Overcoming tiredness: Self-care vs selfishness

Overcoming tiredness: Self-care vs selfishness


Do you feel there’s never enough time? Do you spend every day rushing to get through your list of tasks at work and at home, yet lie in bed each night thinking about all the things left to do?

Louise Thompson has first-hand experience of feeling constantly tired. The New Zealand Herald columnist left her corporate job and retrained as a life coach and writer after a burnout prompted her to learn about regaining energy, setting boundaries and “prioritising happiness”.

She now works with many clients caught in the tired-all-the-time trap.

Louise says people who feel there’s never enough time will eventually start getting stressed and irritable. “We feel that time’s just slipping away. We’re not really achieving what we want to achieve.”

Louise, author of The Busy Women’s Guide to High Energy Happiness, believes people who feel they don’t have enough time in their lives should re-examine the way they make use of their time.

“If you catch yourself saying ‘I don’t have enough time,’ you do have enough time – what you don’t have is clear enough priorities.

Lack of time and energy can be a particular problem for life’s givers, says Louise. Givers rarely set limits on how much or how often they give, and are reluctant to ask for what they need.

The secret, she says, is to prioritise self-care. While many people – especially women, and especially mothers – equate self-care with selfishness, Louise says it’s impossible to take care of anyone else unless you’re taking care of yourself.

She says it’s easy for givers to make the mistake of assuming it’s easy for others to know when they need help. Givers need to learn to tell people what they need, without apologising in advance.

“Next time someone tries to help you, go crazy and let them,” she says.

Louise’s three top tips on overcoming tiredness are:

  1. Define what you want the extra time for.
  2. Define your top three personal and top three professional priorities for the year ahead. Be as clear and specific as possible.
  3. Choose consistently in favour of your chosen priorities. This will mean saying no to lots of options, but it will also free up time to focus on the things that really matter to you.