Updated: Apr 5, 2018
Our lives today are run by a society that expects us to push ourselves to the breaking point, then not complain about the fatigue. We should wake up at 5:00 AM, do a book camp type workout, make a full breakfast, get the kids up and out of bed, make sure they are awake, presentable and ready, then off to school. All this before we get in to work at 8 AM. And god help you if you are not bright eyed and bushy tailed when you hit the door. Then you need to work all day, and skip lunch if you are a really good employee, pick up the kids, make dinner, and hopefully wind down before you collapse at 11:00 PM or maybe midnight. Then start again the next morning.
You never have energy because you are living on caffeine or sugar just to get through the day. You probably don’t get enough sleep because you are pushing yourself to do too much. You don’t have any down time to just relax and let your brain stop. What you don’t know is that the caffeine you are drinking all day is doing nothing more than causing your adrenals to release adrenaline. That is why you get the energy hit, then the drop. And then you need more coffee (adrenaline) to push you farther. You are tired, stressed, and probably have adrenal fatigue, if not burnout.
Let’s look at the alternative. What if you woke up just 30 minutes early and luxuriated in bed? Took your sweet time to get up. What if you came home and just relaxed for 15-20 minutes? An hour would be better. What if you didn’t turn on the TV? What if you turned on some relaxing (calm, classical, slow) music, or even better just left the quiet. What if you sent everyone to their own corners and just stopped for 20 minutes before doing anything after walking in the door?
What if you let your body decide what kind of workout to have each day? Instead of deciding what it needs based on some societal expectation. What if you let it choose? Maybe one morning it feels tired and mellow, maybe it wants yoga. Maybe the next morning it wants to dance. What if you decided your next step, and even routine, by asking your body or soul what would be best “Right now” instead of planning ahead?
My body goes through exercise phases. I will go for months wanting nothing less than P90X or Insanity type workouts. Then suddenly my body just does not crave that. Instead it wants something more gentle like Yoga or dancing. The same goes for my diet. Sometimes my body demands some kind of animal product, and then suddenly it switches to vegan. The phases will last more than a few days, and were a bit confusing at first. I noticed that people I know were talking about all the weird “diets” I was always doing. What they were unable to understand, unable to hear in fact, was that I wasn’t ever on any diet. I was simply doing what my body wanted.
What I started to notice when I let my body decide, rather than what I thought I “should” do, was that not only did I feel better but my life functioned better. My body was happy more. My digestion worked better because I wouldn’t eat something my body couldn’t handle right then. Skin issues disappeared. On days when I am exhausted I come home at 6 and go right to bed. I don’t justify it, or make excuses. I follow what my body is telling me. I realize that this part may be hard for you depending on your arrangement, but going to bed early is always an option to some degree. I also started muscle testing EVERYTHING that goes into my mouth, whether it be food or supplements. I do this with medicine as well. If my body says no, I don’t argue or rationalize, I just don’t. Even if my brain says “But it should be yes.”
This also applies to what you say to yourself. Ask yourself this question every time you have an unpleasant judgment about yourself: If my best friend said that to me, would we still be friends? If the answer is no, then why are you saying it to yourself? You should treat yourself better than you treat anyone else. Why are you judging yourself so harshly for not having the energy to hang out with people one night? Why are you judging yourself so harshly for wanting to go to sleep at 6 PM for five days straight? Why are you judging yourself so harshly for not wanting to go to boot camp one day (or even a full week)? Why are you judging yourself for forgetting your keys? How many derogatory names are you calling yourself on a daily basis?
I invite you to start being gentle with yourself. Treat your body and soul like pets. You would not abuse your pets. You would not call them harsh names. You would not make them wrong for being tired and wanting to rest. You would take care of them, and make sure they felt good. You would give them what they needed. Do the same for yourself.
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