Laurie Deschen

Founder of the website Tiny Buddha and co-founder of the Next Creator Up podcast.

I’m very tired. I’m having a baby in six weeks, and my pregnancy is going through with complications. At the same time, I continue to work and participate in new projects.

It’s hard: for every small victory of this difficult period, there was a moment when I felt destroyed. I recently realized what helps me overcome fatigue. If you are also having a hard time, my tips may come in handy.

1. Don’t compare your tiredness to someone else’s.

Over a year ago, a friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer. She quit her job despite the risk of running out of money. She broke off relationships that were not suitable for her, despite the engagement. And she met cancer with her usual courage. Her feat is not that she was not afraid, but that she overcame a difficult period, despite all the fears.

My conditions are much more pleasant, and sometimes it seems that I really have no reason to be so worried. My experience is nothing compared to what my friend went through. I think I should just come to terms with my stress at the end of a hard day, silently endure any fatigue or discomfort. Just because I’m lucky.

But it’s hard for me too. I’m still going through a difficult pregnancy, trying to get everything done, dealing with unpleasant physical symptoms and a lot of fears. There will always be someone who had a harder time, but why blame yourself for it?

People find themselves in different situations and at the same time may equally need help and understanding.

2. Stop Focusing on What Doesn’t Matter

In times of trouble, we need to better understand what really matters and what doesn’t. If we spend all our energy on unimportant things, we won’t have the energy to do the things that really change our lives.

Seven years ago, I had surgery to remove uterine fibroids. I knew that for a speedy recovery I should not strain, but the mess in the room haunted me. I’m a fan of order.

It’s been a day since the operation. The seam after the incision in the lower abdomen has just begun to tighten. And then I see a casually thrown pair of shoes next to the door. I knew they weren’t supposed to be there. I was in pain, but I tried to put these shoes in the closet. Mom said I was crazy and she was right.

Now I remember the shoe incident every time I feel exhausted and want to do something. I ask myself: will it wait until morning? Or maybe I shouldn’t do it at all? What if someone helps me? And, most importantly, will it really make my life better?

Crossing things out of your diary is not easy, especially if you, like me, are used to taking everything on yourself. But sometimes we just need to give up something in order to save strength and save ourselves from a nervous breakdown.

3. Don’t think that when you’re down, you can do what you could do before.

Maybe you were more active or productive before (I definitely was). Or you were the person you could ask for help at any time of the day. Or a great conversationalist who could listen to a friend, even if it would take all night.

We worry not only because we will no longer be the same, but also because those around us will not like these changes. But we are inevitably confronted with new challenges and needs that will not go away if we simply ignore them.

I don’t romanticize change. Not being able to do what you used to love is a total waste.

I don’t go to yoga anymore because I don’t have the time and energy. And I don’t do a bunch of other things that used to consist of my every day. But I was lucky: someday I will be able to do it again, even if not soon.

It’s okay to worry about what you can’t do. But in the end, we still have to accept reality and ask ourselves how to work with what we have. Otherwise, we will be very worried, and these experiences will not change anything.

4. Do not demand from yourself what you cannot do

Many of us make this mistake. We think we can do more: others do! If you feel bad, do not convince yourself that everything is in order. That way you won’t be more productive. And to reproach yourself for a forced respite is also pointless.

If you are tired, you need rest. And if it hurts, compassion. And nothing will change for the better until you get what you need.

We cannot quit everything and do what we want, especially if we have taken responsibility to others. But we can definitely find some time to please ourselves.

Recently, I started to include such moments of rest in my schedule. If I can’t afford an hour of naps, I will sleep for 15 minutes. If I don’t have time to walk 10,000 steps, then at least walk around the block. If I don’t have an hour to write about all my experiences in a diary, I will take the time to note three important problems and three ways to solve them.

5. Stop thinking you’re behind

We constantly compare ourselves with others and think that we must keep up with them, otherwise we will waste our lives. It is not true.

You don’t have to be perfect to be happy. We do not have to be afraid of falling behind someone, because each of us goes our own way. And no matter what is happening in our lives right now, this is a valuable experience.

Many would agree that success is inextricably linked to overcoming challenges. I would never have thought that my decade-long struggle with depression and bulimia would be the reason for a change for the better. I could not imagine how my pain would determine the further trajectory of my life and how this dark stage would lead me to new ones – bright, filled and exciting.

Accept where you are and who you are now, even if it doesn’t suit you. Only in this way can you achieve high goals in the future.