I want to talk to you today about soul weariness. The weariness I’m referring about here isn’t your garden-variety tiredness.

Unlike physical or mental tiredness, with soul-weariness, it feels like no matter how much rest you get, you’re still depleted. 

When you’re soul weary, even the simplest of tasks can feel hard and draining. 

For many of my clients, soul weariness becomes a sort of modus operandi. There’s a very subtle but dangerous tendency to just ‘suck it up’ and keep pushing through. 

I say dangerous because continuing to push ourselves past the point of weariness leads to burnout. 

To put it differently, there’s no amount of pushing yourself that will restore vitality. 

No amount of self-flagellating will restore inspiration and enthusiasm.  Instead, it’s helpful to take a look at why soul weariness exists. Doing so holds the cure. 

In my experience, there are two forces at work when the soul becomes weary. 

The first is not doing enough of the things you want to do.

The second, doing too much of things you don’t want to do.

Too simple? Perhaps. 

And yet, many of the people I speak with are shocked to realize that their days are packed full of things they don’t want to be doing, leaving very little room (if any) for things they DO want to be doing. 

The more time you spend doing things you want to do – things you enjoy, things that restore your soul – the more energized and enlivened you will feel. (You’ll also get a lot clearer on what you DO enjoy, which is a direct pathway to your life’s purpose.) 

And, conversely, the more time you spend doing things you do NOT want to do – things that feel draining or, as Martha Beck puts it, things that feel “shackles on” – the more exhausted and deflated you will feel. 

This doesn’t mean that you have to love every single thing you do, every minute of your life. 

We all have pointless meetings to attend, taxes to file, and laundry to put away (all of which are things on my “don’t want to do” list, BTW).

Of course, I advise reducing or eliminating as much of this stuff from your list as possible.

Beyond that, for every “don’t want to do” that you choose to do, I recommend doing a “do want to do”. 

What might this look like, practically speaking? Here’s an example:

– Update financial projections for Q3 (Don’t want to do)
– Read a chapter of a new book (DO want to do)
– Call the insurance company (Don’t want to do)
– Sit in the sun for 5 minutes (DO want to do)
– Fold the mountain of laundry (Don’t want to do)
– Play a game of Sudoku (DO want to do)

The more draining an activity is to your soul, the more important it is to follow it with something that’s nourishing. 

This is a good approach when you’re in maintenance mode – think of it as care and feeding for your soul.

However, when you’re in the throes of soul-weariness, you need to give yourself a bit of extra attention and tip the scales in favor of “do want to do” as much as possible. 

And if all that’s on your “do want to do” list right now is binge-watching episodes of Downton Abbey, that’s okay. Treat yourself with compassion, give yourself grace, and do what feels nourishing to you in the moment.

Soul weariness can feel like it will never end, but by giving yourself permission to tune into what your soul needs (and then giving yourself that), you’ll soon find yourself on the other side of it.

No matter where you are, I’m envisioning you wrapped in love and doing the things that feed your soul.