I’m doing some copywriting for a client whose business is helping parents teach their babies to self-settle. It’s reminded me of the idea of watching for a baby’s ‘early tired signs’ (things like light grizzling and rubbing their eyes) versus their ‘late tired signs’ (inconsolable screaming etc).
The idea is that if you catch the tired signs early and put them to bed then, they’re more likely to go to sleep quickly on their own, sleep well and be in a better mood when they wake up.
It occurred to me that the same applies to us. We have ‘early tired signs’ and late ones. I met a friend for lunch last week and she was crying before she’d even sat down at the table. She was too overwhelmed to even discuss what was wrong. It was ‘everything’. You know—that point you reach where you can’t even articulate the problem, you’re so exhausted by it all.
My early tired signs are things like:
- Feeling minor annoyance
- Sense that I’ve taken on too much
The late ones are:
- Losing my temper
- Crying at everything
- Feeling completely overwhelmed and panicked by all I have to do
- Forgetting big things (dropping balls)
When we catch ourselves early in the exhaustion wave that’s threatening to build up and dunk us hard, we can adjust in time. We can re-shuffle our priorities, say ‘no’ to things, delegate, ask for help, add in self-care strategies and talk to people.
Spend a few minutes writing a list of your early and late tired signs and make a point of watching out for them. We don’t want to reach a point where it seems too hard, too late or too confusing to know what to do. By then, we’re like an inconsolable baby who doesn’t know how to switch off, and that’s a place that’s much harder to recovery from.