuns. A contemplative order, all whom have passed away but what has not passed away is the love of God, the love of mystery, the love of community of faith. I agree grace will see us through. God’s will not my will be done. Getting reoriented takes time, lower expectations take time, creating a new reflective space takes time, inner and outer and having a way to think about a disaster takes expertise. Disasters in history all show that there is a developmental line in recovery; his rolling event peaks, medication is found and disturbed. Disillusionment is in here somewhere on the road to restructuring through the transformation. Social distancing will be with us for awhile, but God’s love and the mystery of faith is within a prayers reach. I

    1. Lynn Alderman

      Lynn Alderman

      April 14, 2020 at 7:03 pm -
      Reply

      Lovely! I really appreciated your perspective on this article as well.
      Thank you..
      May God surround you with a bubble of his Grace and protection.
      Lynn A

      1. Betsy Naylor

        Betsy Naylor

        April 16, 2020 at 7:35 pm -
        Reply

        The loneliness, quiet and sheer boredom of this quarantine must be like being on death row.We wait for an uncertain pardon.But I daily pray for the belief this period is more. like the 40 day wilderness Christ went through.Maybe then, good will shine through this time.

  17. Annette
    April 11, 2020 at 2:31 pm -
    Reply

    So beautiful. This brings so much understanding to this pandemic. Also the things our bodies are going through. Thank you Thank you.

  18. S.C. Bouchard

    S.C. Bouchard

    April 11, 2020 at 4:04 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge, compassion and GRACE.

  19. Sally Klein O'Connor

    Sally Klein O'Connor

    April 11, 2020 at 4:30 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you so much!! This article was a real help to many of my friends and me!!

  20. Jane

    Jane

    April 11, 2020 at 6:12 pm -
    Reply

    Don’t forget having to teach in a whole different manner while you are trying to manage thoughts of family- who are far away and even grocery shopping has become scary. Thank you- if only the workplace could ease up.

  21. Pete
    April 11, 2020 at 6:12 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you Leah for the sobering but very helpful article.

  22. Stacie Smith

    Stacie Smith

    April 11, 2020 at 9:02 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you. I know my tiredness is from the uncertainty and grief for a loss not fully known yet. Also I feel guilty for having a loving home, a secure “essential” job and technology to keep in touch with friends and family. Yet I CAN strive be kind, gracious and be looking for ways to lighten the burden for others.

  23. Carolyn
    April 12, 2020 at 2:34 am -
    Reply

    Spot ON! So very insightful. Thank you!💖😷👍🏻

  24. ~ m.
    April 12, 2020 at 5:09 am -
    Reply

    “No guilt….only grace….”
    Thank you for this. x

  25. Jean

    Jean

    April 12, 2020 at 12:17 pm -
    Reply

    Excellent summary and description of the pandemic impacts and their relationship to trauma and loss… Thank you for writing this!

  26. Barbara

    Barbara

    April 12, 2020 at 2:45 pm -
    Reply

    This explains so well what we are going through . Thank you. Grace. Something for us to feel & experience.God bless us all & help us through this terrible pandemic.

  27. Terry Phillips

    Terry Phillips

    April 12, 2020 at 8:27 pm -
    Reply

    This is very interesting and so very true! My word for the year was adventure, this is not the adventure I had in mind. My adventure is what makes me have all these feelings you talk about. I miss my “Social adventures!”

    1. Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      April 13, 2020 at 5:20 pm -
      Reply

      Adventure is here for sure, huh? Cheering you on in finding some joy in the adventure we’ve been given even if it’s not the one you wanted!

  28. Gwen

    Gwen

    April 12, 2020 at 10:04 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you so much. I have been struggling with this issue and not understanding why. You helped me understand and hopefully now I can move forward without feeling guilty.

    1. Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      April 13, 2020 at 5:18 pm -
      Reply

      Yes! Awesome, Gwen! Guilt is not helpful here, we’re all doing the best we can!

  29. Terri Walsh
    April 12, 2020 at 11:42 pm -
    Reply

    I was starting to wonder what I was or wasn’t doing. After reading this article, now I know that it is everything you wrote in the article. I will give myself grace and peace and extend it to others.

