Recognizing Exhaustion

Anna, Project Coordinator on May 16, 2016

The past couple of weeks I’ve been dead tired.

Over the last month and a half I’ve had many changes in my life. So many things have changed at once that it has been overwhelming. I’ve taken on new work--two new jobs--and moved house. It's all been a bit stressful. 

One of my new roles is as a project coordinator here at the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre! I’ve been with the Health Literacy team at BC Children’s Hospital since late 2014, but I recently changed positions within the team. I am now here at the Kelty twice a week. (Yay!)

With moving, I went from one distinct neighbourhood in the city to another.

In all instances, I am ultimately happy and excited about the changes afoot, and feeling optimistic about the future. I’m especially feeling eager about the work here at the Kelty.

Despite this, I am exhausted.

Every change has affected multiple aspects of my life. With my new jobs, I have to quickly learn new tasks, skills, and adjust to different office environments (both physical and social). I now work in two different places, which means I’ve also had to learn to adjust to a split week. When midweek hits, I change gears completely!

My move has meant adjusting to a new neighbourhood, a new commute length (it is now 45 minutes when it was previously only 10!), a new work schedule, new routines around transit and grocery shopping, new neighbours, and new neighbourhood noises! I really love my new community, but it’s not quite home yet.

Cumulatively, the stress of change has taken a toll on me physically and mentally.       

Over the last week or so I began to feel frustrated, and like a failure because I felt that I could not keep up with the demands and expectations of my life. I fell into the classic, anxiety-ridden, comparison trap. It did not feel good.

Over the weekend I recognized what I was doing, and that it was unhealthy for me to compare myself to the perceived energy and stamina of those around me. My anxiety has been lying to me and telling me I can’t stop, for fear of appearing like a loser. My house is still in chaos, I’m still learning my new roles, and as much as I want the world to stop, things continue to shift and form around me as I adjust to my new circumstances. My body aches, my mind feels dull and scattered, I feel anxious, and I’m tired all the time. The physical and mental signs of stress and exhaustion are my body’s way of telling me to slow down, and I need to listen. So, I’m going to try.

There a few things I know I can do:

  • I can ease off on my activities outside of work and home, and take more time to rest
  • I can take time at home to do gentle stretches to help my body relax
  • I can carve out small moments in the day at work to pause and do a calming breathing exercise, such as breathing in time with this GIF
  • I can talk to friends and people I trust about what’s going on
  • I can ask for help!
  • I can make an appointment with my counsellor
  • I can take a trip to the beach and breathe in the calming presence of the ocean
  • I can explore the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre’s web resources on Stress
  • And most of all—I can give myself a break. A lot has changed, and it is normal to be a bit overwhelmed by it all. It’s going to be just fine. 

What do you do to manage stress? Let me know in the comments below! 



It is so refreshing and encouraging to see a fellow professional openly acknowledge their own challenges and struggles with stress. Thank you for being a part of the movement towards a healthier perspective on mental health and proactive care overall.

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BC Children's Hospital

This is an agency of Provincial Health Services Authority, providing provincial tertiary mental health services to the citizens of British Columbia. Programs include: Adult Tertiary Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatric Services, Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Women’s Reproductive Mental Health, as well as the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for children and youth located at the BC Children’s Hospital.

Provincial Health Services Authority

Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) is one of six health authorities – the other five health authorities serve geographic regions of BC.

Ministry of Health

British Columbia Ministry of Health

RBC Children's Mental Health Project

RBC Children’s Mental Health Project is RBC's cornerstone “health and wellness” pillar; RBC Children’s Mental Heath Project is a multi-year philanthropic commitment to support community-based and hospital programs that reduce stigma, provide early intervention and increase public awareness about children’s mental health issues.

BC Children's Hospital Foundation

Through a wide range of fundraising events and opportunities, The BC Children's Hospital Foundation is united with its donors by a single, simple passion - to improve the health and the lives of the young people who enter BC Children's Hospital every day.