You can’t drink from an empty cup. It’s an idea plastered over every self-help blog on the internet and a version of this permeates Instagram culture. In essence, this simple maxim is responding to our culture’s overemphasis on busy-ness and doing. It asks us to pause, put down the to-do list and evaluate our inner energy levels. Have you taken a moment to do that recently?
If you live with hearing loss, you also might be dealing with hearing loss fatigue. It’s a condition reported time and time again by people with damaged or decreased hearing, usually in the form of a deep and unwavering exhaustion. Your grandparents might have called it being “bone tired,” because it feels like you just don’t have anything left, right down to your core.
When hearing is hard
You could say that living a life with hearing loss is like adding an additional step to each and every encounter of your day. On top of the actual interactions, you’re dealing with the fact that for a person with hearing loss, the experience itself is an energy drain and requires much more effort than it does for a person who hears normally.
You can’t just sleep on it
When you’re coping with hearing loss exhaustion, the solution might seem as though a solid night’s rest is enough to do the trick. This is rarely the case. It is often an energy drain that hits an exhaustion peak after a series of too many days without enough time for recuperation. You could be getting a solid eight hours of sleep every night, but if the remaining sixteen hours of your day have you functioning at full speed without any sort of restorative time, then you’ll eventually hit a wall.
While step one is obviously to try and get on a regular sleeping schedule that gets you at least eight hours, there are other ways to replenish your energy stores when more shut eye just isn’t enough.
Introduce some time to stare into space
Even while we sleep, our minds continue to operate. It is only when we consciously put our thoughts on a dimmer that we can give ourselves the mental space we need to rejuvenate down to those deepest energy levels.
This is also the space where creative energy comes into play. Even if you’re not going to paint watercolors or collage the photo albums of the past decade, creativity can be a fundamental element of problem solving. Giving yourself the time and space to be quiet and let your mind wander can not only add fuel to your most internal engines, but it can also result in outside the box solutions that will introduce more ease into your life.
Shift your perspective, shift your mood
That same peace and quiet you’ve scheduled into your day might allow different perspectives to rise up. If you’re feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, some dedicated mental rest gives your brain the chance to see the obstacles of your life in perspective. Suddenly, a really difficult week is just that: a week.
When we stay in a negative mindset, our outlook makes our lives feel overwhelming. By shifting over to focus on the positives, a more energized and positive perspective often emerges. Rarely does the actual realities of our lives dictate the amount of control we have over them. More often, it is how we feel about tackling today and tomorrow that result in proactive action that allows us to overcome the hurdles in front of us. It is sometimes the feeling of being overwhelmed that we confuse with exhaustion.
What happens in Vagus stays in Vagus
Heard of the Vagus nerve? A lot of folks haven’t, but it’s being closely watched by scientists right now. This important nerve originates in the brain, traveling all the way down the tongue and vocal chords. In fact, it continues right down the trunk of your body into your heart, lungs and all the way through your digestive tract. When stimulated, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system, or as you might know it, “the system that calms you down.”
And the activities that directly stimulate the Vagus nerve are just as enjoyable as you think they’d be. To encourage Vagus nerve activation, take a bath or splash your face with water. Do some deep diaphragmatic breathing or breathwork during yoga. And don’t forget the silliest — and thus most important — way to engage this natural calming tool: singing loudly in the car!