  30. Kajal
    April 13, 2020 at 2:17 am -
    Reply

    Beautifully said. Thank you! ❤️🙏🏽

  31. Liza

    Liza

    April 13, 2020 at 2:47 am -
    Reply

    Yes. I am trying to give myself grace, but what do you do about those who don’t give you that same grace, especially when it’s difficult to drown out their voice.

    1. Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      April 13, 2020 at 5:17 pm -
      Reply

      It can feel like such an uphill battle at first, Liza! You’re not used to giving yourself grace and so it’s going to feel hard until it’s deeply engrained in you, especially if others are overly critical of you. I find that it helps to remember that we’re all doing the best we can with what we have, fighting internal battles that no one else can see- when others are overly critical that’s about them and what they’re struggling with, not about you. Give them grace, too, so they’ll know what it feels like. and for the record, we see you and are cheering you on!

  32. Jeanne

    Jeanne

    April 13, 2020 at 3:02 am -
    Reply

    Thank you this article. I enjoyed it very much. Nice to see others are thinking the same thoughts that I am.

    1. Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborarive)

      Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborarive)

      April 17, 2020 at 4:06 pm -
      Reply

      They sure are! This article was born of many many conversations with people all feeling these same feelings. Be well!

  33. Cindy

    Cindy

    April 13, 2020 at 4:31 pm -
    Reply

    Thanks, all this time, empty nester, and just no energy. Have to push myself to get things done. So many things I wanted to get done or do when I had time. Now I just don’t feel like it!

  34. Yolanda

    Yolanda

    April 13, 2020 at 5:06 pm -
    Reply

    Very helpful information to share with parents and students as well as teachers.

  35. Laura

    Laura

    April 13, 2020 at 5:38 pm -
    Reply

    Someone I know shared this article on Facebook. There’s lots of good insight here – and the last thing hit me like a hammer. I keep seeing everyone “making great use of this time” to clean their house from top to bottom, cook meals, play games with their families, get together on social media, etc. I just want to tell everyone to go away, curl up in a ball and sleep until this is all over. And have felt tremendous guilt for that which adds to the depression.

    1. Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      April 13, 2020 at 6:35 pm -
      Reply

      Yes! The wonderful part is that once you let go of what you think this all “should” look like, you can get so much more out of what it actually is. Giving myself permission to rest without guilt actually allowed me to get some of the energy I had been missing back! The guilt about resting takes energy, too, and I’m sure there are other places you’d like to spend that energy!

  36. Joan E. Richardson

    Joan E. Richardson

    April 13, 2020 at 5:57 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing this insightful discussion! As soon as I saw that it was about tiredness, etc. I started reading….then was mesmerized by the whole discussion. Grace and Compassion for me….so that I can share that with others. I like that…it gives me more self-control I think. May God grant us His Grace as we cope with the unknown before ius.!
    .

    1. Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      April 13, 2020 at 6:36 pm -
      Reply

      Amen!

  37. Julie

    Julie

    April 13, 2020 at 6:16 pm -
    Reply

    Very well said. This confirms what I’m going through and how to handle it and be ok with it. Both myself and my husband have felt more tired and taking naps. This confirms why I’m feeling this way and it’s ok.

    1. Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      April 13, 2020 at 6:36 pm -
      Reply

      Permission to rest granted! Glad we could help!

  38. Joyce Deschane

    Joyce Deschane

    April 13, 2020 at 7:44 pm -
    Reply

    Great article. Good reading! Thank you!

  39. Nichola A Palmer

    Nichola A Palmer

    April 13, 2020 at 7:51 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! Great article. GRACE AND COMPASSION for self is definitely needed.. I have been struggling to rest but feeling extremely tired. I am always in a fight and flight mode since this thing started mainly because my teenage boys not taking it serious. This really help.
    Thank you

  40. Cynthia Snodgrass

    Cynthia Snodgrass

    April 13, 2020 at 8:30 pm -
    Reply

    A great and reassuring article!

  41. Kay

    Kay

    April 13, 2020 at 9:13 pm -
    Reply

    Thanks, Now I know it is not just me.

  42. Marilyn Hesser

    Marilyn Hesser

    April 14, 2020 at 1:11 am -
    Reply

    Beautiful!
    Just what we need.
    Grace!

