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Exhaustion of the Spirit

When you think you’re tired because you’re not sleeping or eating right or you exercised too much or too little, but then you fix all those things and you’re still tired – it may actually be your spirit that is worn out. 

It can be pretty hard to differentiate the cause unless you rule out the other factors, because spirit (aka: energy, enthusiasm, creativity, desire, passion, joy, shine in our eyes) is always there, while our other habits can fluctuate. But here are some ways of telling if this is what you’re experiencing:

  • feeling exhausted by: negativity, mediocrity, solutionsless-complaining
  • needing to spend time alone in nature or in quiet contemplation
  • feeling energized after being exposed to: beauty, uplifting art or music, conversation with engaged, bright and/or soulful people, spending time in nature, immersing yourself in a passion or creating
  • feeling like you have an injury which can’t be seen, but you definitely know something inside is tarnished, or even broken. 

I have experienced this a few times in my life, so if you’re going through it now I can empathize. Being a very open person and putting myself into a variety of new situations is great for learning and growth, but you can find yourself unprepared for new challenges. Challenges that can be too much for us if they affect us very negatively and wear us down.

If you’re an HSP (highly sensitive person) you’re even more likely to experience this unique kind of burnout. The world can be more geared towards the people who crave stimulation, information and drama, making it overwhelming for people with sensitive nervous systems. 

I feel that at a certain point in our lives we all have to get real about the minimum quality of situations and conditions required for our health. In doing so, we can decide to change a situation or culture, leave it, or, if it us unavoidable, protect ourselves from it as best we can.

Because spirit is always there and not in the forefront of our minds, it seems infinite. Until suddenly we realize we’ve exhausted it. 

Putting energy into someone or something for too long while getting nothing back, allowing our enthusiasm to be used by someone unable or too lazy to engage their own, wringing our creativity too hard without rest – basically any form of using the energy of our spirit without reward or renewal, can exhaust it. 

And then we need rest. Not a few naps or an early night. Deep, deep rest that renews our spirit. We need to bathe in beauty, remove ourselves from incompetence and ugliness, pursue activities that kindle a spark of life within us, restoring our unique self and the energy that both fuels it and which is given off by it. 

We need to give our spirit the conditions it requires in order for the healing process to happen fully. 

Because when it is broken there is no progress, no deep love, no joy, no newness that can enter our world and delight us. Without spirit, life is all structure and no substance, like a dilapidated house on a hill with broken windows untouched by either light or warmth. 

But whatever state you’re in, remember there’s always at least a spark there within you, just waiting for you to supply the right kindling that will allow it catch fire again. And with patience, dedication and good choices, you can tend that precious flame until you feel like yourself once more. And then a whole world of colour and life and experience will open out in front of you to enjoy once again. 

I hope this was useful, and that if your spirit is tired, you take the deep, deep rest you need and deserve.

Take care.