An Antidote for Exhaustion

Many of us are tired and anxious today. Many of us have been tired and anxious for many days now. There is a David Whyte quote I love which says, “The antidote for exhaustion is wholeheartedness.”

It’s interesting to thinking about wholeheartedness. What does it look like and sound like for each of us? I think perhaps wholeheartedness is nourished in small, consistent moves.

I recently connected with a colleague who shared that she and her husband found it difficult to show up, wholeheartedly for each other and their family after a long day at work. It was hard to be wholehearted when they were both still tense from a long, stressful day at work. So, they formed a new tradition. Every day when they get home, they put their phones off to the side, and they hug. She said that while it might sound cheesy, it’s a great way to step out of the clutter in their minds and into the physical comforts of an embrace.

This led me to wonder what the non-hug version of a hug might be for us in our organizations right now. I was talking to my friend, Angela Faulhaber, today who set out to do something special for teachers. So, she bought some popsicles and walked around during their professional development day. She played ice cream truck music from her phone and handed out a little happiness. She said that the sound of that music coming down the hall peaked the teachers’ curiosity. It’s amazing how music, especially sounds from our childhoods (the good times, at least) can spark child-like joy and delight. Staying connecting to our inner child is a great way to stay connected to wholeheartedness. Engaging our senses is one way to bring us out of the “ick” and into the joy of the present moment. When we feel gratitude for life’s little pleasures, it’s hard not too feel connected to our heart centers.

There’s a young person inside each of us who deserves to be loved and nurtured. Perhaps staying in touch with that part of ourselves is a small glimse into wholeheartedness. As Brene Brown says, “Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”

Be good to yourself. You’re doing the best you can. And when the world feels particularly heavy, what might you do to bring child-like delight to someone else? A hand-written card, a popsicle, a little music over the intercom at school? Whatever it takes right now.

There are no small gestures. Every little bit counts. Imagine if we all commited to sprinkling each day with a smidge more thoughtfulness. Imagine how the world would change. We are all so desperate to be seen, known, understood. How we show up for ourselves and for others matters. It may matter now more than ever.

Keep showing up.

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