    Many blessings to you ♡

  43. Dawn

    Dawn

    April 14, 2020 at 11:24 am -
    Reply

    Yes! To all of this. Thank you

  44. Mary Samide

    Mary Samide

    April 14, 2020 at 11:51 am -
    Reply

    This was really helpful. My husband of 52 years died in June a month after I broke my ankle badly and not long after I was diagnosed with heart disease despite living a very healthy life. I had anger about that- this all has seriously dented my faith and any sense of security I felt. And then the pandemic. My daughter and 9 year old granddaughter live with me and that is a blessing. My daughter and I meditate 2 hours a day and that does make a difference and I have a great therapist but I still feel pretty shaky.
    Thank you for this perspective!

    1. Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      April 14, 2020 at 9:17 pm -
      Reply

      So sorry for your struggles. And- we’re grateful that you’re teaching the next generation the important skill of mindfulness! Hang in there, Mary!

  45. Dyan Hermann

    Dyan Hermann

    April 14, 2020 at 1:54 pm -
    Reply

    So helpful

  46. Terrie Hogue

    Terrie Hogue

    April 14, 2020 at 3:04 pm -
    Reply

    This is a very good article! Thank you for writing & sharing it!!

  47. […] know that you may not be functioning at your peak performance level. You have multiple priorities, you’re tired, things feel unstable, and some days are just hard. It’s ok – just accept what […]

  48. Annette V

    Annette V

    April 14, 2020 at 8:31 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you for explaining that there is not only one way to feel and one way to react to this pandemic. The uncertainty of it is the most stressful. Nice weather and walks lifts my mood. Thank you.

    1. Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      April 14, 2020 at 9:15 pm -
      Reply

      So glad you found this to be helpful! Enjoy those walks!

  49. […] epitome of what happens when our lower level needs, like security, are threatened. This article, Why Am I So Tired, does a terrific job explaining the biology and physiology of stress and trauma. As the article […]

  50. Kathy

    Kathy

    April 14, 2020 at 11:55 pm -
    Reply

    I have been in quarantine with my daughter since Dec.1st. The first month was to protect her from disease because she had her 6th open heart surgery. We quarantined together for a month after she got home from the hospital and then the virus hit. It has been a long six months. I’m exhausted, wish I were accomplishing more, and desperately miss my adult children who we are use to seeing frequently, but one is a doctor and one a counselor in a max security prison. This article enabled me to see I am both anxious and grieving. My daughter (who had heart surgery) is named Erin GRACE. So I will tuck that into my heart and extend it to myself and others. Thank you so much.

    1. Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      April 17, 2020 at 4:09 pm -
      Reply

      Kathy, I’m happy to hear the article resonated with you. We at Parasol send our thoughts and well wishes out to you and Erin Grace! Be well.

  51. Kathy Keenan

    Kathy Keenan

    April 15, 2020 at 12:46 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you.
    Your article also helps me empathize with all of the people living in or fleeing war zones or famine, or prisons and immigrant holding camps. Each of those people experiences the fear of death on a daily basis.

    While I wish that COVID-19 would just disappear, never to return, I hope that when it does, our collective compassion for others will remain with us.

  52. Judy

    Judy

    April 15, 2020 at 3:28 pm -
    Reply

    It is nice to know I’m not the only one feeling many of the things you have described. I have asked myself all of those questions about overwhelming tiredness. Thank you for the excellent explanation.

  53. Deanna

    Deanna

    April 15, 2020 at 3:54 pm -
    Reply

    Totally agree! I “pin-pointed” something personally a couple weeks ago and that was sadness due to having nothing to look forward to because we don’t have an “end date” to all of this. No looking forward to the weekend because one day after another is the same. No looking forward to seeing a friend for dinner, no looking forward to visiting family out of town, no looking forward to vacation, etc………We can’t plan anything so there is nothing to look forward to. So, I had to find different things to look forward to – like a more organized closet, trying a new recipe, cleaning at a more leisurely pace, bike rides once the weather warms up (it snowed here today).

    1. Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      April 17, 2020 at 4:12 pm -
      Reply

      Deanna, great reframe, and thank your for sharing your new perspective! I am happy to hear you were able to adjust your outlook and find things to look forward to even in the uncertainty. Be well!

