Are you tired or are you just saturated?
I’ve spent much of my life saying I’m tired. It was a way I justified taking time for myself. If I was “tired” then I could opt out of something. It made it somehow acceptable to say no or to rest.
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to recognize that it’s not that I’m actually tired (as if left alone and to my own devices, I actually have an abundance of energy), but rather, I’m actually saturated – Too full of the outside world, of stimulation, of socializing, of information. Full to the point of saturation. I can’t take anything more in, without it being depleting.
As a natural introvert, I require time alone to regenerate. I need time within myself to process…life.
I adore people and I love being around people…until I get saturated. Until I’ve spent too much time with others, and not enough time on my own.
I resisted the term introverted for years as it always felt like there was some element of social reclusiveness or awkwardness to it.
It’s like the old version (at least in my head), and what I’ve noticed many others say until they’ve embraced this side of themselves), had introversion, or a need to take time for one linked to shyness or an inability to be social.
Quite the opposite is true though, at least for me and many other gregarious introverts I’ve met along my travels.
I love people and can bring life, enthusiasm, and lots of healthy social traits to life, but once I’ve hit my saturation point, my tank is empty and it drains me to be out in the world.
It’s been a journey for me to accept this, and learn to navigate it in my own life.
When I moved in with my partner and his 20-something daughter joined us, I fast learned that if I didn’t create the mental, spiritual and physical space for myself regularly, everyone would suffer.
As a natural extrovert who fills up with energy when around others, my partner had a real push-pull with me when we first moved in together. He had a belief that I should go /do /engage with others in the same capacity as him. Once he understood my saturation capacity and I was able to articulate it in a way that wasn’t about chronically crying tired or making his way somehow wrong, it freed us both up. When he understood it was actually about my internal social battery being empty or my external saturation capacity full…life got better for both of us.
Now he happily fills his social dance card, and I join him when I feel up to it or luxuriate in being home ALONE when I’m not.
It has helped me accept myself as I am, vs compare myself to other beings out there, and feel somehow not enough.
One thing I have noticed with many women in my practice over these past 20+ years is the increasing saturation overload that is happening. Be it information, social media, chronic and unending to-do lists or just the frenetic pace that our world operates in.
People, and in particular women, are full beyond capacity…and we’re starting to crumble.
Saturation can take many forms depending on the person, and the duration of saturation without a break:
- Adrenal exhaustion and burnout
- peri/menopausal symptoms
- Frustration and irritability – particularly at anyone wanting ANYTHING more from you.
- Just a constant state of overwhelm, dread or frazzle that doesn’t seem to let up.
- IBS or digestive complaints
- Or staying up way too late, just to get a moment or two to yourself, and then feeling sleep-deprived the next day
We all have a saturation limit.
By understanding the big picture and the smaller day-to-day picture of what we need as individuals to stay healthy, nourished, and balanced, we can make little tweaks to our daily demands or external inputs, to make sure that we are prioritizing time for ourselves.
Time to decompress, to process, to digest life.
Once we give ourselves permission to…be ourselves, with all our unique needs and social dance-card space, the more we can communicate with those we love, and get these needs met.
My partner is more than happy to give me some space now when I need it, with no complaint. Because he knows, when I have the time to myself and I am able to fill myself up from the inside vs being over-saturated from the external world, the happier and more present I am…and the more joyful I am to be around.
So what’s your saturation capacity? What do you need to become full of yourself in the best possible way, and fill up, from the inside out?
Just start by taking a look at your daily or weekly schedule and see if there’s anything you could pull out that doesn’t actually serve you and may even be draining your energy. Are you able to opt out or say no to something that would allow you some time to recharge?
Even taking 15-20 minutes away from your family and going to your room alone can be a nourishing step towards clearing out over-saturation and tending to yourself.