Author: Liz Snell, Founder of Military Spouses of Strength
I have never been the energetic type. I have always enjoyed my “beauty sleep”; in fact I require a lot of it. So when I experienced “military spouse fatigue” I thought I was just requiring more sleep to boost my energy level. I even hypothesized that my thyroid was off; I didn’t want to admit that I was taking on too much. But part of my personality, for better or for worse, is that I am an extreme giver. Like an extreme couponer, I do anything that involves helping others to the extreme. I give and give until there is nothing left of me to give, and then I find a way to give some more. And being a military spouse I often find myself giving within the military community. For me there isn’t better of a cause–whether it is through some official military function or lending a hand to a fellow military spouse.
I give so much that I often forget about myself, or maybe sometimes I give so much so that I can forget about myself. Whatever the reason I know that I am not alone. I have found that within the military spouse community there are many like me, perhaps you may be, as well.
We can only give so much of ourselves until we reach a vulnerable point of “giving fatigue.” We should be aware of the symptoms not only for us, but so that we might recognize some of these symptoms in others in our community and perhaps help them, as well.
Here is a list of possible fatigue symptoms:
- Withdrawing from people, causes and activities you once found pleasure in.
- Feeling like even when you are doing things, you aren’t making any movement.
- Putting aside your health: physical, mental, and spiritual.
- Becoming temperamental.
If you find that you are beginning to exhibit some of the signs that indicate you may be in fatigue, all hope is not lost. There are some things that you can do to get back to you.
1. Cut back on the activities that are causing you to become fatigued. This can be hard to do but is important to identify the cause and then reduce the amount of time that you give to it in your life.
2. Mix up your schedule. When we do the same thing repeatedly we can also experience fatigue as it becomes mundane. Change the order of your activities– this will give you a refreshing look. None of these steps are performed with a twitch of your nose, there isn’t a magic genie that makes you go from fatigued to revived faster than a race car rounds the track, and so be patient.
3. Lastly, take care of you. Take care of yourself physically (workout), spiritually (find your place of peace) and mentally (talk to someone). I know personally that taking care of you as an extreme giver can be the hardest task to accomplish as it seems selfish. But you must remember that YOU MATTER- when you recognize this fact and realize that taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, it is easier to do. Giving to yourself doesn’t have a time commitment, nor a length of duty. Maybe you grab a coffee with a friend once a month or get a pedicure once a week. As long as you are taking time to care for yourself, you will reduce the risk that you will experience “extreme giving fatigue.”