    2. Lisa

      Lisa

      April 28, 2020 at 4:29 am -
      Reply

      Boy do I hear ya! Also feeling like there’s nothing to look forward to. We have taken to semi-planning a family outing – as simple as, we’re going to drive around the nearby lake slowly and see what we see, or go downtown and walk around together, maybe take some photos of historic buildings – as soon as we have a bright sunny day… so we have something to look forward to, although not knowing when it’s coming. Trying to find things that are do-able. This ridiculously unpredictable weather in upstate NY is driving us crazy too. We are also “saving” good movies we find out about for us to watch as a family, like for a day with tons of rain, or for Sunday evenings with popcorn, to try to make them special. It is a comfort somehow to know others are sharing the feelings.

  54. Linda Hope

    Linda Hope

    April 15, 2020 at 4:27 pm -
    Reply

    Grace is the word of 2020 for all of us to share. My word was Hope and now is Grace…with a big splash of love for those who need this, just as much as I did! Thank you for sharing this article, it resonated with me in every way! Linda Hope

  55. […] Why Am I So Tired? – Leah Corder […]

  56. Nancy Chitwood

    Nancy Chitwood

    April 15, 2020 at 6:09 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you, thank you. Now I can put a name to this invisible elephant-sized blob I’ve been carrying around. The density, the whirl of emotions. But I haven’t cried, can’t seem to, ….just numb. Now with the help from your words, I can process a little bit better. 💖

    1. Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      April 17, 2020 at 4:16 pm -
      Reply

      Nancy- your numbness is your body in survival mode. It’s doing its job! I’m happy to hear the article resonated with you. Be well!

  57. Janet Keicher

    Janet Keicher

    April 15, 2020 at 7:23 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you for this wonderful explanation of all the emotions I (and so many others) are feeling right now! We had a grandson born 12 days ago and have not been able to hold him yet, but we thank God for the technology that enables us to at least see him via video chatting! (Sadness, anger and joy all together right there!) Our other 5 grandchildren live 700 miles away and we cannot travel to help our daughter who is also going through some marital troubles right now. One thing that keeps us sane is knowing we are not the only ones going through tough times right now…and our daily walks with our four legged friends. (They are loving all the ‘at home’ time right now!) Just imagine the joyful celebrations we will have once life returns to ‘normal’!! Stay safe, everyone, and remember to breath!

    1. Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      April 17, 2020 at 4:19 pm -
      Reply

      Janet- congratulations on the birth of your newest grandchild! What a beautiful reminder of the good in the world even when times seem difficult. I’m happy to hear you’re finding ways to cope. Be well!

  58. Sonja Atkins

    Sonja Atkins

    April 15, 2020 at 9:15 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this information. It was sent to me by a fellow Brain Based Coach and I in turn have passed it along to people in my network. Many of them have remarked how insightful and calming this article was to them. In this crazy, unprecedented and uncertain time, your thoughts are helping people get through. With gratitude and grace, Thank you!

  59. Connie Sedona

    Connie Sedona

    April 15, 2020 at 9:59 pm -
    Reply

    Beautiful and helpful article. I have shared it on Facebook.

    I only wish there had been some mention of the fact that the trauma of this pandemic is layered on top of a 3+ year trauma many of us who prefer kindness and compassion have been struggling with in our country. Maybe you make it a point to avoid political commentary, but I don’t see how it can be overlooked here when many of us are already traumatized with no hope that the current administration has our backs.

  60. Janet Delong
    April 15, 2020 at 10:36 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you so much for your article – very well done. I am a physical and mental health therapist, teach about the amygdala, chronic pain, etc., and I still have been feeling guilty about my lack of productivity working from home. I so appreciate your words of grace.

  61. Morag Buchanan

    Morag Buchanan

    April 16, 2020 at 12:48 am -
    Reply

    Thanx again 4 ALL ur sharing–I so appreciate all of ur thought provoking messages, Susan

  62. Jeri

    Jeri

    April 16, 2020 at 4:33 am -
    Reply

    I was referencing this body info just the other day. I appreciate the clear and descriptive style. One thing that has been helpful to me is to turn to women of color who have been living like this their whole lives.

  63. Tim Whipple

    Tim Whipple

    April 16, 2020 at 1:54 pm -
    Reply

    Please define your understanding of the word “Grace” and give some examples of Grace in ones life. Sincerely, Tim Whipple

    1. Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      April 17, 2020 at 4:35 pm -
      Reply

      Hi Tim. As the author of the article, I envision grace as the compassion, gentleness, non-judgment, and forgiveness that we bestow on ourselves (and others). An example would be recognizing that your productivity will be lower during times of stress and not punishing yourself with negative self-talk as a result. Another example of grace would be refocusing on self-care such as extra rest/nap time, gentle exercise or stretching, deep breathing or meditation, without feeling guilty for taking that time for yourself. I hope that helps some, please let us know if you have additional questions or thoughts. Be well!

