Sunday, February 3, 2013

Steps to Manage Exhaustion

Back to my blog home page:

It's Super Bowl Sunday. I am sitting in a company store in this funky, cool northern Cal town I'm staying in. Besides horse and tack equipment, they sell dog food, pet supplies, toys and gifts, housewares, lawn and garden, specialty cards, cowboy boots and clothing...and it contains an amazing internet cafe featuring coffees, teas, unique chocolates and ice creams.

This place is across from a cool used bookstore that has signs like this on the outside of the building:

As I stand at the coffee counter to order a mocha and a truffle (it's a chocolate day), I see these neat signs in front of me:


Nice messages, aren't they? The people here are minded!
Even when they request tips:

Suffice to say...I am really happy to be back here!

I am also really lucky to report that I am feeling exhausted from going back to work full time. Lucky, one, because I'm lucky to have a great paying job in a bad economy, and two, because I had the amazing fortune to work part-time last fall while I was near my parents.

I realized while driving home through these mountains of northern California last night that there were a few things I need to share about feeling exhausted. If we nurturers are aware of what is happening, we can make subtle adjustments in order to live more fully without getting wiped out. So, I am going to be the first to take my own advice!

Get enough sleep!
According to a CNN report, Americans are getting an average of 6.7 hours of sleep on the weeknights. An online article by the National Sleep Foundation includes this table:

The National Sleep Foundation also recommends the following to improve your ability to get enough sleep:

  • Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends
  • Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music – begin an hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep
  • Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex (keep "sleep stealers" out of the bedroom – avoid watching TV, using a computer or reading in bed)
  • Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime
  • Exercise regularly during the day or at least a few hours before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime and give up smoking

  • (Yes, I took the above bit straight from their article. Thanks, NSF.)

    Eat and drink.
    Fatigue is a major symptom of dehydration and hunger. The key is to get enough water (not caffeine, people, or sugar drinks! These backfire!) I find that grazing throughout the day without indulging in large carb filled meals keeps the energy consistent without those valleys in the afternoons when you feel as if you are going to doze off at the drop of a hat.

    Manage your energetic output to others and retrieve your energy.
    Yep, we are exchanging energy with other people all day - and if you don't keep your energy with you, you're apt to lose it to others. There are such people as "energy vampires,"  - you know them - they are the people who leave you feeling exhausted after a short interaction.

    Here's a quick exercise you can do daily to pull your energy back when confronted with people who are exhausting you.  Close your eyes and lift the palms of your hands away from you. Like this:
    Imagine your palms are magnets, and they are pulling your energy back to you. Imagine that it is returned to you pure and clean. If you are attuned to energy, you will feel an immediate lift in your energy level. Really!

    You can also make sure that no one has "attached their energy to you" as well. Intend that anyone with whom you have had contact that day retrieves any energy they may have left with you, pure and clean.

    Try just five minutes a day and work up. It will lead you to a whole new outlook!  Take a look at this blog entry on meditation by Philo-sophistry.
    This guy wrote about 8 changes to his life as a result of four weeks of meditation. Pretty compelling....

    Take your vitamins!!
    Personally, I love GNC's VitaPaks

    and Hammer Nutrition.

    I can tell a difference on the days I do and the days I don't. I bet you can, too.

    Surround yourself with positive people.
    Don't be afraid to set boundaries. Negative people can suck you dry. In the case of negative patients, if you have a few on your caseload, it is acceptable to respectfully lay out some ground rules for the treatment session or to schedule them with other therapists. I prefer to do the former first because you have an opportunity to help them toward a positive evolution of their own lives. You'll be surprised how grateful they can be when you help them shift their own behaviors.

    Take mini stretch breaks at work.
    We therapists are so busy getting everyone else stronger and more flexible that sometimes we can ignore our needs. It's important to stretch and remain fluid in our movements. I use a tool called a StretchRite each morning, and it has eliminated a large part of my back pain.
    courtesty of StretchRite

    There are many other reasons - some medical - for fatigue, but I just wanted to share these today. I hope it serves as a reminder to take care of yourself - afterall, we are best equipped to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others.

    Ciao from norCal!

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