We are going on week two of the stay at home order and despite getting far more sleep than I ever have in my life and doing far less activities than usual I am just, really, tired! I’ll have a few good days, but then I wake up feeling like I was just in a fight. It’s the strangest thing, and lots of friends have told me they are feeling it as well. What’s going on?

I think I may have the answer. It was just after California went on their Shelter In Place order and I was listening to my favorite Buddhist speaker Gil Fronsdale, from Insight Meditation Center. He was explaining how Buddhists have been doing a shelter in place routine for ages; only they call it, going on retreat.

He explained that many first time retreat goers often complain about feeling really tired the first weeks of the retreat, some even falling asleep while they are supposed to be meditating! They worry that they are not getting anything out of the retreat because they are too tired, not alert enough to retain anything and instead of meditating they are sometimes even dozing off while seated! (the snores probably give it away!)

In fact, this exhaustion is totally normal. We move at such dizzying speeds throughout most of our lives that when we allow our bodies to slow down, on retreat or otherwise, we experience the body getting a much needed rest and recharge. The body is taking this moment to do what it has probably needed for months, a moment to rest and reboot.

We are suddenly being told to change our routines, to help save lives by doing…well, nothing! So when you feel this excessive need for sleep, the inability to keep focused, a profound lack of motivation to DO anything, just know that it is totally normal. It is, in fact, exactly what Buddhists practice. The ability to allow yourself to simply feel whatever it is you are feeling in each and every moment IS the practice they do on retreat. Let the body and the mind take this time to recharge, and accept the moments, and the deep yawns, as they arise. There is no right or wrong way to feel, and when it gets overwhelming, just breathe. Wisdom thrives in a calm heart.

Anyone else been having similar feelings of being really tired? Feel free to share any stories, thoughts, emotions. What do you do when you start to feel overwhelmed? Here’s a great article from Mindful about rethinking our self-care routines. Take a read!