  64. Terry Phillips

    Terry Phillips

    April 16, 2020 at 2:46 pm -
    Reply

    I really really needed to read this, it bought me to tears because it made me look inside and confront how I truly feel about myself ,my work expectations, and my finances. I am not really so stressed about being home, it’s what my job expectations are for me to do and get paid. These are stressful because I am trying to help my child stay focused, find a way to make some money to help compensate for money I may not receive because I didn’t get enough training hours in, and have a little and I mean a little time to breathe!! Thank you for these words of realism and comfort.

    1. Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      April 17, 2020 at 4:40 pm -
      Reply

      Terry, looking inside and taking the time to discover our own inner selves is often the hardest work, so we commend you for your vulnerability and courage there! We hope you are able to find a minute or two to breath (deep) each day. Be well!

  65. Melanie Denny
    April 16, 2020 at 2:47 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you for the richness of your message. Your perspective has helped me sort through my thoughts and actions as I manage one day at a time. My soulmate of nearly 44 years passed away in early January and the grief I am experiencing is still so very overwhelming and, throw the pandemic in on top of that and I have felt like I’ve been drowning all alone. From a distance my wonderful family and church family have been so supportive. With God’s help, we’ll all be healed soon is my prayer.

    1. Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      April 17, 2020 at 1:29 pm -
      Reply

      So very sorry for your loss, Melanie! Our thoughts are with you.

  66. Annette D.

    Annette D.

    April 16, 2020 at 3:45 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you for this much needed explanation of my feelings.
    Grace and rest will be a priority now.
    You’ve given me motivation to go for a walk and enjoy the beauty of our earth, and be grateful.
    Peace to all,

  67. […] Why am I so Tired? (Article) […]

  68. Wally Schmidt

    Wally Schmidt

    April 17, 2020 at 12:22 am -
    Reply

    Great article.

  69. Sherry

    Sherry

    April 17, 2020 at 5:23 am -
    Reply

    Wow! Hammer on the head.! So good! Thank you! I have been feeling all these things! Through self-isolating I have felt SO tired! Heavy guilt floods in with having all this time at home & great aspirations of getting so much done, yet, all I can seem to muster is a load of laundry here & there & fixing dinner every night for my husband who is essential & has been working through the pandemic. And then to compound that guilt, there’s the daily question from him “so, what did you do today” which adds on to my already present huge self-induced guilt. I seem to have no energy & just want to curl up on the couch or in the recliner. At night when it is time to sleep, I can’t as my mind races & will not settle down. Thus, have been staying up late watching TV or reading, which makes me even more exhausted. Not being able to sleep is a new thing to me. I have never had sleeping issues. When I do get some rest my husband tells my I have been talking in my sleep a lot, so I know I am dreaming much more than usual. My husband admitted he too has been having nightmares which is not usual for him either. We are empty-nesters & sure didn’t envision any of this in our future. Understanding that this is something many are experiencing as a form of grief & loss and that it is not just us, is such a relief! Also, realizing that it is OK to give ourselves grace through this time is freeing. Again, so much thanks! And from here on, we will proceed with GRACE.

    1. Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      April 17, 2020 at 4:49 pm -
      Reply

      Sherry, thank you for sharing your experience, and I am glad you were able to recognize it as completely normal! We send thanks to your husband for his essential role, and wishes of good health to both of you.

  70. AC Wilson

    AC Wilson

    April 17, 2020 at 2:31 pm -
    Reply

    We are forever changed, and I can’t wait to see how!

  71. Kieran Crossley-Holland

    Kieran Crossley-Holland

    April 17, 2020 at 5:26 pm -
    Reply

    This article is beautifully written and enables us to understand ourselves more. It is strange for me to read an article on exhaustion without any economic references such as whether a family can survive financially or whether I’ll have a job to return to. Surely such worries are also exhausting. To put the ball back into your court, what do you then say to those of us who feel energised and resilient and work through these unprecedented times? Perhaps, that is not normal!

