Physical, emotional, chronic, adrenal fatigue or just plain exhaustion affects most of us. Auto-immune and thyroid disorders are on the rise. The stress of our lives is catching up with us. Who here remembers how fashionable it was in the 90's to say "I'm so stressed out" or "I have so much to do". It was said like a status symbol. The more you were stressed, the more important you were. I still have friends that talk this way. I believe that the current rise in the self-care industry is due to this way of thinking. The pendulum is swinging, which is GREAT, but we still have a lot on our plates. It is a fact, there is so much to do. Work comes home with us, the kids have activities to be shuttled to, groceries, errands, dinner, get that workout in, take a workshop to expand your skills, go back to school, take care of aging parents, maintain relationships, visit friends, pay those bills, do all the fun things.....I'm tired just thinking about it all.
Now let's add in the emotional factors. How often are you beating yourself up for missing out on something? Missed that workout class last night? Feeling guilty about not calling your dad, not answering that email, not working on your project with deadline looming? What is the dialogue in your head? What is on repeat?
Let's add on deeper emotional factors. Grief from losing a loved one, a break up, family drama, moving, losing a job, not getting a promotion, low self-worth, not making enough money, spending too much, eating too much, drinking too much....are you too busy to deal with these heavy hitters?
If all of this clicks with you, I get it. I'm flat out fatigued and it's taken me a long time to admit it. I spent years being too tired and yet still pushing myself on. How is this kind of fatigue different? This exhaustion is the kind that starts to drain you beyond the cure of getting a good night's sleep. The kind where coffee doesn't work, working out doesn't work, turning off your phone at 8pm doesn't work. My partying years are behind me, I left my stressful job, I don't have kids, I get plenty of sleep (and sleep well) and yet I'm tired, and yet I'm healthy. Why?
When I started looking into it, I realized that my exhaustion has been a build up from years and years of stress and that while changing your life does need to happen to reverse it, it is not going to happen over night. My whole adult life has been a series of grief, family drama, break ups, losing friends, making new ones, working my ass off, recovering from a serious hand injury, and all of the life stuff. We all go through that but we live in a world where it is now CONSTANT. It is one thing after another and we are not fully letting go of the stress or dealing with the emotions when we need to. We are just moving on to the next thing. Until we crack.
We don't have to live this way.
Please visit your doctor if you are struggling from extreme exhaustion. Get any and all tests needed. In addition, here are my suggestions, and what I've been doing to curb my fatigue. It's been my experience that all of the vitamins, medicine, and supplements, diets, smoothies, spa trips, new lip gloss, etc. won't work if you don't do the following:
Learn how to listen. First to your intuitive self and then to your body. I learned this at a young age from various illnesses I had as a child but it is something that must always be done. The ego can make it very hard for us to hear. Tap into your intuitive self and listen to the whispers. Your true self won't scream the answers to you, it will whisper to you. If you ignore that, over time, the body will take over and manifest those whispers into illnesses to slow you down. I knew the stomach aches I had at my last corporate job were related to stress and red flags from the job. I did the medical tests and paid attention to what I was eating. When those were ruled out, I could pin point my stomach aches only occurring when I was at the office. My body was screaming because I was ignoring my intuitive self that was saying it is time to move on. My ego liked my paycheck. My ego liked that I worked my way up and "made it". My ego was scared of what's next. Now that I've made changes by leaving that stressful job, I'm still listening and learning- hence still figuring out what more I can do because I'm still suffering from the damage caused by that stress. Meditation will help you listen.
Change your life style. When you start downloading the messages, start working on making the changes. Take stock in what you can let go of. Make a list of where you need to make changes. This can include; diet, exercise, sleep, relationships, job, family etc. Keep in mind, all of the green smoothies in the world won't help you if you are still knee deep in un-healthy stress. A bubble bath with your most expensive products won't help you if you get up the next day and push and push and ignore your emotional stressors. Trust me. We can't always leave the job or the family drama but we can change how we are treated. Learn to set boundaries, let go of energy vampires, reclaim your time. Like the cat above, save your energy for who, what, and where truly deserves it. Say no.
Participate in conscious relaxation. Restorative yoga is the number one thing to do for adrenal fatigue. There is a reason I've been so drawn to teaching this form of yoga. When I was at my last corporate job I would fantasize about living on an isolated island off of the coast of Maine and just have quiet. I believe that when I left that stressful job, I was also led to repair the lifelong build up of fatigue as mentioned before. Yoga (any form of) taught me to approach things step by step. It also taught me to live with self-care. Not just buy it. As I deepened my practice, I deepened the care I gave myself in all arenas. I could no longer put up with certain things that were not treating me well and I let them all go. I became so drawn to restorative yoga, because I needed to rest. I needed to heal years of damage. Fast paced work out classes were adding to my stress. Don't get me wrong, I still need to work on my physical body and my strength, but what I can't do is stress about it. I can't dismiss the benefits of a slower paced class. Have you ever worked out so much and wonder why you are not losing weight? Cortisol. The stress hormone is in overdrive. Learning how to relax and heal with restorative yoga has been a game changer for me. When you are suffering from fatigue, your body can register high heart rate exercise as a stress which keeps your body in flight or fight. My body had been in fight or flight for YEARS. Again, that listening to my intuition (number 1 on this list) led me to Restorative Yoga. I'm ever grateful.
Deal with and Heal your emotional baggage. We carry most of this "stuff" around with us for too long. Take the time to work out the heavy stuff. Stuck energy and emotions are held in our bodies. Again, gentle yoga movement and restorative yoga can help us redirect those channels. What I have found to give me the greatest strength for the real heavy lifting for grief, courage, self love has been my breathwork practice. I was lucky to find this practice not too long after making some life changes in step number 2. My ego was starting to give me doubts about my changes, starting to make me wonder if I was doing the right thing. I went to a breathwork circle led by my future teacher, Erin Telford, and had one of the most amazing experiences of my life! I was filled with courage and love and healed so much grief. In two hours! I immediately needed to learn more and entered healer training. Which has led me here offering it to you. I encourage you to give it a try. This practice will help you tap into your intuitive self, release stuck energies like traumas, let go of limiting beliefs, and the emotional weight. I don't know about you, but I'm too tired to carry it anymore.
Understand that this is life long practice. But you have to start somewhere. When the practice becomes more ingrained, life's challenges become easier to deal with. The stress level changes, rest comes more easily, and you will be connected to yourself. From there we can prevent fatigue build up and do all the fun things.