ASK MERRILY/Merrily Preston

ASK MERRILY/Merrily Preston

Dear Merrily,

I am exhausted.

Im a high-level manager and have been pushed so hard at work that I can’t see my way clear. We are restructuring; we’ve had dozens of meetings; I’ve had turmoil among my staff. I am anxious every minute of every day. There is critical work that I cannot get done. I take work home on weekends.

There is no respite where I can shove it aside and find peace.

I provide emotional support for my aging mother. My house is neglected. I find solace in church, but church has become one more “to do” at an appointed hour.

I told my boss I am overloaded. He said we are all busy.

I don’t have time or energy to look for another job.

I’ve always found the strength to handle anything, but now I’m feeling a deep sense of failure at my inability to handle all this.

I wish I could run away.

There has to be more to life than this.

Dear Exhausted,

Dont run away.  There is more to life than this.  Even though you have become lost in overload and exhaustion, you can find your vital energy right where you are.

What makes you feel alive?  Whatever it is, do it now in the snippets of time between tasks, during commutes, on short walks. 

If you continue with no respite, you will experience burnout, a condition in which a person becomes unable to function.  Ask yourself several times a day, what do I need, and respond to that need. 

Stress constricts our breathing.  All daylong remind yourself to breathe more deeply, especially during meetings (no one will notice).  

Delegate and say no (even to family).  Hire someone to clean your house. 

Merrily Preston is an intentional life facilitator who lives in Woodbridge. This column is exclusive to The Alexandria Times.