    1. Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      April 18, 2020 at 1:24 am -
      Reply

      Great question- it is absolutely not abnormal to feel energized and a need to be busy during this time! Some of that could be related to personality and natural disposition- some of us just naturally run a little higher energy and then are able to maintain that through high stress times. Some of it is perfectly natural traumatic stress response- some of us tend to busy ourselves (or feel a “pull” towards more energetic) as a means of distraction. Coincidentally, this also tends to coincide with the early stage of grief: which is typically denial. And some of it is sheer survival- many of us who feel a relative sense of calm and ability to function “normally” now, are surviving through the traumatic stress, and may find that it takes months or years to feel/become aware of the effects of these circumstances and the stress on our bodies.
      All this to say that whatever you are feeling right now is perfectly normal and it’s all ok! And whatever you feel on the other side of this is also ok!

  72. Kristen D

    Kristen D

    April 17, 2020 at 6:17 pm -
    Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed this article. I have been very careful about what I read and watch because it is so easy to be swept up by fear and uncertainty. I have tried to do more of the things that I enjoy, like learning new things in online class forums and finding new things to create out of beeswax. I try to take a bath every day and symbolically wash away anything that no longer serves me. I feel tired though despite my efforts to increase my focus on gratitude and unconditional love. I am well aware of the concept of what you focus on grows so I have tried to be conscious of my thoughts, so while I’m not feeling fearful, so many others are and I believe that also takes a toll on us. This was such a wonderful message that I wish I could share.

  73. Leslie

    Leslie

    April 17, 2020 at 6:26 pm -
    Reply

    I don’t know how I received this article because I am not in your collaborative but I am thankful a caring sister sent it my way. My emotions have been a roller coaster. Even though I know all of what you have said in the article, I needed to think about it and you made me do that. Thanks. I have thought I have felt grief several times during this crisis and let myself feel. I hadn’t thought about the reason for the fatigue. I hope you don’t mind me sharing with others. It is just important to know and we are all in the same boat. I shared it with tired teachers and mothers. Tired in Arkansas.

    1. Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      Jenn (Parasol Wellness Collaborative)

      April 18, 2020 at 1:28 am -
      Reply

      Leslie- letting yourself feel (without judgement) is the true work, I’m so glad to hear you were able to be vulnerable and sit with those feelings! We’re honored that our article spoke to you, and that you would choose to pass it along to others. Be well!

  74. Susan Bettis

    Susan Bettis

    April 20, 2020 at 1:35 am -
    Reply

    This is garbage. If you are a first line responder, working in a gocerystore or just lost your job, okay. But for the rest of us IT IS NOT TRAUMA.
    Look historically at what the whole human race has been through historically; wars, bombings, the killing field……
    Those brain changes are adaptive
    And yes. I have a PHd in neuroscience.

    1. Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      Parasol Wellness Collaborative

      April 21, 2020 at 3:30 pm -
      Reply

      Hi Susan. Garbage? You know, we really appreciate engagement, even with opinions of dissent- maybe especially so, actually. We believe that all opinions and perspectives have value. AND, opinions presented with respect will always carry so much more weight. Regardless, we’d like to address your point here.
      The definition of trauma is “a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.” And the disruption to life for most people during this pandemic easily fits that bill. Since the definition of trauma hinges on “experience” and everyone has their own unique experience based on their actual environment combined with their perception of that environment- no one can tell another what constitutes trauma, it’s deeply personal and individual. We believe that healing happens when we acknowledge and validate our feelings (and those of others) and that further damage is caused by dismissing or invalidating experiences.
      Having said that, absolutely the brain is adaptive and we will transcend this difficulty- coming out the other side with something more than what we brought into it, adding resiliency and gumption to our toolkit that we didn’t know we were capable of- just like we have countless times historically (wars, bombings, etc).
      Thanks again for your response and we wish you the best as you navigate the ways you’ve been impacted by COVID 19.

      1. Kristen

        Kristen

        April 25, 2020 at 1:35 am -
        Reply

        Your response to this sharp comment is so full of grace and wisdom! Trauma sensitive indeed. Thank you.

  75. […] are we all feeling SO TIRED?? This article my Aunt Edna shared with me really helped me to understand.  It’s OK and understandable that […]

  76. Brenda

    Brenda

    April 26, 2020 at 4:50 am -
    Reply

    Thank you so very much for this! This advice and explanation of, is good for most in this current pandemic. However, the last three years my son has been dealing with a situation in his life that has triggered exactly what you are explaining about trauma. This was such a great thing to read and helped me understand it so much better about how. our brains deals with and responds to trauma.
    This has been so enlightening. My son has been living in a state of chronic trauma and grief for more than three years now. It’s been so very hard for me, him and our family to understand all he experiences and all he feels. I love your answer and guidance you are sharing. GRACE! Wow! Grace.

