I am so sick of everything! And sometimes of everyone too.
If that complaint resonates within you or has recently become your leitmotif, you are not the only one. More and more people experience a vital fatigue that consumes them. It is a mixture of exhaustion, frustration, helplessness and sometimes also anger that ends up becoming an explosive cocktail that dynamites their relationships and sabotages their projects. What happens?
The soul sickness
Living is exhausting, especially in today’s world, where daily tasks, commitments and obligations are added to our overexertion to be able to do everything. It is no coincidence that the philosopher Byung-Chul Han defined our lifestyle as the “Burnout Society.”
This feeling of boredom does not usually have a single trigger, but rather is the result of the accumulation of many bad experiences. They are small daily drops of setbacks, disappointments or wasted efforts that end up overflowing the glass and make us feel drained inside.
We can visualize each of those moments and negative emotions as a small pebble that sneaks into our backpack of life. At first we will not notice their weight, but when too many accumulate, they will begin to sink us and make it difficult for us to move forward.
When this vital fatigue becomes a stationary state of mind, it can end up significantly affecting our well-being. From the feeling of boredom to depression is only one step. That loop of negativity will affect our sleep, cause us to neglect ourselves, and rob us of our ability to enjoy life.
In fact, a study carried out at the Medizinische Universitätspoliklinik revealed that approximately 2/3 of people who suffer from chronic fatigue also present symptoms of depression, anxiety or somatic disorders, which is not strange since this state of sickness and vital fatigue affects the autonomic nervous system.
Therefore, it is necessary to get out of that state.
Dive inside yourself
Burnout is a vicious cycle, so the more you worry about that lack of energy and the more you push yourself to do it all, the more exhausted you will become. For this reason, the first step to regain your rhythm is to not put pressure on yourself.
Easier said than done. I know.
However, it is important that you do not try to escape that feeling of being fed up, but rather that you sit quietly to analyze it and “digest” it. You probably think “I’m sick of everything!” and a feeling of apathy or even anger may wash over you, but try to get to the bottom of those emotions.
What are you really fed up with? What is it that generates the most rejection for you? It may be that the primary focus is work. Or your interpersonal relationships. Maybe the lifestyle you are leading. Or you may even discover that you yourself are robbing yourself of vital energy by over-demanding yourself or by nurturing unrealistic expectations of others.
Generally, this feeling of boredom arises in a specific area of life and then spreads, like an oil spill, to the rest of the spheres. The key is to find the original source of the discomfort.
In many cases, that feeling of being fed up arises from stagnation or feeling like you’re not moving fast enough in life as your goals seem increasingly elusive. In fact, it is common for it to set in when things go wrong, in those streaks in which everything goes wrong and it seems that there is no way to straighten it out.
As you can see in the graph below, burnout usually arises when too many setbacks and obstacles get in the way of our goals, so that they require increasing effort but we still fail to achieve them. In fact, this obstinacy often affects our performance, making everything seem uphill, so our results get worse and worse.
Overwork without adequate rewards ends up draining us. In fact, if you have been leading a frenetic pace, it is normal for physical fatigue to end up surfacing and transmute into a vital exhaustion that makes you feel fed up with everything and everyone.
Stopping is healthy
From clinical and personal experience, life fatigue usually occurs when we move forward out of inertia for too long, without asking ourselves what we really want. It is usually due to an imbalance between tension and relaxation, so that our lives are filled with tasks and obligations that overwhelm us or do not make us feel as good as we would like.
For this reason, to fight against that feeling you have to stop the autopilot. Stop suddenly and take a vital pause.
In the age of productivity, it may seem like wishful thinking. But there comes a point along the way where if you stop, something may “break,” but if you don’t stop, you may break. Therefore, you have to choose.
When you push yourself too hard, your brain just is overwhelmed. That incessant flow of stimuli that you are forcing it to manage as if it were a juggler, translates into a feeling of boredom with everything, which is nothing more than the sign that you need to rethink what you are doing to find excitement again.
Remember that sometimes doing nothing is doing a lot. Resting is not wasting time. On the contrary, it is gaining mental health and clarity in the long term. So, if you think you need a break. Make it!
Find motivation again
Often the feeling of being fed up is accompanied by deep demotivation. It is likely that “I’m sick of everything!” adds “I don’t feel like doing anything!” Apathy, abulia and anhedonia are the three horsemen of the depressive Apocalypse because they condemn you to a hole of inaction through which you slide little by little.
Motivation is the fuel that will allow you to get out of that loop.
Of course, at a time when you’re so tired of everything, finding motivation can seem like an impossible mission. But is not.
Start by finding something you still enjoy. Anything. That will become the end that you can pull to continue finding other things that generate pleasure or happiness. Simply focus on what you like. That will be the starting point from which you can rebuild your new routines.
Then, make sure you reorganize your life by including those things that relax you, provide energy, or fill you with happiness because without them you won’t be able to get very far. Remember that you don’t always need to work at the speed of light and that you don’t always have to be available to others. Don’t be so harsh on yourself: slow down whenever you need to.
And when you come across those situations again that generate frustration, make your blood boil or cause you to feel helpless, try to maintain perspective. Focus on your goals and remember that many times the road to achieving great things is poorly paved, full of potholes and obstacles.
And if those goals cause you too much frustration or become elusive, you may need to rethink them. Circumstances change, so you must change with them. Adaptation is not clinging to a goal but transforming it as the world advances.
Finally, remember that overachievement is what causes a heart attack to the soul, to paraphrase Byung-Chul Han. “In the society of obligation, everyone carries with them their forced labor camp,” so give yourself time to reconnect with yourself. This way you will avoid falling back into that uncomfortable and paralyzing feeling of being sick of everything.
Hockey, R. (2013) The psychology of fatigue: Work, effort and control. In: Cambridge University Press.
Radvila, A. (1991) Intense fatigue in humans. Psychosocial and cultural aspects. Ther Umsch; 48(11): 756-761.