Skip to main content

South Jordan Journal

Life & Laughter

May 03, 2024 12:02PM ● By Peri Kinder

Are you feeling burnt out? Tell us about it. Are you feeling fresh, share your secret with us!

My dog, Jedi, runs to the closet where her leash hangs. She spins in circles as I take it off the hook and click it on her collar. She bites the leash and pulls because I’m just not moving fast enough. She is so happy to walk the neighborhood and terrorize small animals. 

Usually, these daily walks cheer me up, but recently, I follow behind her like I’m wearing cement shoes on a muddy beach. Does anyone else feel soul-tired? 

I’m the weariest I’ve been since my daughters were newborns when sleeping two hours a night left me moving through life in a haze of dirty Pampers and milk-sour T-shirts.

But what’s my excuse now? I’m a deflated balloon, bouncing along the floor without the helium needed to float. I’m too weary to yawn, too sluggish to nap. 

I guess I’m not alone because author and computer science professor Cal Newport said we’re in the throes of “The Great Exhaustion.”

It’s not about getting more sleep, it’s not about eating more fiber or fewer Hostess Twinkies, it’s a complete burnout because rest is a sign of weakness.

Taylor Swift recorded a double album while performing in a sold-out global tour and then flew halfway around the world to catch her boyfriend’s little football game. And here I am, struggling to write a column and make it to my granddaughters’ soccer games.

I sprawl on the couch watching dust accumulate on the end tables, too fatigued to do anything about it. I pray a brisk breeze blows through the house, scattering the dirt back to the floor where it belongs. 

I feel a lot of people are in this same engineless boat. It doesn’t help that companies now require employees to return to the office, even though the flexible, at-home schedules have kept thousands of women in the workplace. Even though, for the first time in history, job schedules have helped women feel like work and home are almost manageable. 

Our energy is also being drained faster than our bank accounts because we’ve trained ourselves to be 24/7 content creators. We spend a crapload of time making reels about our trip to the Grand Canyon or a TikTok video about how to raise goats and make goat milk ice cream. 

But there’s more! Start a tech company during your free time! Renovate your kitchen and use time-lapse videos to share with the world! Become an Instagram influencer by creating beauty masks using pencil shavings! Document all the moments all the time and share on all the platforms!

With nonstop information from streaming shows, music, podcasts, audiobooks and social media going directly into our big noggins, our brains are tired. Every person in your household (and possibly your pets) is processing information at speeds unheard of just a few years ago. There’s probably smoke coming out of our ears. 

It’s a firehose of electronic data. Everything is breaking news. Everything is trying to capture our brief attention. Life is one big clickbait link and we doomscroll like we’ve been enchanted by a wizard to sell our souls for just a little more spilled tea.

The funny thing is, we can turn it off, silence the noise and deactivate the notifications. But our cortisol addiction is out of control.

So what do we do?

Jedi has the right idea. Walking outside, breathing fresh air, maybe even chasing a cat up a tree reminds us the small things matter. Quiet rituals are important. “The Great Exhaustion” is a bone-deep weariness but also a reminder we’re not alone as we stumble through life.

Maybe in sharing our weariness, we can find a listening ear, a comforting shoulder or a Hostess Twinkie.