One of the most common complaints among business women is fatigue. Across the board, women of all ages and occupations are finding themselves struggling with being tired, all the time. While some may have underlying health condition's such as low iron levels, thyroid problems, or even obesity, most of us just fall into the classification of what I call “hustler's fatigue.”
This is a common diagnosis among both men and women who own their own business, work as independent contractors, and are climbing the ladder of success with whatever their daily grind is. Often times when we find ourselves being overly tired each day, its an accumulation of the following sources:
1. You're working too much (which is the obvious one). Working too much can cause us to mentally and physically get worn out. The amount of work we do on a daily basis can cause us to exert way too much energy into one thing, that we feel as though we have nothing left to give to anything or anyone else. Our relationships and important associations begin to suffer, whether we realize it or not, and things that are important to us outside of work begin to get neglected. We plan to invest time into that thing but because of the amount of fatigue we experience, we put it off until tomorrow, which becomes next week, which becomes next month, and then eventually becomes “one of these days'...
Take my house for example. I currently have a husband and four kids ages eight, seven, five, and three, and on top of that, I'm twenty four weeks pregnant. I own two businesses, volunteer at as a P.E coach once a week, and I am currently taking some GE classes at my local community college to meet some requirements for my degree. It is extremely difficult to keep my house from looking like a pigsty. My kids change their clothes at least three times a day, when they wake up, they change from their pajamas to their school clothes, when they get home, they change from their school clothes to something more relaxed, and then when it's time to go to bed, they change into a completely new set of pajamas. Dirty clothes accumulate so quickly in my home that its ridiculous. I tried the Susie Homemaker approach but washing clothes everyday does not work with my schedule, not at all. So, I've switched to making Saturday's my laundry and hair day. I am suppose to wash all of the dirty clothes in the house and do the girls hair for the week, but I often find myself getting so consumed with work that Saturday will come and go, and nothing that I had planned to do gets done. Which actually makes it so much harder during the week.
Now, instead of having a clean selection of school clothes hanging up in the closet for my kids to choose from, we have to scavenge their drawers for matching outfits and socks. I have to wake up earlier to wash face towels and underwear because we're all out, and because their hair did not get done for the week, I have to brush three heads into buns and ponytails before rushing out of the door to get them to school as close to on time as possible.
Talk about fatigue, I'm tired just hours after waking up, just from getting the kids ready, because I allowed myself to overwork and neglect the very thing that was going to make life easier for me in the long run. One Saturday, that's all I needed, and not even a whole Saturday, just some hours away from work to throw a few loads in and do three heads.
We do that so often. We allow work to consume us to the point of where things around us begin to fall apart, making life so much harder to deal with in the long run, when all it would have taken was just a portion of your time invested into something else that is just important.
2. The second cause of hustler's fatigue is something most people don't realize, and that is, not working enough. I know it may sound funny. I just mentioned that overworking can cause fatigue so how in the world is it that not working enough can cause fatigue as well. I'm sure you're thinking, “Make up your mind. Which one is it?” Well the answer is both. What happens when an entrepreneur does not invest enough time into their work is the overwhelming feeling of anxiety and stress that accompanies the long list of “to do's” that never seem to get done.
I know we have all experienced the freedom that comes with creating a checklist of things to do and actually completing everything on that list in a timely manner. It feels so good to get things done. Well, the opposite occurs when we create a checklist and little to nothing gets done, in fact, we end up having to constantly add to this checklist which makes it seem like we are always playing catch up. This is not so much physically draining as it is mentally draining. This list of things to do subconsciously eats away at us, causing distracting thoughts and overwhelming feelings of anxiety to occur. It effects our mood, causing frustration, irritability, stress, and it even causes cases of depression to occur.
I speak to women regularly who express to me their concerns about being extremely tired but not understanding why, because they feel like they don't do much during the day to cause the amount of fatigue they have been experiencing. The correlation between them all is the desire to be doing more. It's not as if they don't know what needs to be done or have the desire to do it, but what is lacking is the motivation to get it done, because there is just so much to do in what seems to be so little time.
The best way to get over this source of fatigue is to condense your “to do” list. It's great to write down everything that needs to be done, but don't focus on the entire list at one time. Instead, condense it to where you focus on getting just a few of those things done each day, starting with the most important. This will allow you to experience that freedom that comes with getting things done, instead of constantly feeling like you're drowning in never ending tasks.
3. Another source of hustlers fatigue is not giving yourself a break. When we work until our wheels fall off it hinders us from moving forward. I mean if you think about it, how far can a vehicle go without wheels? Not too far right? The same applies to you. You have to give yourself a break and regularly remove yourself from the work environment. There are many thing you can do to begin this process, but the top three I recommend is:
*Take time out to do something you enjoy
*Spend time with a friend or one of your closest relatives, enjoy one of your hobbies outside of hustling, do something that makes you smile.
*Take moments out of your day to just breathe and enjoy the atmosphere. We often get so caught up in the hustle of life that we miss the beautiful things going on around us. Take time to notice and experience the world around you by going to a small park or even taking a moment to sit outside in your backyard and enjoy the calmness of nature.
