I have known for a long time that my primary response to stress is fatigue. I’ve come to recognise the qualitative difference between emotional fatigue and real fatigue. Nonetheless, the last ten days or so have been eye opening to me.
This week I have been teaching a module on the Master of Theology program at Stellenbosch. It is the first time I have taught this module. I am teaching with a very experienced and wise colleague, but still I do need to know what I am doing!
Last week I felt utterly exhausted – the feeling of mentally moving through treacle. I recognised it as emotional fatigue, and I knew that it was associated with my stress over teaching this course. What has surprised me, is that while I have certainly found this week tiring, I am less tired than I was last week!
It makes me realise the tremendous tax of emotional fatigue. It is slightly shocking to me that the fatigue associated with anticipation and uncertainty has been so much greater than the fatigue of actually doing the job! That internally generated stress is actually more taxing the external demand!
It makes me realise the terrible cost of procrastination. In this case the time to deal with the task at hand was fixed, but when it is not fixed I so easily procrastinate and fatigue takes over.