Thank you for the wonderful feedback I received on my new Reiki video on my YouTube channel that I posted last week! I enjoy learning what works for you, and am gearing future videos to help you learn more about wellness modalities and techniques that serve your greatest good! I am always open to suggestions on future video topics, so drop me a line if you have a wellness issue or modality you’d like me to explore in a future video!
Speaking of wellness, I’ve been noticing a lot of my patients experiencing symptoms due to their hectic schedule. We admire those who work hard towards their goals, who are driven, and who prioritize making an impact in this world, whether it be through their actions or in cultivating their own being. Our “go get ’em” attitude in the Western world fosters this kind of focus. However, there’s a blurry line between going for the gusto and burning the candle at both ends!
At some point in our lives, we’ve visited that place where our energy level’s been pushed too far, where we find ourselves emotionally and physically dedicated to a thickly stacked schedule, or have overcommitted ourselves on a long-term basis.
The result? Burn out a-go-go! Headaches, exhaustion, physical pains where they never existed before, irritability, anxiety towards the week ahead (to the point of waking up hours before your alarm clark goes off, resulting in a sleep-deprivation zombie experience), and a feeling of “is this all there is to life?” commences. Do I speak from experience? In fact, I do.
One personal example was when I was more heavily involved as a community activist. At the time, the overextension of my physical and mental capabilities didn’t phase me, my excitement to dedicate myself to the movement was unbridled, and, being in my 20’s at the time, I seemed to have an unlimited reservoir of energy from which to draw from. If I was capable of doing it, I did it, even if it meant that I had my fingers in many pies, a jam-packed schedule full of community events, shows/concerts (I was in the music business back then), and a dedication to the movement that didn’t quit.
Although, in this instance, I was not yet in an “is this all there is to life?” state, and the zombie-like experience had not yet manifested until some day jobs later, I was certainly starting to experience the fatigue, jumbled mindset, and shortness of breath from not having enough downtime. I seriously thought I could subsist on pure air, inspiration, drive, and my then-vegetarian diet, alone. Not so!
Why do we feel exhausted when we deplete our internal and physical resources? One big reason is because we are over-utilizing our jing essence, which resides in our Kidneys in Chinese Medicine. Our jing essence is similar to an energy “bank” that we dip into when we burn our candle at both ends. When it becomes low, and we don’t replenish our reserves, we are more prone to exhaustion, fatigue, and fear (a lower vibration that is associated with the Kidneys when they are unbalanced). As I explained in a previous post, “Traditional Chicken Bone Broth: A Recipe To Build Qi And Blood For Immune Building, Fertility, And Postpartum”, “the Kidney is involved in building Qi and Blood in the body, and when the Kidneys are out of balance, we are more prone to fear and depression.”
So, it’s no coincidence that when we are deep into our over-committed lifestyles, not only do our bodies become vocal to make us slow down (we’ll actually experience headaches, physical pain, catch colds easily, and other symptoms that make us stop and take things more slowly, whether we want to or not), but we may become disconnected from our bodies, as well.
If we feel disconnected from our bodies, even if we feel we are in sync with life, our bodies will speak the truth of what’s really going on. When it comes to a mind-body disconnect, we often think we’ve got our lives down pat, and have no idea why our sympathetic nervous system is acting up (shortness of breath, your body acts like it’s being hunted by sabretooth tigers like we were in prehistoric times, and we breathe shallowly), our chest pangs (which is our heart trying to alert of us our need to slow down, to become more present and in touch with our bodies), and a part of us may get resentful of either peoples’ expectations of us, or our expectations of ourselves.
I see this often in my private practice as throat issues (the disconnect between the mind and the body), anxiety (not being grounded due to an overly-stimulated schedule, task, job, or overthinking), headaches, vertigo, sleep disruption patterns, and even some neck or trapezius muscle pain (tension and/or heat from a stressed out Liver that is rising and getting trapped in the head, a dynamic of Liver Fire rising in Chinese Medicine). And, even though I’ve been seeing it a lot lately, and could attribute this to the holiday busy-ness, it is actually something that I see in my office year round, not only during seasonal celebrations.
And, here’s the irony of why you’re no good for others if you don’t take care of yourself, particularly if you are helping others as a caregiver, colleague, or activist – when you give and give, without deeply nourishing yourself, you deplete your energy reserves. So what you end up giving is not a true reflection of your true, full essence in this world. When you come from a nourished state, and then put forth your impact and influence, not only do you have the reserves to do so, but you learn healthy boundaries to maintain your wellness, so that you may maintain, with more ease and with higher vibration, the wellness of the communities you help sustain!
Here are 5 wonderful ways to strongly nourish yourself when you feel challenged by an overwhelming schedule, mindset, or task:
- Pare down your to-do list. Do you really need to do everything on that list you’ve created for yourself? Most likely not. The 10 things on your list could be cut in half. Oftentimes, our list grows into something unmanageable, due to judgments we place on ourselves to meet unrealistic expectations, or due to pressure we may feel from others to perform. Doing things we don’t want to do only breeds resentment, which is never fun.
- Learn to say “no”. I’ve said this in a previous post, but it bears repeating, because many of us have a hard time with this simple phrase! As intuitive psychiatrist, Dr. Judith Orloff, states, “‘No’ is a complete sentence.” Women often feel they have to say “yes” to everything, because we are taught to put others’ needs in front of our own. But, what happens when we never say “no” is that healthy boundaries aren’t put in place to maintain our integrity and feeling of security. Break the habit of people overstepping their boundaries by saying “no” once and a while. It does a body good!
- Drink nourishing herbal infusions. Herbal infusions are made by steeping a large amount of herb for a long period of time (often overnight). This brings out the minerals, phytoestrogens, and earth nourishment that is not readily available in teas. I love my nettle infusions, it’s like drinking nourishment straight from the earth! Other herbal infusions I enjoy are oat straw, which is an excellent nervine (relaxes the sympathetic nervous system, thus making us feel more calm) and red raspberry (to tonify the uterus).
- Meditate. In my previous post, “8 Benefits Of Meditation And 14 Ways To Get Your Meditative Groove On”, I talk about the benefits of meditation and various ways to go about doing it. Number one thing about meditation – find your style of getting mindful. It doesn’t always look like lotus pose. Sometimes it takes the form of a walk outside, doing an exercising meditation (one of my patients can only get present during her spin class, and exercise is an excellent way to get present in your body and be mindful!), journaling, taking out 5 minutes before you start your day to practice gratefulness for what you have (hint, this is great to do when you have just experienced trauma), among other things. Meditation is just simply you cultivating mindfulness, so that you are in the present, not in the past (worry), or the future (anxiety).
- Get basic. Eat, sleep, rest. For some of us, these simple acts of kindness and rejuvenation to our bodies can feel elusive when we feel we have a challenging schedule. It’s about priorities. Prioritize your health (including eating foods that are alive and are nourishing vs. foods void of nutrient and value, taking downtime to unwind, and getting adequate sleep to allow our bodies to recalibrate from our day), and your body will reward you with more ease of movement, thought, and your productivity will come from a more centered and higher vibrational place!
What are your favorite ways to nourish yourself when your schedule gets hectic?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
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