How many of you wake up, already feeling drained?
There are two types of tired: a tired that can be cured with more sleep and a tired that can be cured with more peace.
For a few weeks, there’s been a looming cloud of fatigue over parts of my days, so I committed to getting more sleep. I was surprised that even while I received a quality 8-9 hours of sleep, I still felt chronic fatigue throughout the day. This fatigue feels differently, too. I could physically challenge myself, but I kept losing my thoughts. I could function as I taught, ran errands, and took care of my to-do list, but none was done with as much zest as usual. Some days, it was more apparent than others, but the consistent pull of energy is apparent.
I adopted yoga as a lifestyle several years back, and I know that breath work and moving my body does wonders to boost the good-feeling hormones in my body. Endorphines, Seratonin, Oxytocin, Dopamine all work, in concert, to keep our holistic health in check, so committing to self-care amid challenging times becomes a must.
When life throws a grenade your way, take cover amid your favorite self-care practices.
How do you choose? Go with where the pain is first.
For instance: I’m uninspired and fatigued and I know a deep tissue massage helps me relax into a creative energy, so I go there, if I can. If I can’t, I create a bubble bath soak with all the good aromatherapy I keep on-hand. What’s your pain point? Start there and do inventory of what you have access to where you are. Maybe you are physically tired today, carve out time for a nap or organize your home to go to sleep one hour early. Separate from your electronics one hour before that.
What happens when you can’t shake the fatigue but you can’t stop your day for your favorite self-care go-tos? Let’s flip the switch on that word, can’t. You feel limited? Okay, that’s a good place to start. That’s your personal pain point. Here are ways that, with just 10-20 minutes, you can elevate out of whatever is weighing you down. Excited? Good—you’re already on your way to a better feeling environment.
It Starts Inside
You may feel that your environment, world affairs, or external details are the culprit for the way you feel, but it’s not true. Your personal environment is congested and isn’t allowing you to function at your best.
who or what is your go-to for support. If it’s been just you for a while, of course your fatigued. Invest in a support structure that you can trust and count on when you need it. Sometimes it can’t be a friend or family member, but there are numerous resources, in-person or online to give you access to helpful, solid support. (I share my favorites in a previous article.)
When was the last time you cried? Crying has a self-soothing effect on your entire being and activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which allows you to relax. From here, you can process everything better. If you feel that thickness in your eyes and throat that say you’re about to cry, do what you can to allow it to happen. Your body is trying to help you move through something.
Internal dialog has even more benefits than “talking it out” with someone else. We are so quick to find out what someone else thinks about our experience, that we forget, we are the experts on who we are. So many of our answers rest within us, so we need to spend some time in conversation and debate with what we’re experiencing and why. The next time you feel a negative emotion, debate it. What’s happening, why, and what’s possible from here?
If not this than what? If you’re struggling through something not going your way, flip your awareness to what is going your way. Make a list, focus here for a few minutes, and you’ll start spiraling into a more positive mental state.
Especially now, some of us feel we are out of control, or under the control of something/someone else. Take back your control where you can. If you can’t control something, go to another solution and plan from there.
Sometimes the fatigue is feeling trapped, especially if we temporarily can’t do something we want to (COVID-19 travel restrictions come to mind). We can plan. Start dreaming and being creative in your future plans. You may discover some new destinations you didn’t know existed and you’ll be ready once restrictions lift!
If you’re not feel well, write it out as a way to process through it. If you are feeling good, write down what your happy about and grateful for. Keep these musing close by, so if you’re feeling energy fatigue again, you can remind yourself of some happiness. Mental Wellness Tip: write out trauma that is weighing you down, then dispose of it by tearing it up, burning the paper, or pouring water over it. This is a purifying exercise for healing.
Small or large, find a creative project. As your brain focuses on something new, you will create new, organic energy that will resonate in your cells. Depending on what you choose to create, you will bring a feeling of accomplishment to yourself, as well. What a gift!
If you’re focused on something negative or reading and viewing negative words and videos, stop. Where you focus, there you are, so retreat from all negativity. If you can’t retreat completely, set appointments for yourself throughout the day for joy breaks. 100% positive. 100% joyful. These will allow you to be solution-driven and limit saturation of any negativity you’re consuming.
Consider where you can clean up your internal environment (detox, fasting, juicing) and your external environment. Clean out a closet, or a drawer. Organize your office space, or your bathroom vanity. Start small if you must, but a little cleaning provides clarity to other solutions. Give yourself a small win.
Though you can't add more hours to your day, you can add more life-more energy-to your hours. Prolonged, unmanaged stress, and high-intensity emotions can lead to exhaustion and burnout. To create more emotional balance and better manage stress, intentionally engage in practices that will enable you to access a sense of calm.
A few of my favorite practices that bring me immediate calm are:
· Nature Walk
· Mantra Meditation
· A Favorite Song
Micro-breaks will allow the good-feeling and healing hormones and healing neuro-pathways find their way back to your awareness, so even if you’re experiencing overwhelm and can’t find a way to take a longer break, step away for a bit to focus inward. Allowing for a micro-break isn’t a luxury, it is a survival necessity, especially during times like these. Be well!