How to tell if you're exhausted

6 Ways To Tell If You’re Exhausted

You can blame it on lifestyle, children, employment, a good book or occasionally binge-watching a series on Netflix. Whatever the cause, we all get tired. Tired is the new normal.

What I’m talking about is next-level tiredness. I know I get to a point where I am no longer capable of even adding up how much sleep I have or haven’t had. That in itself should give me a clue but honestly? It doesn’t. I’m sure I’m not alone, so here is a handy list of ways to tell when you’re exhausted, with no tallying of hours required.

6 ways to tell if you're exhausted

1. Product confusion. Recently, I got up when it was still dark to go to work for a day shift. I went through my usual routine of throwing clothes on, doing hair, throwing random foodstuffs into my work bag and heading off. Throughout the day, I noticed that my fringe was flopping around and generally making a nuisance of itself. I wondered why my styling wax spray was suddenly not up to the fairly basic task of keeping it roughly in the place I like to keep it (i.e. not in my face). When I got home, I investigated and found that I had actually sprayed my hair with makeup setting spray. Great for getting your powder to stay on your face; hopeless at restraining a wayward fringe. A couple of days later, I threw on a bit of BB cream and powder and spritzed my face with styling wax spray. Not a good idea. Here’s a hot tip: Styling wax seems to clump in one’s eyebrows, giving an appearance of eyebrow dandruff. Not the desired look.


Conclusion: If you can’t tell your make up products from your hair products, you are probably tired.

2. Food wastage. A while ago, I was tiredly getting ready for a housewarming party. Imagine my confusion when I was hunting for a plate of roast beef I’d sliced up but found, instead, a roll of cling wrap in the fridge. The roast beef was sliced and tidily wrapped on a plate in the cupboard. Pregnancy-related tiredness is a corker for this sort of thing. I remember narrowly stopping myself from pouring milk into the kettle and also trying to stuff a block of cheese into the utensil drawer.

Conclusion: If you can’t be trusted to put sh*t away properly, take a nap. Your grocery bill will thank you.

3. You don’t know what day it is. Recently, I got up after a few hours sleep. I had worked from 7 pm the night before until 7 that morning. My 13 year old came home from school. I was wearing what passes for pyjamas (a very large men’s Nirvana t-shirt) and ugg boots, sitting on the couch watching Netflix and eating a peanut butter sandwich. She quickly got herself changed and stared at me expectantly. I glanced at her, then back to the television. She cleared her throat. I looked her way again. “Aren’t you taking me to drama class?” she asked. I rolled my eyes at her and said “Um, no? That’s not ’til tomorrow, haha!” Protracted discussion ensued. Turns out, I was wrong.

Conclusion: If you don’t know what day it is but are still willing to argue the point, go back to bed as soon as possible.

4. You are in public, dressed inappropriately. Following on from the scenario above, I immediately donned the nearest pants. Thankfully, they were mine. Unfortunately, they were purple, fluffy and covered in polka dots (i.e. actual pyjama pants). I figured it would be okay to drive her to her class in my jarmies and uggs because I just wouldn’t get out of the car, right? Wrong. See, I forgot what I was wearing, because, tired. So I dropped her off and then remembered I wanted to go to the supermarket for milk. So I did. In my jarmies. And uggs. Bra-less, hair wild and muttering to myself when I realised what I’d done. F*ck, my life is glamorous.


Conclusion: If you step out the door before glancing in a mirror, do a 360. If what you see isn’t even vaguely acceptable, return to the couch immediately.

5. You have trouble shopping. Standing at Woolies in all my pyjama-clad glory, do you think I actually just bought the milk I wanted and left? Yeah, no. You go to the shop for milk, but come home instead with garlic bread, all the bacon and a new strainer. I remember my Dad once being sent to the shops for milk and returning with bread and cigars. When you have to get something and you miraculously remember what it is, finding it on the shelf is no guarantee that you’ll get it, because the variety can be paralysing. You can stand in the correct aisle, staring at the shelf where the sugar is in utter confusion. Which type to get? Raw? Caster? Panela? Coconut? Unrefined? Refined? Eventually, you leave empty-handed because some days it’s just too bloody hard.

Conclusion: If your decision making abilities and memory are both impaired, lay down until the idea of buying sugar doesn’t overwhelm you.

6. You cry over everything. Run out of milk? Cry. Stub your toe? Cry. See a book on your bookshelf and remember the sad bit? Cry. Realise you have no chocolate in the house? Cry. Realise you have shampoo but are out of conditioner, mid-shower? Cry. Watch Peppa Pig and realise how many times Daddy Pig is fat-shamed in one episode? Cry. Read the nutritional information on a box of Pop Tarts? Cry.

Conclusion: If the smallest things in life trigger your biggest emotional responses, collapse on the nearest soft surface with a box of tissues and a pillow until you feel better.

How do you know when you’re exhausted?

This is a modified version of a post that originally appeared on Handbag Mafia

More help for tired mums:

Main image: Getty / Other images: Pexels

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