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The Energizer Blog

  • Writer's pictureEileen McDargh

Exhausted? Let’s Unpack It!

Tired woman at work

Blame it on the dog. Eddie is an adorable, fluffy American Eskimo, 17 years old, very deaf and blind in one eye. When my sister got an emergency call that they needed to go to Tucson, the regular dog sitters were unavailable.

“Can you meet me halfway between Dana Point and Los Angeles and get Eddie?”

I’ll never say no to my wonderful sister.  

We loaded his bed, a massive box with kibble, bone broth, dog treats, two kinds of pills, eye drops, and his leash.  Oh yes, and a folder with an Excel spreadsheet of instructions.

Although Eddie has been at our house multiple times, he always had Susan and their husband, Tom, in attendance.  It never occurred to me that without hearing and limited sight, poor Eddie’s only remaining sense was smell. Susan and Tom were not here to sniff.

Thus, “bedtime” was not on the agenda. I was up every hour for the first two nights when he barked. I don’t speak “dog,” so it was always a guessing game: food? Potty break? Or a walk? Or just outside to look at the stars?

By day three, I was dragging. My brain was fuzzy. I was exhausted. How do parents with newborns do it?  I gave up my regular run and walked Eddie instead. I ignored one late evening bark and was rewarded with three piles of you-know-what on the beige Berber carpet.  Not Eddie’s fault. He tried to tell me!

On day seven, the wonderful dog sitter was available so I could drive Eddie back to the home he knew so well. Happy camper on all counts.

Let’s Unpack What I Learned About Exhaustion

  1. Think first. Then act.  If I had realized that my little four-legged buddy would be in a strange environment, I would have asked for Susan's clothing to put on his bed. It got me to question how often I say “yes” without looking carefully at what might be entailed.  I’ll bet I’m not the only one who jumps first and thinks later! 

  2. Reframe the exhaustion as a learning experience. I met new people just by walking the dog. I found a fantastic carpet cleaner (Impressive Results) –yes, the company’s actual name) I discovered I do NOT have to run daily if I do serious walking.

  3. The world will not end if I leave emails unanswered for a day.

  4. Celebrate naps. I used to think of them as a sign of weakness. Now, I see them as refueling my body.

I also started pondering good exhaustion: the completion of a long-dreamed project, the successful party for friends, the day’s end from exploring new cities, and … you can complete the list.

Bottom line: Exhaustion runs the gamut. It’s the lessons we take from it that matter.


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