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In our technology-driven world where we are now expected to always be available via text, email or phone, it’s almost impossible to just disconnect and be at rest.
But rest may be the thing we need now more than ever.
More and more people I know are suffering from emotional exhaustion, stress-induced illnesses and chronic fatigue. Often unconscious of what brought it on or what to do to fix it, thousands of us are going about our days on the brink of physical collapse and unable to keep up with the daily demands of our days.
The first time I was knocked on my ass with chronic fatigue was in my early 30’s when I was working in film production. Years of operating in a high pressure, high stress, environment with tight deadlines, constant changes and very little downtime started to take its toll on me.
But that wasn’t the primary cause of my extreme weight loss, inability to walk from one end of the room to another without wanting to sprawl out on the floor for a nap and clouded brain.
I was also suppressing a ton of unexpressed emotions I didn’t want to feel. And the repression of our emotions is one of the primary causes we may start to feel depleted, depressed, listless and exhausted.
There are a number of things we can do to pull ourselves out of this state and put us back on the road to health, wellness and balance. These were just a few of the things that helped me and other people I’ve worked with:
After numerous trips to my doctor and rounds of blood tests, I was told there was absolutely nothing they could do to help me feel better. “Try to get some rest,” my doctor said.
Fortunately I was referred by a friend to an amazing acupuncturist who checked my hormones levels and adrenals. Turns out I was in extreme adrenal fatigue so she worked week after week on strengthening my adrenals, liver and spleen with herbs and some pretty life altering needles to get the chi flowing back through my body the way it should be.
Acupuncture isn’t an overnight fix. It’s a commitment and can often take months to see the effects on our health. Stay the course and stick it out. There is no ailment I’ve ever suffered from that hasn’t been relieved through acupuncture.
Much of our emotional and physical exhaustion is caused by our almost 24/7 need to be connected to our phones, computers and televisions. Grounding is extremely important to replenishing our energy both on a physical and spiritual level. Going outside barefoot and feeling your feet in the grass, walking on the beach and spending more time in nature are incredibly important in healing the body when it’s in an unbalanced state.
3) Cut off energy-suckers.
Most of us don’t know how to protect ourselves from other people’s energy. We’re not trained on this and if we’re highly sensitive or empathic, taking on other people’s stuff is often something we’re unconsciously doing without being aware of it.
You know someone is sucking your energy when you feel emotional, upset or anxious every time you have a conversation with them. This is a time to limit your interactions with these people and set boundaries. Keep conversations with them brief and envision a protective bubble around yourself whenever you do need to interact with them.
A big part of healing emotional exhaustion and chronic fatigue is distancing ourselves from people and situations that take away the little bit of energy we’re working with while we’re healing.
4) Breath work and Meditation.
I remember when I was in the midst of my chronic fatigue battle, I was often short of breath or would start to breathe heavily as if I was having a panic attack. My heart would race from the stress and pressure I was under which in turn caused my body to shut down even more.
My meditation practice began during this time and it was the #1 thing that quieted my mind, and helped me get in touch with emotions I was repressing. Doing deep breathing exercises in addition to tapping into our heart space for at least 15-20 minutes a day is incredibly helpful in releasing some of the pent up anxiety that is brought on when we’re physically and mentally drained.
5) Eat well and exercise.
The worse that we feel sometimes, the less we want to take care of ourselves and our bodies. But this is the time when it’s absolutely imperative to get our bodies and minds back in sync. Choose nutrient rich foods which includes lots of whole grains, healthy fats and lean protein. It’s also incredibly important to get in some form of exercise even though we’re exhausted even if it’s just a slow walk outside or gentle restorative yoga. It works wonders in getting our mind and body back to its healthy state.
6) Reiki or Energy healing.
As a Reiki practitioner, I’m a huge believer in moving stagnant or stuck energy in people, including myself to heal. When we’re repressing emotions or holding back in areas of our life, our chi or life force energy becomes stuck in areas of our body, and can cause depression, physical discomfort and pain.
Find a really good Reiki practitioner that has experience dealing with chronic fatigue and remain open to doing a few sessions even if it’s new for you or outside your comfort zone. Many people are shocked to find that this type of energy work can be more healing and relaxing than massage and they feel more rested than they do after 8 hours of sleep.
7) Sleep and rest.
It often feels impossible to get a decent amount of rest with our busy schedules, raising families or frequent traveling for our jobs but it’s imperative to work in as much down time as possible now to get better. This is where setting boundaries is non-negotiable.
Start saying no to invitations, demands on your time and other commitments. It’s typically only for a short period of time. Chronic fatigue is our body’s way of telling us that it needs us to rest and slow down so listen to it and get as much R & R as possible.
I did not have a lot of this when I was healing. I often felt angry and frustrated that I felt the same week after week when I was doing so much to nurse myself back to health.
Unfortunately, just as it took our bodies many months and sometimes years to break down, it’s going to take an equal amount of time to heal. Be loving and patient with yourself and try not to put any timelines or expectations on when you’ll start feeling normal again.
The body is a powerful and self-healing machine. It will heal in its own Divine timing with loving support, constant nurturing and radical self-care that only we can give to ourselves.
Author: Dina Strada
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Wonderlane at Flickr