Something that surprised me on this trip is just how bad I am at discerning how tired I am. I’ll find myself asking, ‘Why am I even grumpier than usual?’, ‘Why am I now struggling with doubts and indecision?’ or ‘Why am I dreading having to do more writing?’
I suspect that being tired impairs my ability to judge that I’m tired, and it’s especially hard when it creeps up on me slowly. I’ll forget that I’ve only had snatch breaths of rest here and there over the last few weeks, and that fatigue accumulates.
But then, similar to the thinking around taking ‘just one more’ cookie from the cookie jar, I’ll push myself for just one more day, and then one more after that.
When giving a community talk recently, I was asked: ‘How do you know if you’re burning out? What are the early warning signs?’ Such a great question! I’ve seen plenty of answers to this online; lists like ‘Ten signs you’re fatigued/exhausted/burning out.’ But these all require that I first ask myself the question — and then am able to stop.