  77. Berni Crumb

    Berni Crumb

    April 29, 2020 at 2:25 pm -
    Reply

    A co-worker shared this with me and I am so very grateful that she did. I’ve been feeling guilty for fleeing my computer at the end of long teleworking workdays for my bedroom and curling up with a pillow and comforter and some escapist fiction instead of getting the other “should be doing” things in my life done because I’m feeling so exhausted all the time. Last night, instead of watching and reading the COVID-19 and other distressing news, I chose to spend the evening after work dyeing yarn to make a beautiful, peaceful colorway that I can one day knit into a shawl or sweater when I feel up to it. Focusing on layering the dye and twisting the skeins and the anticipation of seeing the final result come out of the dyepot took my mind off all of the fears and worries that have beset me, and even though I still woke up several times last night and I’m still tired today, emotionally I feel much lighter of spirit and I’m having much more patience with everyone I’m interacting with, whether in my family or via the telework I’m doing. And for the first time, I didn’t feel guilty about taking that creative time to myself.

    Thank you again for this perspective that I will be sharing with my family and friends.

  78. Carolyn Russell

    Carolyn Russell

    April 29, 2020 at 4:14 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you so much. I have been so tired and this truly makes sense. I also hope we do not go back to the hurried life we had before. The good part of this is that families are sitting at the table and having conversation during a meal, playing board games and so on. Good stuff, important stuff.

  79. […] Stay Creative During Quarantine Managing Anxiety During Coronavirus Workbook How to Zoom Like a Pro Why Am I So Tired? Thrive Guide to Mental Health in Time of COVID-19 10 Ways to Stay Motivated During Quarantine […]

  80. Valerie A Cox

    Valerie A Cox

    May 5, 2020 at 2:49 pm -
    Reply

    Great insight! I’m looking forward to turning this new normal into a positive situation. We should all come out of our cocoon better than we went in. Remember that growth looks good on everyone.

  81. […] Why am I so tired? Our brains on trauma. […]

  82. […] Why am I so tired? Our brains on trauma. […]

  83. Expectations? | The Ewellogy
    May 18, 2020 at 11:31 pm -
    Reply

    […] During times of survival, our expectations for ourselves and our families must be lowered. – Parasol Wellness Collaborative, April 6, […]

  84. Joan Brower

    Joan Brower

    May 28, 2020 at 5:11 pm -
    Reply

    I see no way to share this. I live in a senior community and many of my friends here have these challenges, me included. If I could share this on Message or email it would help them.
    Thank you.

  85. Tammy

    Tammy

    May 31, 2020 at 8:31 pm -
    Reply

    I’ve been obsessing about my weight gain and can’t help to think that I’ll never loose it, but after reading this article and the posts, I realize that each individual is struggling with their own personal challenge. I recognize now that this obsession about my weight is more about my concerns about societal changes and fear of the future rather than the weight gain. Thanks for a great article.

  86. […] health experts also offer productivity-compatible advice. Therapist Leah Corder explains that our quarantine has been equivalent to chronic traumatic stress. No one can […]

  87. […] health experts also offer productivity-compatible advice. Therapist Leah Corder explains that our quarantine has been equivalent to chronic traumatic stress. No one can […]

  88. […] health experts also offer productivity-compatible advice. Therapist Leah Corder explains that our quarantine has been equivalent to chronic traumatic stress. No one can […]

  89. […] health experts also offer productivity-compatible advice. Therapist Leah Corder explains that our quarantine has been equivalent to chronic traumatic stress. No one can […]

  90. Judith Trees Conger

    Judith Trees Conger

    June 15, 2020 at 3:40 pm -
    Reply

    Thank you so much. I completely understand the concept as I was a Psych RN. I am swallowed up by fatigue.
    You were a great Blessing to me on the day I really needed it. I am glad to know that I am not fatally ill!!

  91. […] health experts also offer productivity-compatible advice. Therapist Leah Corder explains that our quarantine has been equivalent to chronic traumatic stress. No one can […]

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