*Take a day off each week, maybe even two or three. Trust me, the work will still be there once you return. I'm not saying leave a ton of work unfinished and ditch your responsibilities for an extended period of time, but your body and your mind needs a break. You should have a life outside of work, and if you don't, I think it's about time you make one. You need a day off, so make sure you give yourself one.
4. The fourth source of hustlers fatigue is the most obvious one of them all, which is, you are not getting enough sleep. Most entrepreneurs are sleep deprived, it just comes with the territory. I'm actually running on about five hours of sleep as we speak, but that does not mean it's OK. You have to learn how to listen to your body and be sure to get proper rest as regularly as possible. Sure, we make sacrifices from time to time in order to get things done, but your time to time should not be every single day. And think about this, do you ever even consider switching it up and sacrificing getting things done to get some sleep? I know that’s a bit far fetched, since its so much easier to sacrifice sleep, but sleep is just as much important as making money, in fact, its a lot more important but we don't prioritize as we should. I know for many of you, it's a lot easier said than done, but even if it may seem impossible to get a full 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night, you have to be the one to make a conscious effort to get as much valuable rest as you can.
Two ways of doing this is by one, literally scheduling a nap during the day. I mean actually open your calendar and pick a time each day to dedicate solely to napping. A full sleep cycle can be completed in either 30 minutes or 1 hour and 30 minutes. You never want to interrupt a sleep cycle because it can make you even more tired than you were before you went to sleep, so be sure to set your nap time around one of these two cycles.
But just a brief F.Y.I, if you are already extremely fatigued, it may take some time to get your body to adjust to this new pattern, meaning, you're probably going to struggle with either waking up from your nap feeling even more exhausted or finding it difficult to actually fall asleep, but don't worry, keep at it and you will begin to feel like a brand new woman.
The second way to make sure you get enough rest is to choose your cut off time and stick to it. This means, don't bring your work home, and if you work from home or you just must, learn how to shut it down. Entrepreneurs tend to have a mentality that causes them to believe you have to work 24/7, but this is not the case. You need to set a time when you are allowed to clock out and leave work behind until the next day.
5. Another big reason for hustler's fatigue is the fact that we forget to take care of ourselves. Daily maintenance is a must, especially for women, but one of our biggest mistakes is waiting until its too late to focus on our physical health.
I know being an entrepreneur requires a lot of time and dedication, but your health is a lot more more important and requires even more. You have to be sure to take care of you, because nobody can take car of you the way that you can.
This means you need to make time for physical exercise on a regular basis. Get you a membership at a gym and join some of their fitness classes, hire a personal trainer, choose to walk a few miles each morning... Do something! It has been scientifically proven that physical exercise helps you live an extended and more enjoyable life. Even as little as 20 minutes of weight training can make a big difference in your future abilities.
You also need to be sure to make healthier food choices, because most entrepreneurs either don't eat enough or eat too much junk which are both detrimental to your health. I tell my clients all the time to choose an allotted day and time each week to prepare small meals. All you have to do is choose what you want to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two healthy snacks, then pack them in plastic containers so you can grab and go throughout the week. It really doesn't take long and the time spent is so worth it. But of course we get into the whole debate of getting bored with the meals and not having much variety, but if you really think about it, how much variety do you have when eating fast food? Yes you have a great deal of places to choose from, but the food choices at most drive-thru's or delivery places are all the same... Burger, pizza, fries, soft drink, taco, burrito, wrap, and so on... How is the variety of fast food choices so different from that of food you can prepare at home? If you're bored with the foods you're preparing, choose a different variety of food. It's that simple. You can make eating just as convenient for yourself as a food chain can. You just have to, once again, prioritize it.
Another important way to take care of yourself is by seeing the doctor regularly. It's important to stay on top of your health and know whats going on with your body, and not rely on Google and self diagnosis. Stay on top of check-ups, dentist visits, and your eyes, because the longer you go with underlying health problems you do not know about, the more damage it does to your body in the long run. I you notice something out of the ordinary, get it checked immediately. If you just don't feel right, get it checked immediately. Your health is important, so you must begin to give your body the proper attention it needs.
6. This brings us to our last source of hustlers fatigue which is not pleasing yourself on a regular basis. When we live a life that is full of all work and no play, it can become very dull to say the least. This is why I suggest to every woman to commit to doing something just for you at least once a week. Buy a dress from the clearance rack, get a facial or a massage, treat yourself to brunch, get your hair and nails done, do something to congratulate you for being such an amazing person and for doing such a great job at whatever it is you do, because you deserve it.
We tend to do any and everything for everyone around us, and we put so much time and effort into our businesses, but you must take time out to reward yourself for even the smallest tasks. You have needs that need to be met by you, so stop putting your own needs to the side and do you boo. Stop making excuses, you do have the time. Make yourself a priority and give yourself a big pat on the back because you're doing what you gotta do, and guess what, no matter how little the progress, progress is progress. Celebrate, boost yourself up, and watch that feeling of fatigue fly right out of the window. Sometimes all you need is to encourage yourself and say, “Girl, you did that.”
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