Some people call it burnout, some call it exhaustion, and some call it adrenal fatigue. I, myself, was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue by a naturopath for the first time back in 2007 but believe I suffered from it as far back as 2002 …I just didn’t know what it was then. I sure do now.
I have had more than one conversation in the past couple of weeks about burnout, exhaustion or adrenal fatigue and with more than one person. It seems to be a recurring theme. I am not sure if it is simply on the rise or I keep coming across it because I have to finally admit that once again I am there. This will be my 3rd go around.
I am not surprised. In fact I am surprised that it didn’t fully hit me sooner with all that has been going on in my life over the past 4 years. And I think it has taken me this long to take it as seriously as I should (which basically means SLOW DOWN YOUR LIFE) because it isn’t as bad as the first 2 times. And it shouldn’t be because a.) I have learned how to recognize it and b.) I know what I need to do to keep myself healthy.
But what has really hit me with all these conversations is that I still haven’t learned to properly say no when I need to. I have gotten better at it but obviously still not good enough.
In one of these recent conversations we talked about how burnout is not something you can have a quick fix for. It takes a year to get over it. A YEAR! A year of doing the absolute minimum. A year of resting whenever you can. A year of getting as much sleep as you can. And a year of supporting your body with the best nutrition you can. Basically a year of doing nothing but the bare minimum and eating the best you can and then maybe, just maybe, you will be ready to take on more.
When you are a parent and self employed this is a HUGE challenge.
So here is my plan:
- Prioritize and learn to say no (setting boundaries). This is hard for me because I like helping people. But I can’t help people if I am exhausted so I will have to be diligent in figuring out my priorities. There are so many things that I would like to do but the one thing I hate more than saying no in the first place is having to let people down by cancelling at the last minute because I am exhausted (which has started happening more than I would like, ugh).
- Better self care. I am a Jikiden Reiki practitioner. I should be able to find time to lie down and give myself Reiki. Do I? Not often enough. Like everybody else who comes to see me, my mind is going a mile a minute about all the things I have to do that I leave myself last. I plan to make time in my calendar for Reiki for myself, walks on the beach, swimming or other activities that I enjoy. Having said that I will say becoming a Jikiden Reiki practitioner is the best thing for me. When I do a Reiki session for someone benefits me just as much. Hopefully there will be lots of sessions in the coming year.
- Sleep. I love to sleep. Except when my daughter has gone to sleep and I can get just one (or ten) more thing(s) done which means I end up staying up too late. Sometimes I fall asleep with my daughter and then wake up an hour later and get back up to get those things done. No more. I am going to set a 9 p.m. time to stop all activities for the day with the goal to be sleeping by 10 p.m. It doesn’t matter what else has to be done. Sleeping is our body’s way of resting and healing itself and I know I need it more than ever.
- Better diet. I have already made a point of getting back to using Sunrider products which is a great way to add some nutritional punch to my diet. It would be even better if the food I ate was super nutritional, too. I have to admit when life gets crazy or I get exhausted good meal planning goes out the window and grabbing something quick is often a poor substitute. I am going to take some time to meal plan to make sure I have good food on hand for those times I need something quick or easy. I am even considering trying out the Seasonal Meal Plan from Annaliisa’s Organic Kitchen which is open for registration until September 17th. I am pretty sure I have spent more than $67 in poor food choices over the past 3 months so it seems like well spent money to me if it will get me on track to consistently eating well. I have followed Annaliisa’s Facebook page for a while and her food always looks absolutely delicious. She also has a free trial 5 day meal plan you can download.
I don’t really think we were designed to live at the pace that modern life runs at. It seems to me that adrenal fatigue is a sign that we aren’t living how we should be and that once I am better again I should be careful not to add so much back to my plate. My ultimate goal over the next year will be to simplify my life for good rather than just until I feel better again.