She was tired. She’d been managing a position that put her in charge of the health and well-being of hundreds of patients each week for several years.
With a new role on the horizon she finally felt like she could open up and share just how exhausting and depleting her job had been at times. And how it kept her awake at night and how she’s not had a good night’s rest for more than a year.
Suffering in silence
Isn’t it funny that she did not share her struggles beforehand? That she only felt comfortable to tell the truth once she could see the light at the end of the tunnel?
Unfortunately this is a very common occurrence and I’m sure you’ve had married friends who looked the image of perfection and happiness all the way until they announced they’d get divorced. Or someone near you who might have been the picture of energy and motivation until they collapsed with a burnout.
What is this all about? Why are so many of us suffering in silence?
Working with many of you over the years I’ve come up with two theories:
- We suffer in silence because of our culture’s despise of ‘victims’.
- We suffer in silence because we think that ‘this is just how it is!’’
”It must be me”
Having grown up in a time of self-help and the idea that ‘‘we can solve, be, have and achieve anything!’‘, the notion of us not having the answers, not knowing where to go next, feels weak, impossible and downright stupid.
Surrounded by pictures and behaviours of success, we assume we’re the only ones struggling. The only ones not knowing the answer. The only ones stuck.
Well, let me reassure you. You’re not. You’re not alone. Never have been, never will be. At any point in time there will be thousands of other people like you awake at night. Worrying about loved ones. Being stuck.
”This is just how it is!”
Another reason why we suffer in silence is that we simply think ”this is just how it is!”. We have come to the conclusion that there is nothing we can do to change the situation we’re in. After we tried everything in our power we simply assume there are no other answers or possibilities out there. And should we be brave enough to ask a few questions of our closest friends, we come face to face with the same problems, and the same limited external solutions: Keep a sleep diary, limit your screen time before sleep, listen to sleep audios, reduce stress.
The solution is much closer than you think
What you need to embrace first, is that the fact that you can’t sleep at night has less to do with the role or the environment you’re in – i.e. external factors, and much more with the state of your mind – internal factor. What is stress, overwhelm and anxiety for one person is activity, choice and love for someone else.
What makes the difference?
The level of your mental fitness.
A mentally fit person wakes up at night and quickly scans for the reason. Let’s say it’s an important email they need to remember to send out the next day. Noticing the reason they quickly jot down the name of the person and the subject, with pen and paper they keep next to their bed, before turning over again and going back to sleep.
A less mentally fit person might wake up for the same reason. Yet instead of writing down a reminder they start doing the work in their mind. They write draft emails, receive imaginary replies, and keep worrying about the many ways they might forget and therefore annoy the person waiting for the answer. And whilst they’re thinking of this email, they bring up every other bad memory of past emails still haunting them. We’ve all been there.
Now I can already hear you say ‘Oh you make it sound all so easy. You should know what MY situation is like at work and then you’d be awake at night too’.
And this is where I’d like to invite you to think of a mentally fit person like a Zen Warrior or a Jedi.
Imagine a Jedi being attacked from all sides. What mental frame serves her better to oversee the situation, her attackers, any potential escape routes?
A calm mind
A calm mind of course. And a calm mind is a fit mind that is able to shift from being triggered and simply reacting, to pausing and choosing a specific action or non-action instead.
A calm mind knows that a rested mind is best equipped to deal with most situations in the morning. And it will know that only the very rarest of situation will require you to get out of bed and get it done there and then.
How do you train your mind? Through increasing your personal awareness of your unique triggers and regular 2 minute mindfulness breaks during your day.
Sounds too complicated? Sign up to one of our programmes and receive access to our complimentary app which gently reminds and supports you in your journey from turning insight into behaviour into second nature.
Found this useful? Make sure to sign up to our regular newsletter to receive more insights like these.
Sound sleep and invigorating days could be yours again.
Visionary Collective Leader Azkua
At Azkua we are on a mission to turn businesses and organisations into a force for good. And we believe that it is professional women like YOU, who will be at the forefront of this transformation. Purpose driven, caring, grounded and influential women.