Spiritual exhaustion is real.
Any spiritual transformation and healing is damn tiring!
It takes work and energy to overcome challenges to and grow into the next, most beautiful and true, version of yourself.
But what are the symptoms of spiritual exhaustion? Here are 5 to look out for and how to address them.
1) Waking up feeling tired
It might seem obvious to talk about feeling tired in relation to symptoms of spiritual exhaustion…
…But let me explain why this is relevant:
If you find yourself waking up tired, it might signal that a lot is going on for you spiritually when you go off to sleep.
Simply put, it suggests that you’re not necessarily spending the time recharging and recuperating…
…Yet instead you’re traveling to other places spiritually.
In a Medium article about spiritual exhaustion, a spiritual coach explains:
“There will be multiple periods of spiritual awakening in your path, and each time, you might find yourself sleeping poorly and/or waking up in the morning exhausted. This is because in your sleep, when you’re reconnecting to your higher self and working problems out in the divine realm, you’re doing extra work.”
Here’s the thing:
Once we start doing spiritual work, it’s hard to find the ‘off’ button.
In my experience, there have been periods in my spiritual awakening when I’ve found it hard to do anything but focus on the need for transformation…
…And to sit with existential questions of existence.
Now, when I’ve been in these states in my waking life, you can bet that they’re carried through to my sleeping life.
So if you’re finding that you’re waking up feeling exhausted and you feel like the themes of transformation and purpose are showing up in your dreams, it’s time to change your waking reality.
In other words, it’s time to take a break from just thinking about all things spirituality, all the time.
In practice, this means telling yourself to pause when your mind starts going to these thoughts.
Rather than letting your mind get carried away with big themes, such as what it means to be having a human experience, just choose to breathe and let go of the thought.
Remember that you’re not going to be able to find the answer in that moment!
2) A lowered immunity
It’s hard to tell when you have a lowered immunity or not.
However, if you find yourself continuously getting sick then you can tell that your immunity needs a boost!
Now, one reason you might have a lowered immunity is due to having spiritual exhaustion.
You see, whenever we expend more energy than we have and we dwell excessively, we can find that we cause ourselves to feel pretty exhausted.
It can happen when we find ourselves constantly dwelling on big topics that we don’t have the answer to…
…Like the reason for our existence!
When I found myself in this loop quite often, I would also find that I was more prone to getting sick.
It was as though I was making myself depleted from all of my endless questioning.
I was literally running myself into the ground from spending so much time trying to find answers.
But I was able to stop this loop through becoming aware of the thoughts I was having.
You see, I started to journal the thoughts I was having and how they were making me feel…
…This allowed me to see that it wasn’t helpful spending so much time in an existential state.
Just spending five minutes a day journaling my thoughts allowed me to get them and to not let them drain me.
What does this mean for you?
Grab a journal when you find yourself spiraling into a state that’s putting a drain on you… And get your thoughts out!
3) Using substances to cope
This one might sound counterintuitive…
…But many people who suffer from spiritual exhaustion actually turn to substances like food, alcohol and drugs.
Even though people begin on spiritual paths because they want to get more in touch with spiritually and to connect with ‘source’, ‘God’ or the ‘Universe’, they can actually end up blocking this.
Simply put, the spiritual path of transformation and change is exhausting…
…Transformation is painful and hard.
Now, once people realize this, they can end up wanting to run away from it.
In other words, they run to things that can numb them so they don’t have to face reality.
You see, spending so much time contemplating what it means to have a soul and what our purpose is can be genuinely exhausting.
In my experience, I used alcohol in the past to help numb myself and to stop me from worrying about bigger questions that I had about my place in the world.
I was so exhausted and terrified about understanding myself that I ended up numbing myself.
It doesn’t make sense… But simply put, it seemed like the easier thing to do!
Truth is, it was making me feel rubbish about myself… And it was creating dis-ease in my body.
If you’re in a similar position at the moment, it’s necessary to be brutally honest with yourself and where you’re at…
…And to be conscious about drawing a line under bad habits that are keeping you from being truly connected with yourself.
Remember that the only thing that habits like drugs and alcohol will do is to create more havoc and confusion.
Eventually, you’ll have to address what’s really going on inside.
It’s cliche but true that you can’t run forever, so find the courage to be brave and to look at what’s going on for you internally.
4) Isolating yourself from others
It might be a symptom that you’re struggling with spiritual exhaustion if you feel the need to isolate yourself from others.
There are many reasons that people might isolate themselves from others…
…And a reason it can happen when you’re going through spiritual exhaustion is because your mind is fixed on contemplating big spiritual matters and it’s really all that you want to talk about.
As such, it can often feel easier just to be by yourself.
In my experience, I found socializing really hard at points during my spiritual awakening.
It was as though all I wanted to speak about was spirituality and… sometimes it wasn’t the right time and place!
Simply put, being isolated meant not being judged and not having to censor myself, plus I didn’t make myself feel exhausted by repeating all of my new ‘revelations’ I felt like I was having.
However, being isolated did eventually take its toll on me mentally.
After a while, I started feeling, well, lonely.
So I made the decision to spend time with people who I knew cared and wanted to have me around.
What’s more, I had to tell myself that I wasn’t a burden to others and that the people that love me will hear me out.
In my experience, it’s best to never assume what other people are thinking and to not automatically isolate yourself as a protective mechanism!
Truth is, the people that have your back will hear you out… So don’t feel the need to hide away from people!
But remember that it’s also important that you don’t judge others.
The shaman Rudá Iandé talks about how this is a sign of toxic spirituality, and how it needs to be avoided at all costs.
He explains that we should be focused on empowering ourselves and not judging ourselves or others.
You can hear him explaining how so many of us end up falling into this state in this free video.
5) Feeling helpless
You might be going through the motions of spiritual exhaustion if you’re feeling helpless.
Feeling helpless can take the form of thinking: ‘well, what’s the point’ and generally having an apathetic stance on the world.
Truth is, as we start to embark further on our spiritual journeys we can come face-to-face with how small we are in this vast Universe…
…And it can be daunting.
Simply put, as we contemplate our size, our egos can go into panic mode.
It’s no surprise that this can make us feel completely helpless!
But this doesn’t do any good for you or those around you.
In my experience, it’s always a good idea to speak to a professional about the thoughts you’re having around helplessness…
…Because you do have a lot to offer the world and it’s important that you don’t lose sight of this.
In other words, a professional can help you reframe some of the negative, helpless thoughts you’ve been having to see that you do have a lot of personal power.
What’s more, you should never feel embarrassed for wanting to express your thoughts in a safe space with someone.